Electric Battery-powered Cargo Ships to Decarbonize Marine Shipping


The current bottleneck situation with dozens of container ships floating off the coasts around the US ports is not just emblematic of the distorted supply chain situation. They are also contributing to tons of carbon emissions each year from marine shipping. Apart from this, several massive cargo ships are unable to fit at most of the ports around the world. To address these issues, electric battery powered ships are making an entry into the market. 

Start-up Fleetzero is aiming to building battery-electric cargo ships. This will not only help decarbonize the industry but could also ease supply chain bottlenecks by utilizing more of the available ports around the world.

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), set an initial goal of cutting down carbon emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 as compared to 2008. To achieve this, international shipping fleets would need to transition to net-zero carbon fuels. The alternatives fuels cost at least 3 times the conventional fuel. Hence, the most sustainable way to decarbonize ships is with electricity. 

Fleetzero is experimenting with building electric batteries in standard 20-foot shipping containers which are modified to power smaller ships at sea. When a ship comes into port, the drained batteries in the container carrier are swapped out for new ones. The first battery-backed ship may run by the end of 2022. 

Using smaller ships will also help in reducing congestion as additional ports around the world can be accessed and it will further reduce inland traffic. Several other corporates like Amazon and Ikea are pushing the ocean shipping industry to move towards zero carbon fuel sources. Companies are also revamping their supply chain & transportation networks to become more carbon neutral.



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