Part of Seaspan’s fleet in action. (File photo courtesy of Seaspan)

Part of Seaspan’s fleet in action. (File photo courtesy of Seaspan)

Seaspan to field test new energy storage system that will more than triple its battery capacity

The company says the new system will play a role in making marine shipping more green

In what the company is calling a move towards greener marine shipping, a commercial operator that services Vancouver Island will have one of its cargo boats field test a new large-scale energy storage system (ESS).

Corvus Energy, a Norway- and Vancouver-based marine energy storage solutions company, will have its new Blue Whale ESS battery system installed on Seaspan Ferries Corp.’s Reliant vessel later this year for the system’s inaugural field trial.

The battery system is designed for large ships with high zero-emission energy demand, such as cruise ships, large ferries and cargo ships, according to a Seaspan news release announcing the partnership with Corvus.

The Reliant is a roll-on and roll-off cargo vessel that was built in 2016 and sails the Salish Sea multiple times a day, with terminals and service between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

Seaspan says the new Blue Whale system will more than triple the vessel’s energy storage capacity (from 545 kWh to 1892 kWh). According to the news release, Seaspan will be able to expand the use of battery power beyond spinning reserve to also provide fuel-efficient peak shaving, load balancing and zero-emission operation on battery power only.

“The increased battery capacity will give us operational flexibility to enhance service levels while reducing emissions and fuel consumption,” said Harly Penner, Seaspan’s director of fleet renewal and maintenance. “We are excited to partner with Corvus again. They have been outstanding collaborators in our quest towards decarbonization through fleet hybridization and electrification.”

READ: New BC Ferries hybrid-electric vessels arrive in Victoria

Seaspan’s vice president said the installation and local involvement of experts will help British Columbia develop its coastal emissions reduction plan.

“Seaspan Ferries is committed to caring for the environment and this is an exciting opportunity to play a role in the transformation of shipping towards a greener and more sustainable industry,” Gord Miller said. “This trial will also provide valuable experience locally, as personnel from VARD Marine, BC Hydro and the University of British Columbia will provide integration design, shore charging from the grid infrastructure and engine efficiency studies respectively.”

Installation of the Blue Whale system is scheduled for this summer and commissioning and trials will be carried out while the vessel is in full service operation during the remaining months of 2021. It will replace another Corvus battery system already used on the Reliant, which will be relocated to its sister vessel, the Seaspan Swift.

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