Future-Proofing Battery Power
When we think about the reasons to switch to battery or hybrid power, the reduction of carbon emissions is one of the most obvious factors. However, as with so many other carbon-reducing technologies, other commercial incentives are needed to accelerate their widespread adoption in a financially challenged industry. Therefore, it is necessary to reframe battery technology in the context of its place within a challenged industry. Seen from this perspective, it may be that part of the value of battery solutions is their ability to reduce uncertainty as much as it is to reduce carbon emissions.
Certainty is a valuable commodity that is in short supply for the maritime industry these days. The price of oil will have an enormous effect on what how shipping will cope with upcoming regulation on several fronts. The price of fuel, for example, is a vital determinant when it comes to deciding how, or indeed whether, vessels will comply with the upcoming sulfur cap. Solutions that can somehow lessen vessels’ dependence on fluctuating bunker prices are invaluable, not just for the savings they provide, but also because they allow owners and operators to plan with more certainty.
Battery or hybrid power allows vessels to exercise closer control over their energy usage, in addition to reducing the amount of fuel used. Because of the value of this increased control and certainty, one of the main focuses of PBES’ research and development has been investigating solutions that can effectively maximize the lifecycle of a battery system, and maintain close control over their performance and power usage.
One crucial part of this comes from the fact that batteries can offer far more flexibility than conventional power systems. PBES’s industry-first CellSwap solution unlocks this potential – allowing lithium cells to be replaced, rather than the entire units. This not only reduces the need for costly recycling and integration of a new battery system, but allows users to capture future developments in energy storage.
Since PBES launched, it has seen the power of batteries nearly double – going from 8,000 cycles at 80 percent discharge to 15,000 cycles in some cases. There is no reason to believe that this rate of technology acceleration will change – switching allows users to capture the benefits of the next wave of battery technology sooner than they would otherwise. Given the global increase in battery manufacture across all industries – not just marine – it is likely that costs will fall as performance continues to increase, making the benefits of changing out the cells even more attractive to end users.