Erik Thun

Erik Thun to fit battery packs on nine ships

Swedish shipping company Erik Thun Group is investing $3.34 million in the installation of battery packs on nine of its existing vessels in the dry cargo fleet.

Image credit: Erik Thun

The ship owner explained that by installing battery packs and making the shore power connection smoother for the vessels, the need to use the engines while in port will be minimized. This, in turn, will help minimize emissions and noise pollution from the vessels while in port.

The battery pack will be a backup for all systems on board in case of a blackout bolstering the vessels’ safety as well.

The company has secured funds under the Climate Leap initiative, part of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s local investments program, in order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The funds from the Climate Leap initiative will reimburse up to 40% of the investment, but no more than SEK 14.4 million (1.3 million), the company said. 

As explained, one of the conditions for the reimbursement from the Climate Leap was to make sure that the shore power project would be finalized by the end of June 30, 2024, on all nine vessels.

While the installation of battery packs is an interesting option for the company, full electrification of the vessels traded by Erik Thun is not feasible at the moment. The same argument is valid for E-fuels which are not widely available yet. Hence, the low-hanging fruit for Erik Thun has been investment in the reduction of power demand on vessels while equipping them with peak shaving, batteries, fuel meters and optimisation software such as dynamic drive/eco control.

Over the period of 2018-2022, the company took delivery of 16 new vessels, and now, a substantial investment of approximately SEK 2.5 billion has been allocated to renew their fleet even further. The plan includes the construction of 12 new vessels, slated for delivery between 2023 and 2027. Among these, five will be dry cargo vessels, while the remaining seven will serve as product tankers.

Erik Thun has tapped Wärtsilä to fit its upcoming R-class tankers with an engine designed to seamlessly accommodate a wide range of future and alternative fuels, including but not limited to methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen.

With its Climate Law, the EU has set itself the target of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, and aims for climate neutrality by 2050. To tackle this challenge, the EU is placing a strong emphasis on greening the shipping industry and ensuring the availability of sustainable port services and infrastructure for alternative fuels.

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The FuelEU Maritime regulation, a key proposal in the EU’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in maritime transport, includes a mandate for on-shore power supply (OPS) usage by ships while they are berthed in ports.

From 2025, vessels will face limits on carbon intensity, covering around 90% of emissions, and starting in 2030, ships berthed for over two hours must connect to OPS unless using zero-emission alternatives. Shipping companies will be responsible for compliance, with penalties funding an innovation fund. Ports require funding to implement OPS, and the European Sea Ports (ESPO) seeks tax exemptions and prioritization for OPS.