Rolls Royce Electric Debuts SAVe Energy Battery Propulsion System For Ships

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Rolls Royce Energy, based in Bergen, Norway, has been providing electric propulsion systems to ship owners since 2010, but until now, the actual batteries for those systems were sourced from an outside supplier. Now it is introducing its proprietary modular SAVe Energy battery propulsion and energy management system for commercial ferries and ships. Rolls Royce’s liquid cooled lithium ion batteries are modular, which means they can be sized to the precise energy storage and propulsion needs of any ship.

Rolls Royce SAVe Energy battery system for ships
Image credit: Rolls Royce

Such flexibility is important to ship owners. Too large and the system is too expensive to be cost effective. Too small and it can’t get the job done that it is designed to do. Combined with an LNG or diesel powered engine in a hybrid solution, it will increase efficiency and reduce emissions and can be coupled with most types of propulsion units.

Developed in cooperation with Color Line, Norled, and the Norwegian Coastal Administration Shipping Company, the SAVe Energy system is compatible with all forms of marine propulsion for ferries, cruise ships, and multi-purpose vessels. The work was funded in part by the Norwegian Research Council as part of its ENERGIX program, which supports research on renewable energy, efficient use of energy, energy systems, and energy policy.

The system conforms to all applicable international regulations for low and zero emissions marine propulsion systems. It has been certified by DNV GL — an international accredited registrar and classification society headquartered in Høvik, Norway — to meet all 2018 rules.

Just as with electric cars, Norway is a leader in electrification for ships, with several of its many ferries now powered in whole or in part by electricity. Andreas Seth, an executive with the Rolls Royce commercial marine division, says in a company press release, “The electrification of ships is building momentum. From 2010 we have delivered battery systems representing about 15 MWh in total. However now the potential deployment of our patent pending SAVe Energy in 2019 alone is 10-18 MWh.”

“Battery systems have become a key component of our power and propulsion systems, and SAVe Energy is being introduced on many of the projects we are currently working on. This includes the upgrade program for Hurtigruten’s cruise ferries, the advanced fishing vessel recently ordered by Prestfjord and the ongoing retrofits of offshore support vessels. As a system provider we can find the best solution considering both installation and operational cost,” Seth adds.

Diesel emissions from ships are some of the largest contributors to atmospheric pollution. Reducing or eliminating them is essential to meeting global emissions reduction targets set at the COP 21 climate conference in Paris. The Rolls Royce SAVe Energy system is welcome news for a world that can’t afford to wait any longer for effective solutions to climate change.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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