World’s First Zero Emissions Fully Electric Cargo Vessel To Set Sail

A Norwegian enterprise has designed a one-of-its-kind autonomous, zero-emission cargo ship – the world’s first zero-emission and crewless vessel.

If everything goes per plan, the ship will set sail for the first journey before the end of the year, with no crew members onboard. Its movements are going to be supervised by three data control centres (onshore).

It is not the first autonomous ship — an autonomous ferry had earlier been launched in Finland in 2018. But it is the first electric container vessel, say the manufacturers.

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Developed by the chemical major, Yara International, the Yara Birkeland had been designed to get rid of emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, which are toxic pollutants, and other greenhouse gases, as well as moving freight from roads to sea.

Currently, the shipping industry accounts for about 2.5% to 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, per the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Almost all of Norway’s electricity has been generated by hydroelectric power that has significantly lower carbon emissions than burning fossil fuels, even though it still gives out greenhouse gases.

Conceptualized for the first time in 2017, Yara Birkeland had been created in collaboration with the technology major Kongsberg Maritime and Vard, the shipbuilder.

Capable of transporting more than 100 containers and with a speed of 13 knots, the vessel will deploy a 7 MWh battery, with a capacity of more than a thousand times that of an electrical car.

Even though Yara International has no plans to add more autonomous vessels, they may be introducing more elements that deploy AI technology to operate commercial vessels.


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