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Norway launches zero emissions autonomous ship

Autonomous cargo ship - Emissions free ship. Carbon neutral shipping.
Credit: Yara International ASA. The Yara Birkland autonomous zero emissions cargo ship

Norway pioneers the world’s first autonomous, electric powered, zero emissions cargo ship. The Yara Birkeland, built by the international chemical shipping company, Yara International, will set sail on its test cruise around domestic waters in Norway prior to the end of this year. Autonomous ship.

The huge vessel, with a holding capacity of 103 shipping containers is capable of a top speed of 13 knots, powered by a huge 7 Mega Watt battery.

According to Jon Sletten, Yara’s factory manager, he said the battery has “about a thousand times the capacity of one electrical car”. The ship is to be charged at the quayside each time it docks. Mr Sletten claimed the ship will replace the equivalent of around 40,000 lorry journeys each year.

The autonomous ship will stay within 12 nautical miles of the southern coast of Norway, moving cargo between the 3 ports, traveling a distance of around 38 nautical miles each way.

Hydropower created the nation’s industrialisation boom in the late 19th century and today, around 93% of Norway’s total electricity demands are generated by hydropower, an impressive use of renewable resources.

Norway has the highest renewable energy take up in Europe, with over 99% of its electricity demand from renewable sources in Europe, with the 6% that is not hyrdopower coming from wind and solar.

At the beginning of 2021, there were 1 681 hydropower plants in Norway, with a combined installed capacity of 33.55 GW (Gigawatts).

Effectively, the autonomous ship is zero emissions, by virtue of the fact it is recharged by renewable electricity. It could be said that the ship is powered by water, to travel on the water, although indirectly.

Credit: Yara International ASA – Yara Birkland’s fully autonomous loading and unloading

Kongsberg, a world leading maritime systems engineering company is responsible for development and delivery of all key enabling technologies including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous ship operations, in addition to the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.

A new age of fully autonomous, zero carbon shipping is upon us and with cargo shipping accounting for around 3% of global carbon emissions, the Yara Birkland and her predecessors are sure to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change.

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