First Zero-Emission Ship Makes Voyage with No Crew Members Onboard
(Photo : Image from Yara Website) First Zero-Emission Ship Makes Voyage with No Crew Members Onboard

The first ever zero-emission ship made its voyage without any crew members onboard. The Norwegian company called Yara International reportedly claims to have made the world's first ever zero-emission ship capable of transporting cargo autonomously.

Yara Birkeland Electric Cargo Ship

According to Electrek, the Yara Birkeland electric cargo ship was initially conceptualized back in 2017 but the ship currently looks to make its first voyage without the help of crew members onboard later this 2021 in Norway! Yara International is a particular Norwegian company that was initially founded in 1905 in order to combat the rising famine in Europe at that time.

The company was able to create the world's very first nitrogen fertilizer which currently remains its largest business focus today. In addition to the company's perpetual battle against hunger, Yara also focuses on emissions abatement as well as sustainable agricultural practices.

Yara Marine Technologies

While the company still wants to continue finding success when it comes to feeding the planet, it also believes that the company can do so sustainably. In order to combat toxic Sulfur Oxides or SOx as well as Nitrogen Oxides or NOx emissions from diesel engines on ships, the particular Norwegian company created Yara Marine Technologies. The move towards electric cars looks to be moving closer as Biden aims to reach a significant EV goal by 2030.

In 2017, the company actually started conceptualizing the possibility of an autonomous, fully electric ship in order to get rid of toxic emissions altogether. Today, the Yara Birkeland is reportedly afloat in Norway and is named after the popular Norwegian researcher who discovered the ability to be able to add nitrogen to fertilizer.

Autonomous Voyage

As of the moment, the electric cargo ship looks to complete its very first journey without even a single crew member onboard. A report from CNN noted that the Yara Birkeland electric cargo ship is set to make its very first autonomous voyage between the two Norwegian towns namely Herøya to Brevik later this 2021.

While there will reportedly be no crew onboard this cargo ship, it will still be very closely monitored from three different control centers onshore. To start, the loading and unloading of the ship will still require human beings. Jon Sletten, the plant manager for Yara's factory in Porsgrunn, Norway, noted that most of the operations will eventually be operated through autonomous technology.

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Autonomous Ships

This will then include autonomous cranes as well as straddle carriers that would help move containers both on and off the ship. The focus on autonomy helps lower the cost of operation for those transporting goods. Fully electric cargo ships also help simultaneously battle carbon emissions. While electric jet planes used to be a main goal for scientists, it seems like electric ships are looking close towards the finish line.

The electric cargo ship features a massive 7 MWh battery capacity which powers two 900 kW Azipull pods and two 700 kW tunnel thrusters which deliver a top speed of 13 knots or around 15 mph. The cargo capacity as of the moment is 120 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit TEU or up to sixty 40' shipping containers.

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Written by Urian B.

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