Exploring the Development of Battery Power Banks for Ports and Ferries

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord

A project partially financed by the EU is working on developing the next steps in the electrification of shipping focusing on the power banks for ports. Among the techniques that the project is investigating is how used batteries from the transport sector can be reused to create energy storage in ports.

Being undertaken by European ferry operator Stena, they are looking at the development of a new type of energy storage, similar to large power banks, which they say will be essential for the charging of electric ferries. Stena is looking at the technology both as a means of powering a future generation of electric ferries as well as an alternative source for shoreside power. Stena believes it will be possible to develop a solution to use recycled batteries creating in effect charging stations at ports. 

“This is an important milestone in the electrification of shipping. Our future project, Stena Elektra – a fully electric ferry – is already on the drawing board. In order to succeed, we need to solve the issue of how to quickly charge a ferry. Energy storage at ports using recycled batteries, is a very interesting and sustainable alternative for the future,” says Per Wimby, project manager for electrification at Stena Teknik.

Stena’s concept design for an all electric ferry – courtesy Stena Line

The project will map and evaluate opportunities to reuse lithium-ion batteries from the transport and automotive industry for energy storage in ports. Among the applications would be charging electric ferries as well as another technology to reduce emissions through an alternative to the current cold ironing technology.

“An incredible amount is happening in the world of batteries. New solutions are being designed to meet the charging requirements of the transport sector of the future, especially for shipping where vessels are starting to switch to electric power. Rapidly charging a large ferry, for example, requires a huge amount of energy in a short time and it’s not certain that the electricity grid will be able to deliver it. Local energy stores at ports could offer a great solution to this problem”, says Rasmus Bergström, Managing Director of Batteryloo, a subsidiary of the Stena Recycling Group.

The collaboration includes several Stena companies, Batteryloop, Stena Recycling, Stena Rederi, and Stena Line, as well as involving the ports of Gothenburg and Kiel. DNV GL will provide accreditation for the efforts. The project will be carried out over two years and be part-financed by INEA, the EU’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency.

“One thing is sure, batteries are here to stay. In order to conserve natural resources and make battery recycling sustainable, we need to do everything we can to use batteries for as long as possible. Our conclusion is that many batteries can have a second life as energy storage. If we can find solutions that will scale-up and work in ports, we’ll have a win-win situation in many ways,” says Bergström.

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