COVE: Nova Scotia ready for vessel electrification

A new study by the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE) has shown that Nova Scotia’s ocean sector has significant market potential to develop and deliver vessel electrification and associated technologies.

The Nova Scotia’s Opportunities for Marine Electrification Study, developed by COVE and commissioned by the Province of Nova Scotia, provides information on the potential and methods for a marine vessel electrification industry in Nova Scotia.

Approaches and technologies encompassed alternative fuels like hydrogen and ammonia, fuel cell technology, battery storage advancements, and infrastructure and supply considerations.

The study lists the following key findings:

  • Marine vessel decarbonisation is a quickly advancing global industry. Nova Scotia, and more broadly Atlantic Canada, is primed to implement vessel electrification and grasp potential market opportunities. With a readily serviceable fleet of over 20,000 in Eastern Canada, the time-limited opportunity exists for Nova Scotia industry to act as a technology provider for pending demand. 
  • The recent surge of new vessels built with diesel-electric propulsion shows that owners and operators are seeing that this allows for a less invasive and less costly retrofit to a hybrid or fully electric solution. This is sensible given marine vessels have an average operational life span of 20-50 years.
  • Atlantic Canadian industry input from a rapidly growing ecosystem of operators, boat builders, technology companies, and naval architects shows they are actively engaged in a broad set of Nova Scotia marine electrification demonstration projects, and that access to enabling infrastructure and charging facilities has been seen as a commercial barrier.
  • Alternative fuels, including hydrogen and ammonia, have real opportunity to decarbonise long-haul voyages. Opportunities for hydrogen remain relevant globally and are more nascent in Nova Scotia.
  • While officials have their eye on regulatory innovation, keeping up with this industry’s rate of change can accelerate the pace of electric vessel adoption by providing a higher level of certainty and reducing cost.  

“Marine vessel decarbonisation is a quickly advancing global industry that many Nova Scotia companies are investing in, developing technologies, and leading demonstration projects to contribute to its use as a commercial norm“, said Melanie Nadeau, CEO of COVE.

“With the information included in this study, as well the release of our Ocean Enterprise Study, it is no surprise that there has been a surge of high-tech companies in Nova Scotia focused on decarbonisation.

It is worth reminding that, at the end of 2021, Canada welcomed the first electric ferry service powered by a zero-emission, lithium-ion power and propulsion system containing no diesel components.

Marilyn Bell I was converted to operate on 100% electric power and it connects passengers, vehicles and supplies to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

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