Wärtsilä’s replaceable battery containers start to be used on a Dutch inland waterway vessel


The Alphenaar is the first inland navigation vessel to use the zero emission service

The first vessel equipped with Wärtsilä’s mobile battery container solution has started operations, with the aim of enabling inland navigation vessels to operate with zero emissions.

The Alphenaar started operating on September 6 along the Zoeterwoude – Alpherium – Moerdijk corridor in the Netherlands, carrying beer for Heineken, which was the service’s first customer.

The first order, comprising three units, was placed by Zero Emission Services (ZES), a Netherlands-based company founded in 2020 by ING Bank, energy and technical service provider Engie, the Port of Rotterdam and Wärtsilä. The order was placed and two containers delivered in June 2021.

The battery containers are installed on a 104 teu inland waterway container ship, which has been modified to accommodate two units on board.

The system allows the vessel to operate only at full electrical power, without generating carbon emissions. The energy capacity is equivalent to that of around 36 electric passenger cars.

Once unloaded, the containers can be swapped and loaded ashore using energy from renewable sources. This replaceability is unique since battery containers have heretofore been fixed installations.

Willem Dedden, CEO of ZES, said: “In the Dutch transport sector, inland navigation accounts for five percent of CO2 emissions. By switching from diesel propulsion to electric propulsion, an important step can be taken towards achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The vessels participating in the ZES service will remove around 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and 7 tonnes of NOx per year. “

The exchangeable battery container is fully equipped with security systems, including an on-board fire protection skid, while it is connected for remote monitoring.

Operational and certification tests were carried out from the end of August 2021.

The concept, which is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, is based on a network of open access charging points where spent battery containers can be exchanged for fully charged replacements.

A “pay-per-use” model has been put in place whereby ZES only charges the cost of the renewable energy consumed, which allows the vessel’s operating costs to remain competitive.

Torsten Büssow, Director of Electricity and Power Management System, Wärtsilä Marine Power, said: “Wärtsilä is committed to supporting all efforts to decarbonize shipping. This initiative is part of that commitment.

“We have leveraged our in-house expertise in marine batteries and hybrid systems, our shore power and remote connection capabilities, as well as our extensive experience in inland navigation applications for development. of this product. “

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