Yara Birkeland fully electric container vessel has successful maiden voyage

The Yara Birkeland, which is the world’s first fully-electric and autonomous container vessel with zero emissions, recently took its first zero-emissions voyage. The trip departed Horten in the morning with the Yara Birkeland arriving in Oslo in the early evening.

Yara, who are a fertiliser firm, teamed up with technology company Kongsberg for this project, with the ambition to build the world’s first autonomous and zero-emission container vessel. The pre-operation trip to Oslo allowed partners to experience the ship first-hand and learn more about the process behind it.

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With the aim of reducing diesel-powered truck haulage by 40,000 journeys a year, the Yara Birkeland will reduce NOx (Nitrogen oxide) and CO2 emissions. It will also improve road safety, reduce road dust formation and reduce traffic noise, while transporting fertiliser from Yara’s factory in Porsgrunn, Norway to the export port in Brevik, Norway.

The Yara Birkeland will be put into operation in 2022. Initially, it will start a two-year trial to become autonomous and certified as an autonomous, fully electric container vessel. During this time it will be used in a manual form before becoming fully autonomous.

The all-electric Yara Birkeland is an 80-metre-long and 15-meter-wide vessel, with a capacity of 120 TEU. This allows it to transport up to 120 20-foot (six-metre) containers on each trip.

It has an all-electric propulsion system with two 900kW Azipull pods and 2x 700kW tunnel thrusters. These draw energy from a 7MWh electricity storage system from Leclanché. It has an eco speed of 6-7 knots with a maximum speed of 15 knots.

The port at Oslo is aiming to cut 85 percent of emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter by 2030, with the aim of becoming the world’s first zero-emissions port.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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