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Cosco Shipping launches world’s first battery-electric container ship

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SHANGHAI : Chinese shipping giant COSCO Shipping launched the world’s first 10,000-DWT pure electric container ships, which it developed and constructed at the Heavy Industry Shipyard at Yangzhou. The ‘Green Water 01’ and its sister ship, Green Water 02, have a large-capacity battery combining for over 50,000 kWh.

But as it consists of multiple 20-foot battery containers offering 1,600 kWh of electricity each, it can be expanded for extra range up to 80,000 kWh. The ship can transport up to 700 standard 20 ft sea containers (TEU) and has two propulsion motors with a capacity of 900 kW while operating on ‘swappable’ battery power throughout the entire voyage.

The battery containers have a volume of approximately 1,200 cubic meters, equal to 5% of the total cargo volume, comparable to similar vessels of its class. The total cost of the battery pack is estimated at €16 – €25 million.

The Green Water 01 is a river/coastal vessel—or feeder ship type—with a length of 119.8 m and a molded beam of 23.6 [m]. It has a draft of 5.5, making it suitable for navigation on the Yangtze River. It is designed to sail a route stretching more than 600 miles along the river and to the sea, from Jiangsu to Shanghai.

Cosco claims that this ship can save 3,900 kg of fuel for every 100 nautical miles traveled, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 12.4 tons. In a year, it can reduce 2,918 tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the annual emissions of 2,035 cars or planting 160,000 trees yearly.

Fire hazard

Its first trip with ‘zero emissions, pollution and noise’ has set a new benchmark for transforming the shipping industry towards the goals of low carbon and environmentally friendliness”, according to Cosco.

One drawback, though, is that a fire in the lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries can’t be put out by carbon dioxide or water, the usual practice for fires on ships. It can only be extinguished by a special fire suppression gas, which is a compound of carbon, fluorine, and hydrogen. Crew members of Greenwater 01 received special training to tackle fire during emergencies.

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