Norway to have world’s first fully autonomous and electric freight ship named ‘Yara Birkeland’, which would substitute around 40,000 truck rides every year through Southern Norway.
This electric freight ship is being constructed in Romanian shipyard ‘Vard Braila’ for Norwegian fertilizer manufacturer Yara International. Having a capacity of carrying about 120 containers, Yara is 70 meters long and 14 meters wide.
Various key enabling technologies for the ship are getting formed by The Kongsberg Group, an international supplier of high-technology systems and solutions, which will include sensors, electric drive, battery, and propulsion control systems along with integrating for remote and autonomous ship operations.
This unmanned ship will take care of all the tasks such as mooring, unberthing, loading, and unloading via its electric cranes and equipment. Also, the ship will not require to have conventional ballast – a fluorescent tube circuit used to induce voltage – and will, in its place, use a battery pack of 7-9MWh as permanent ballast.
However, there is a glitch in using battery technology as it is incompatible for long routes and hence Yara will only be making short journeys of approximately 30 nautical miles, across the ports of Heroya, Brevik, and Larvik.
The total cost of this ship is estimated at 27 million Euros, out of which 14 million Euros is being funded by the Norwegian government, for encouraging country’s efforts to replace diesel trucks.
Said to be delivered by 2020, this will first move by manned operation and will start working autonomously by 2022.