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Two Autonomous Electric Barges Built in Indian Port Set Off for Norway

Published on: 7 July 2022 11:00 AM
by Jithin Joshey Kulatharayil
Two autonomous electric barges are being loaded onto Yatch Servant, a large vessel transporter to Norway, at Cochin Port in Kochi, India.

At a time when the world is reeling from the effects of climate change, decarbonisation has become a priority for businesses, governments and the public. They are increasingly making commitments and efforts to achieve net-zero goals in the short-term. While certain sectors, such as the uptake of renewables, for example, have been quicker to activate, shipping has long been considered a tougher industry to address, owing to its high energy dependency and complexity of electrification. However, efforts are underway throughout the world to reduce carbon emissions in the shipping industry, providing proof that huge gains are there to be made.

In India, the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has embarked on a "Green Shipping" journey, in collaboration with Indian partners, to build hydrogen-fueled electric vessels in line with a planned transition to greener technologies. The project is anticipated to accelerate India’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2070.

Consequently, the Norway-based ASKO Maritime AS and the CSL have agreed, under the ambitious ASKO project funded by the Norwegian government, to deliver two autonomous electric barges, Maris and Teresa, to Norway, which were built by the shipyard. The green shipping programme will facilitate the emission-free transport of goods across the Oslo fjords (inlets).

The electric barges, each weighing 600 tonnes and with a length of 67 metres, are full-electric transport ferries powered by a 1,846 kWh capacity battery. The vessels are designed using Kongsberg Maritime Systems by Naval Dynamics, Norway, with engineering inputs from the shipyard. 

Both barges, loaded within a container vessel, set off from India for Norway in the last week of June and are expected to take at least one month to reach their destination. After commissioning and field trials in Norway, they will become fully operational and can then transport 16 fully loaded trailers simultaneously and, importantly, autonomously.

Such news might be the first of its kind in India, or perhaps across the globe, in terms of how it shows the maturing of fully electrified ship technologies. However, this green programme will undoubtedly help initiate other similar efforts elsewhere so that we can start to visualise a future in which green, circular, eco-friendly maritime technologies are the norm. 

Source: KnowESG

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