Kongsberg has collaborated with Norway's Yara to jointly develop a fully electric and autonomous container ship that will generate no emissions.
The deal will see Kongsberg integrate sensor, control, communication and electrical systems on board the ship, which will enable Yara to reduce its diesel-powered truck haulage frequency by 40,000 journeys a year.
The ship will be named 'Yara Birkeland' and is expected to enter service by the second half of next year. It will be deployed to transport cargo from Yara's Porsgrunn production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway.
Yara president and CEO Svein Holsether said: “As a leading global fertiliser company with a mission to feed the world and protect the planet, investing in this zero-emission vessel to transport our crop nutrition solutions fits our strategy well. We are proud to work with Kongsberg to realise the world's first autonomous, all-electric vessel to enter commercial operation.
"Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from YARA's Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world.
“With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions.”
Yara Birkeland will initially operate as a manned vessel before transitioning to remote operation by 2019.
The ship is expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020, which will allow Yara to meet United Nations (UN) sustainability goals.
Image: Rendering of an autonomous and electric ship, Yara Birkeland. Photo: courtesy of Kongsberg Maritime.