The world's first electric and self-propelled container ship has set sail, visiting the Oslo fjord before starting commercial operations in 2022.
The 80 m-long and 15 m-wide vessel, able to take 120 TEUs on board, will ply between the Norwegian Porsgrunn and Brevik. She will transport mineral fertilisers, taking some 40k/year truck trips off the country's roads.
Yara Birkeland's equipment, delivered by Kongsberg, will undergo testing towards autonomous and all-electric operations (6.8 MWh of battery capacity) during the following two years.
Maasterly, a JV between Kongsberg and Wilhelmsen, will operate the container carrier from its monitoring and operation's centre in Horten.
Yara Birkeland has been constructed by the VARD shipyard.
"This an excellent example of green transition in practice, and we hope this ship will be the start of a new type of emission-free container ships. There are a lot of places in the world with congested roads that will benefit from a high-tech solution like this," Svein Tore Holsether, CEO, Yara, commented.
Geir Håøy, Kongsberg Group's CEO, added, "Norway is a major maritime nation, and other countries look to Norway for green solutions at sea. Yara Birkeland is the result of the extensive knowledge and experience we have available in the Norwegian maritime cluster and industry. The project demonstrates how we have developed world-leading innovation that contributes to the green transition and provides great export opportunities for Norwegian technology and industry."
"On the way to a low-emission society, transport emissions must come down to almost zero. To achieve that, we need projects that can transform the market - projects that have the potential to pave the way for others and increase the pace of change in their sector. This is exactly what we believe the world's first autonomous and all-electric container ship will do," Nils Kristian Nakstad, CEO, Enova (Norway's governmental enterprise responsible for the promotion of renewable energy, which supported the building of Yara Birkeland with NOK133.5m/approx. €13.3m), summed up.