Environmentally aware with batteries from Westcontext goes here

Battery technology is rapidly being adopted by an increasing number of ship owners. Norway is in the driving seat and Westcon is taking part in this development. Westcon installed the first battery system on the Eidesvik ship, Viking Energy, in April.

The installation work, was a cooperation between Westcon Power & Automation (WPA) and Westcon Yards and was completed in two weeks. Project Manager in Yards, Kolbein Lunde (left), and Project Manager in WPA, Kristian Eikemo (middle), have been at the forefront of the assignment on Viking Energy. Here, together with Project Manager for Product and System in WPA, Ragnar Langåker. Behind them, the installment of the yellow battery container takes place. Photo: Ellen Marie Hagevik/Medvind24.no

By Kari Aakra, Medvind24.no


Westcon has worked on the development of maritime batteries for three years. The goal has been to develop an environmentally-friendly battery system that also reduces costs. 

“It’s a milestone for us that an innovative and technologically future-oriented company such as Eidesvik chose our solution,” says Ragnar Langåker, Project Manager for Products and Systems in Westcon Power & Automation (WPA). 

Finding the best solutions 

Eidesvik chose Westcon’s solution for several reasons, says the company’s Vice President of Technology and Development, Vermund Hjelland. 

FACT BOX:

  • The world’s first hybrid ship with dynamic positioning.
  • Dynamic positioning is a method that keeps ships in the same position without using an anchor, by using the ship’s own propellers.
  • As a hybrid ship, Viking Energy will, among other things, replace the power from one of the motors with the battery when the ship is in dynamic positioning.

“The use of batteries on ships will grow in the future. It was important for us to enter into cooperation with a local organisation that understands this fact. Westcon has already come a long way in its development of battery systems and we believe in their solutions. We are extremely happy with the job performed by both WPA and Yards. The level of expertise and the service has been unique,” says Hjelland. 

The battery system was installed in cooperation with Westcon Yards. In addition to developing the battery system, Westcon has, in recent years, been involved in work on several ships that utilise battery technology. 

“We have become familiar with the challenges and possibilities associated with battery packages on offshore ships and ferries. This has provided us with a good starting point for identifying good solutions,” says Otto Koch, Team Leader for Products and Systems in WPA. 

Reducing energy use and wear and tear 

With battery use on ships, energy consumption will be reduced as a result of more optimal load on the engines. The ship will also be able to stop one engine, which means less maintenance on the machinery. The batteries therefore contribute to reducing emissions of NOx, CO2, and other gasses. Ship batteries also have a peak shaving effect, where the battery equalises the load on the motors leading to less pressure on the machinery. 

Hybrid ships also have a larger redundancy, which means that they are more flexible and reliable. Viking Energy, which has four motors, will be able to use the batteries as an extra motor in an emergency. 

Viking Energy is the world’s first hybrid ship which has notation from Det Norske Veritas (DNV) for dynamic positioning. This is a milestone for both Westcon and Eidesvik. To the left, Svein Helge Juell from DNV-GL and the captain on Viking Energy, Geir Magne Eltvik, with the certificate. Photo: Ellen Marie Hagevik/Medvind24.no

Viking Energy will be the first ship that can run on, so-called, dynamic positioning as a hybrid. Ships that run with dynamic positioning under oil rigs in operation use a lot of fuel since they must have a reserve engine be running at all times. The motors will therefore run on a very low load, which results in higher consumption and emissions. With the use of batteries, this will be significantly reduced, as the ship can shut down one generator and replace this with the battery. 

Way ahead 

“Many people are excited to see how battery- driven ships will handle dynamic positioning. There are special requirements regarding how the batteries should work. Amongst other things, there must always be a certain amount of power available as the ships must be capable of leaving the rig quickly in an emergency,” says Langåker. 

“There are major developments within battery technology. Norway, and perhaps particularly the western part of the country, is positioned to be a world leader in the use of batteries on ships. There are enormous possibilities here,” says Langåker. 

Enova is the driving force behind the environmentally-friendly restructuring of energy use, and has provided investment support to ship owners that want to use batteries. Interest is rising, says Market Manager, Petter Hersleth, in Enova. 

“Norway has become very good at the technology surrounding maritime batteries, in large part thanks to the comprehensive maritime industry in the country. We will see even more development in the future and it is the suppliers and ship owners that are the most ambitious now, and they will ensure the next generation of batteries on ships and ferries. Westcon has developed a good system and I believe we will see more of this in the years to come.”