If don’t already know, powering commercial vessels for the purpose of shipping cars to another state, or just moving everyday goods, is a dirty business. Like, literally because most, if not all, cargo ships use diesel and some vessels are even dirtier, burning heavy bunker fuel. Thankfully, someone is doing something about it.
One of the ‘someone’ is Norway-based chemical manufacturer Yara and maritime technology company Kongsberg. And their plan for a cleaner maritime shipping operation? The Yara Birkeland, an 80-meter-long (262 feet) all-electric autonomous cargo ship.
The Yara Birkeland is juiced by a 6.8-mWh battery system and has a payload of 3,200 tons at a max speed of 15 knots (28 km/h or 17 mph). The plan for Yara Birkeland was first revealed in 2017 and recently, it made a short, crewed voyage from the town of Horten to the capital of Norway, Oslo as part of the official unveiling. The vessel made the 70 kilometers (43 miles) journey on November 18, 2021.
Yara Birkeland aims to take the place of 40,000 diesel-powered truck journeys every year. The Yara Birkeland will be primarily used to transport fertilizer from Yara’s factory in Porsgrunn to the export port in Brevik when it goes into operations in 2022. In between, it will start a two-year trial to become autonomous and certified as an autonomous ship.
While clean and green ships like the Yara Birkeland are good for the planet, its ultimate goal may be a threat to those in the trucking industry. I guess, it is a good time for some truckers to retrain and adapt to changing times? You know, like, going into maritime operations or something? Just saying…
via New Atlas.