The conference was opened by Chairman Egil Holland presenting Maritime Battery Forum’s activities, and how implementing batteries on ships can make for better vessels and less emissions from the shipping sector. Oluf Ulseth, Chairman of Energy Norway, gave a perspective from the power production point of view. Power companies are focusing more on how they can serve the maritime sector, from electric ferries to cold ironing in cruise terminals and for offshore vessels. Since 98 % of the Norwegian power is hydropower, electrifying vessels makes a good environmental case in Norway.
The topic of the first half of day one was on the Norwegian Government’s instruments and organizations that promote and give financial aid to research, innovation and development of the maritime sector in Norway. The NOx-fund, Innovation Norway, Norwegian Research Council and Enova gave presentations on the different schemes and grants that are available for the maritime sector and when during the lifetime of a technology the grants are most relevant.
The topic for the second half of the day was on battery applications within the offshore segments. Both Eidesvik and Østensjø shared some experiences with implementing batteries on their ships. Their experience corresponds with the theoretical estimates that were done before implementing the battery; less maintenance on engines, fuel reductions and better response of the vessel. A hurdle for a sizeable uptake of battery technology in offshore vessels is the traditional contracts between ship owner and oil company. Normally the oil companies pay for fuel, therefore the savings associated with reduced fuel consumptions goes directly to the oil company, while the ship owners have paid for the cost of the technology.
To end the day, a discussion was held between Remi Eriksen (DNV GL), Jan Fredrik Meling (Eidesvik Offshore), Silke van Dyken (Enova), Tommy Johnsen (The NOx-fund), Jan Børre Rydningen (Innovation Norway) and Sigurd Falch (the Norwegian Research Council). The topic was how maritime sector and the Norwegian government can work together to accelerate the uptake of new technology. The most important conclusions were that there should be easy for the maritime sector to know which grants and financial support programmes that are available, that there should be more grants and financial support available for commercialising new technology, and that the Norwegian government should have a holistic approach, also considering stronger environmental requirements to oil companies.
On day two the focus was switched to fishing vessels and passenger vessels. Selfa Arctic presented the work they have started with one of their fishing vessels – making it a hybrid ship by installing a battery. Selfa, together with their partners, has received a grant from the Norwegian Research Council, to analyse the results of the project over a period of three years. Fjellstrand yard presented the work they have done when building the fully electric battery ferry Ampere. According to Fjellstrand the extra costs of building a battery ferry compared to a conventional diesel ferry is not large enough to be a considerable barrier, rather the opposite. Since the maintenance and fuel costs are much lower battery ferries may be a financially attractive option. The barriers are the uncertainty with respect to battery life, infrastructure costs and that it is still an unproven technology.
Fjord1 ferry company shared their vision for the years to come and conditions that need to be in place for the company to be able to offer new technology in bids. The ferry companies need time to plan their bid, to build a new vessel and flexibility with respect to down-time. The Norwegian public roads administration (NPRA) presented their interpretation of the Norwegian parliament’s decision to require zero emission and low emission technology in ferry contracts.
The day ended with a panel discussion about how the ferry companies and Norwegian institutions responsible for procuring ferry services can work together to get the next battery in service. Marius Gjerset (ZERO), Edvard Sandvik (NPRA), Arild Austrheim (Fjord1) and Lasse Karlsen (Norwegian Maritime Authority) participated in the discussion. When the procurement of Lavik-Oppedal (the stretch the battery ferry is operating on) took place, this was done using a longer process and type of competition than the normal ferry procurement processes. According to the ferry companies, a longer procurement process will increase the probability of getting a second battery ferry in operation.