Photo: Yara International

Autonomous, zero-emission cargo ship set to begin operations in Norway

The Yara Birkeland, an autonomous, zero-emission cargo ship built by Yara International, is on course to begin its operations before the end of the year.

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The vessel is the first fully-electric cargo ship to set sail, says its makers. The idea for the ship was conceived back in 2017, when Yara International teamed up with Kongsberg to begin the project.

It is able to transport 103 containers and comes with a & MWh battery that generates a maximum speed of 13 knots.

Yara International believe the cargo ship will reduce NOx and CO2 emissions and improve road safety in a densely populated urban area in Norway.

According to Jon Sletten, plant manager for Yara’s factory in Porsgrunn, the ship will be charged at the quayside and operate on coastal routes. It is estimated that the ship could result in as as many as 40,000 less truck journeys over a 12-month period.

Although a crew will be present during the ship’s initial deployment, the vessel has been designed to work entirely without one. Autonomous cranes are currently being developed in order to move containers to and from the zero-emission ship.

For the time being, the ship shall only sail in Norwegian waters as there is no legislation that allows it to operate in neighbouring Sweden or other European countries.