The result of a collaboration between MAN Energy Solutions, Corvus Energy, and DNV GL, HYCAS examines the cost effectiveness of hybrid power solutions in a 1,700 TEU container feeder vessel.

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The pressure is rising for the world to reduce its GHG emissions in order to avoid a climate crisis. For this reason, MAN Energy Solutions, Corvus Energy and DNV GL studied the potential of using batteries in a container feeder vessel, to assess if it is possible to both reduce emissions and save operational costs.

The study explored two main scenarios, a vessel constructed in 2020 with a 500kWh battery system replacing one genset used for peak shaving and as a spinning reserve, and a ship built in 2030, using a much larger 11MWh hybrid system for zero emission port entry and exit.

In the first scenario, with the hybrid power train leading to an approximately 13% total cost for the vessel, payback times are as low as two to three years. However, the larger system drives the costs of the vessel up. This means that only with a combination of lower prices for the battery system and higher fuel costs than today would the system be economically attractive.

Commenting on the results of the study, Sean Puchalski, Corvus Energy, said that:

It is our hope that these study results will increase cargo shipowner confidence in seeking out new energy solutions, as a good economic rationale already exists for supporting auxiliary loads with a hybrid configuration. As for the future propulsion scenario, perhaps we will not have to wait until 2030. We are already seeing strong demand for high capacity energy storage systems in passenger vessels. With the right leadership from cargo owners, we may see this translate to the merchant sector sooner than later

In addition, Tommy Sletten, Corvus Energy, mentioned that energy storage is a successful measure to reduce emissions for several categories of ships. He explained that container ships are often 'low cost' vessels and there is a reluctance to invest in green technology without other initiatives in place.