Foreship powers on to reach ship battery project milestone


Foreship has secured a 40th shipboard battery project, passing a milestone of consultancy, design and installation assignments which have included the largest Energy Storage System (ESS) ever connected and key work to standardize systems interfaces.

Spanning newbuilds and retrofit battery projects, the naval architecture and marine engineering firm has been at the heart of the highest profile ESS work in the cruise and ferry sectors, also leading the charge to advance the use of battery power onboard inland vessels.

According to the Maritime Battery Forum, nearly 600 vessels in operation feature batteries as part of their energy source solutions, while a further 190 ships are on order. Foreship estimates that around 645MWh of shipboard battery power was in service worldwide at the start of 2023, around 400MWh more than was the case in 2019.

“The case for batteries on board ships is increasingly compelling, whether owners are optimizing fuel efficiency by exploiting spinning reserve, maximizing engine efficiency with peak load shaving, or using batteries in specific circumstances as a zero-emission energy source,” said Jan-Erik Räsänen (pictured), Chief Technology Officer, Foreship.

Foreship has built a complete portfolio of shipboard battery consultancy services since its first project in 2018, extending from feasibility studies and concept design, to specifications, basic and detail design and project management. The start-to-finish service covers everything from assessing ROI to battery sizing, safety and ship stability, supplier evaluation, systems integration, documentation for class and technical project management.

Among the 40 projects, highlights include the feasibility study, specifications, concept and basic design, and technical project management for shipping’s largest ever (10MWh) battery installation, as part of a major cruise vessel retrofit. The project required progressive work on battery system installation, all ancillary equipment and systems including transformer installation, converter separation, fire integrity, gas monitoring, cooling and ventilation.

As advances in battery technology improve the power vs. size/weight ratio, the usefulness of stored energy as a zero-emission propulsion solution and as a back-up in case of engine failure will continue to rise, according to Räsänen. “The increasing use of battery technology is making ships more efficient and greener, but also safer,” he said.

Foreship has also taken the technical specification lead role in Current Direct, the Horizon 2020 project which envisages swappable batteries as the lifeblood of a fleet of all-electric ships clearing the air along European waterways. The Current Direct project devised an ESS that fits within the footprint of a 20-foot container and has worked with class on standardization for commercial scale-up.

While batteries are used sparingly for main propulsion today, Räsänen pointed out that they convert energy to thrust with much higher efficiency than diesel engines. “Given IMO goals to reduce ship carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve 50% carbon reduction by 2050, regulators, class, naval architects and systems suppliers have a responsibility to harmonize technical standards for zero emission battery power,” he added.