Brian Ladin has worked hard over the years to help improve the efficiency of the shipping industry. As it represents a staggering amount of Co2 production in the world, it is vital to find alternative energy sources. Could totally electrical ships be on the horizon? This possibility is just sitting there waiting for somebody to utilize it to transform the fleet industry. And some are taking early steps to push the shipping industry into a safer and more efficient energy world.
Electrical vessels are not just a potential but a reality in some parts of the world. For example, Brian Ladin has been watching this field with some interest over the recent years. In Europe, a fleet of all-electric ships has been unveiled in recent years. Though their range is still limited to just a handful of ports, their potential is vast and could create a fantastic array of potential environmental benefits.
These “Tesla Ships” are produced by a Dutch manufacturer, Port Liner. Their goal is to expand their fleet to include as many different ships as possible. They currently have five barges in operation that operate 100% on batteries that produce carbon-free energy that minimizes Co2 output and other environmental issues.
Currently, each ship can carry up to 24 different containers and is mainly operating between the ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. They now work on reasonably short trips due to their design. The batteries are kept relatively compact to minimize excessive drain, though improvements in efficiency and other innovations could make them even more potent as the years pass.
What surprises Brian Ladin the most about these ships is their short charging time. Currently, it takes only around two hours to fully charge one of these boats. That’s a massive improvement from past electrical batteries and could transform the industry by making repeated voyages easier to plan. Rather than spending hours refilling fuel, a quick two-hour charge is all that is necessary.
Surprisingly, China has also jumped in on this field. They produced an all-electric cargo ship as recently as 2017. It has a capacity of about 2,000 tons and includes two 160 kW electrical propellers and various supercapacitors, and lithium batteries. They can travel pretty short distances currently, but China has been utilizing them to cut back on the expenses and Co2 production during these trips.
The ultimate goal would be to develop long-term ships that could go across oceans without needing fuel or recharging. Brian Ladin believes a combination of solar and wind power may be necessary to meet this goal. Unfortunately, the possibilities are still limited because the sheer power needed to move ships is not available with most alternative energy options. However, that could change in the future.