Norway has a golden opportunity to become world leaders in hybrid and battery technology on ships.
In Norway, plans are being made to introduce battery ferries on up to 100 routes, which would drastically cut NOx emissions. In the U.S. a hybrid tug has been made that uses a battery in conjunction with a Diesel engine to reduce all emissions dramatically: CO2 -27%, NOx -51%, particulate matter (PM) -73%.
There are two main ways of using batteries for power:
1. Batteries provide all energy at normal conditions
Battery ferries where the battery will provide all power at normal conditions, will have no operating emissions as long as everything is working properly. In Norway, there will also be low emissions from charging the batteries, because of hydropower in the Nordic electricity mix, while in other countries the local electricity grid can be powered by gas or coal and in that case battery ferries will only help against local NOx, SOx and PM emissions. This is, if you ask anyone living near a harbor or one of the thousands dying each year from emissions from shipping, a big deal!
2. Hybrid systems with a diesel or gas engine providing the base load
The other way to use batteries are in a hybrid arrangement with a Diesel or gas engine that provides the base load, while the batteries takes care of peaks and troughs in power demand. This hybrid arrangement leads to less idling as the engine will almost always be running at an optimal load, which again reduces NOx and PM emissions.
The hybrid tug, which is perhaps the most suitable ship type for a hybrid engine, emitted an amazing 27% less CO2, 51% less NOx and 73% less PM in the first version!
In summary hybrid and battery ships are coming. Due to an abundance of ferries and offshore supply vessels, Norway is in a very good position to take the global lead in developing this technology.