Yara puts electric container ship into operation

The world’s first electrically powered and autonomously sailing container ship, the Yara Birkland, successfully completed its maiden voyage in the Oslo Fjord, Norway, on November 18 – from Horten to Oslo, some 60 kilometers to the north.
The vessel was developed in collaboration with the Kongsberg Group and built by shipbuilder Vard AS with government financial support of 133.5 million kroner ($14.9 million). It is scheduled to be in commercial service from 2022, although in the two-year test phase it will not yet sail fully autonomously, but with a crew.
The Yara Birkland was commissioned in 2017 by Norway’s Yara International, one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturers. In the future, the ship will transport mineral fertilizer between the factory in Porsgrunn to the Norwegian ports of Brevik and Larvik, from where the cargo will be shipped all over the world.
The electric drive of the Yara Birkland has a total power of 1.8 MW. The capacity of the batteries from Swiss manufacturer Leclanché is 6.8 MWh. The range is about 120 kilometers at a cruising speed of 6 to 7 knots (11 to 13 kilometers per hour). The cargo capacity is 120 TEU (1 TEU is equivalent to a standard 20-foot container). By comparison, the largest container ships now have a cargo capacity of over 20,000 TEU.

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