Norway plans to launch the first autonomous and fully electric cargo ship in 2018, a feat the project’s backers say will save 40,000 truck journeys per year.
Fertilizer company Yara International teamed up with industrial group Kongsberg to build the Yara Birkeland, which will haul fertilizer to three ports in southern Norway.
With a range of more than 120 kilometers, the ship will haul 100 containers at a speed of 12 to 15 knots. Initially, the ship will be manned, but remote operation is expected to begin in 2019 and fully autonomous operation in 2020.
“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,” Yara Chief Executive Svein Tore Holsether said.
The switch is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 678 metric tons a year. The power used to charge the ship’s batteries will come almost exclusively from hydroelectric plants.