Although information on autonomous or unmanned ships is already several years old, information on a Fully Electric vessel with this capability is being reported for the first time in Norway.
Named the Yara Birkeland, the yacht is manufactured by the Norwegian company Yara International, and is fully electric, as well as crew-less, with or without crew on board.
If all goes well, it will make its maiden voyage between two Norwegian cities, Herøya and Brevik, before the end of next year, and every movement on that voyage will be monitored and controlled by three data control centers.
Powered by a 7MWh battery, the vessel can sail at 13 knots, or 15 kilometers per hour, and can carry up to 60 containers at a time.
The vessel will be able to cover about 40,000 freight lorries between the two cities annually, which is expected to significantly reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide.
According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the shipping industry accounts for 2% -3% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, but shipping is essential to the global economy.
According to reports, 90% of the trade is done by sea and the number of ships crossing the sea annually exceeds 90,000.
Although the 2015 Paris climate agreement did not include shipping, the IMO affiliates decided in 2018 to reduce shipping carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, compared to 2008.
This fully electric vessel will play a major role in the journey towards that goal, and if Yara International is able to launch the Yara Birkeland by 2022, it will be a turning point in the maritime freight industry.