Today, when sustainability and eco-consciousness are paramount, innovation knows no bounds. As the world seeks cleaner and more efficient modes of transportation, the maritime industry is making waves with electric ships.
According to Extrapolate, the electric ships market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2% to reach USD 10.82 billion in revenue by 2028. In this blog, we'll dive into the electrifying world of these cutting-edge vessels, which are poised to transform the way goods and people move across our oceans and waterways.
Join us on this voyage as we navigate the exciting waters of electric ships and their potential to reshape the maritime landscape.
What Makes Electric Ships an Eco-Friendly Alternative to Conventional Vessels?
Electric ships run on electricity rather than fuel. It has a similar working principle to electric vehicles. Instead of diesel engines, these ships use batteries to power themselves.
Electric ships offer numerous benefits for the environment. They use less fuel and produce fewer emissions, which can save resources. Electric propulsion is also much more compact than conventional systems, so there's room to install other equipment on a ship. Finally, electric ships are cost-efficient to manage because they do not require much maintenance.
How Do Electric Ships Contribute to Environmental Sustainability?
The noteworthy advantages of electric ships include:
Less Odor and Noise
Electric ships produce less odor and noise, allowing passengers and owners to enjoy the boating experience through the noiseless, odorless, and emission-free motion through the water.
Huge Energy Storage and Living Space
Boats using electric propulsion systems have a large amount of energy stored in compact space. As a result, it also offers a huge living space for people on board to move around.
Due to the durable and reliable electric motor, the electric drive system requires minimal maintenance. There is no need for oil changes, and there is much less wear and tear compared to combustion engines, which results in cheaper running expenses.
Electric boat systems can use up to three times as much energy as traditional propulsion systems.
Top 5 Electric Ships Contributing to a Greener and Cleaner Shipping Industry
Many companies are operating in the electric ships industry, contributing to the development and adoption of sustainable and efficient electric propulsion systems for ships. Some of them are listed below:
1. Corvus Energy - All-Electric Ferries
GVB has chosen Corvus Energy to supply lithium-ion battery-based energy storage systems (ESS) for five all-electric ferries, aiming for emission-free public transport by 2025.
Corvus Energy’s ESS is integrated with nearly 100 hybrid and all-electric ferries across the world. These Ijveer design ferries, measuring 41m long and 13.9 m wide, will accommodate 20 cars, four trucks, or 400 passengers. Corvus Orca Energy ESS will provide electricity to the all-electric and propulsion systems of these ferries.
2. Werkina - All-Electric Inland Vessel
Werkina, a Dutch business, has built the world's first all-electric inland vessel. It has made six large and five small electric ships, which will be run by the company Port-Liner between Belgium and the Netherlands.
The first fully electric inland vessels are under development, which are operating on fixed, limited-length routes with a capacity of up to double or quadruple battery capacity. The first fully electric inland vessel is 52 meters long and incorporates a large lithium battery, making it possible to sail for 15 hours.
These vessels can benefit from subsidy policies and promote green shipping, reducing adaptation time.
3. Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Ltd. - All-Electric Cargo Ship
The Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Ltd has launched the world's first 2,000-metric-ton all-electric cargo ship in Guangdong province, China. The ship, manufactured by the company, is the first to use lithium batteries in a fully-powered cargo vessel running in Pearl River’s inland section.
The ship can run 80 kilometers on 2 hours of charge, with its battery energy of about 2,400 kilowatt hours. The ship's maximum speed is 12.8 kilometers per hour, and it emits zero waste gas pollutants. The fully electric cargo vessel is expected to reduce shipping costs for electric power operators and carry goods weighing over 2,000 tons.
4. Norwegian Shipyard Fjellstrand- All-Electric Ferry
Ampere, the world's first electric-powered car ferry, was built by Norwegian Shipyard Fjellstrand in collaboration with Siemens and Norled. The advanced vessel, which operates on a 5.7km Sognefjord crossing between Lavik and Oppedal, generates zero emissions and minimizes sound. The project was developed after a 2011 competition, granting Norled concession rights to operate the route through 2025.
5. ABB - Electric Ship Drive System
ABB has introduced the Dynafin system, an electric drive system for ships designed to improve the efficiency of electric ships. This system mimics the movements of a whale's tail, reducing vibrations and noise and increasing comfort for passengers and crew. The Dynafin system ensures excellent adaptability and positioning performance, allowing vessels to maintain desired positions and courses.
In a study on an electric passenger ship with various propulsion solutions, the Dynafin system showed energy savings of up to 22% compared to conventional shaft drive designs. ABB expects the prototype of the Dynafin system to be available in 2025. The system is compatible with battery and fuel cell technologies and is suitable for medium-sized and smaller vessels, including electric passenger and vehicle ferries, offshore supply vessels, and yachts.
What Does the Future Hold for Electric Ships?
Electric ships have gained significant attention in recent years due to their potential to reduce emissions and improve sustainability in the shipping industry. These ships offer major benefits for the environment.
Continued advancements in battery technology, power management systems, and propulsion technologies will drive the future of these ships. Integration with renewable energy sources and innovative solutions, such as synchronous and reluctance motors, may further enhance the efficiency and performance of these vessels. From the engineering marvels that power them to the environmental benefits that make them a critical part of the sustainable future, electric ships are sailing towards promising horizons.