Industry firsts: Berge Bulk ship tests solar panels

Bulker owner and operator Berge Bulk has launched a pilot test to trial the maritime application of solar technology.

The test is being carried out on Berge K2, the company’s 262,600 dwt Capesize ore carrier.

The solar panels convert light from the sun into electricity. Onboard ships, these devices can be used to supplement the diesel generators and reduce the power required from these units.

According to Berge Bulk, the test installation produces ~100 kilowatts of electrical power, which is fed into the main electrical grid on the ship to supplement the bulk carrier’s diesel alternators.

“Through the test, we are observing and assessing how the panels withstand the stresses while at sea and during in-port cargo operations,” the company said.

“Following the pilot, we plan to evolve the trial to a 1,000 kilowatts installation.”

Berge Bulk has become one of the few shipping companies to test this technology, given that solar panels on ships are not very common at present.

The company recently also conducted the first marine biofuel trial on one of its dry bulk carriers.

The trial saw Berge Tsurugi receiveing delivery of GoodFuels’ sustainable biofuel during its call to the Port of Rotterdam on 3 June 2021. 

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The initiatives are part of Berge Bulk’s environmental sustainability strategy aimed at becoming carbon neutral by 2025.

The company intends to achieve this target by deploying new energy-efficient vessels, and by supporting and investing in companies that are developing alternative fuels.