High Stack Battery

Phoenician Energy’s aluminum-air batteries win in Yara Marine’s accelerator program

Yara Marine Technologies, a Norway-based provider of exhaust gas cleaning systems, has selected Phoenician Energy’s aluminum-air batteries as the winner of its corporate accelerator program, Yara Marine X.

High Stack Battery; Image by Yara Marine

Yara Marine X was launched in September as a startup competition aiming to provide a home for technology and solutions that are expected to contribute to a greener maritime industry.

The competition was designed to attract mature start-ups looking for partners and investors. 

Phoenician Energy licenses aluminum-air battery technology and adapts it to marine applications. The company has developed a 4,8 MWh system enclosed in a 20-foot shipping container. 

“Phoenician Energy’s use of aluminum-air battery technology for the maritime industry triggered our scientists’ curiosity. Their container battery is especially interesting. The concept taps into several recent trends and developments, such as circular economy and electrification of marine vessels. We believe this technology may have an important role to play in a greener maritime industry for future generations,” Thomas Koniordos, CEO of Yara Marine Technologies, said.

“Charging an Al-air battery actually happens at an aluminum production plant. You may say that the battery consumes aluminum, the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. Furthermore, the alumina generated from the aluminum in the battery, as it depletes, is a valued commodity. The alumina can be recycled back to aluminum at the aluminum plant, but it also has uses in other industries. Together with Yara Marine Technologies, Phoenician Energy will move into its next phase,” Jesper Hellström, Yara Marine’s Head of Research and Development, added.

“Al–air batteries have one of the highest energy densities of all batteries, with more than four times the capacity of the conventional lithium-ion battery. Higher density means that longer ranges can be achieved, and a smaller footprint means more space for revenue-producing cargo. In addition, we do not recharge our system onboard, instead, we replace it with a fully charged one, eliminating downtime that would be required for recharging conventional batteries. The consumed battery is then reequipped with new aluminum and it is ready to go another turn. Furthermore, Aluminum-air batteries do not lose capacity when not in use nor do they degrade over time. They are also inherently safe, with no danger of temperature runaway,” Udi Erell, Founder and President at Phoenician Energy says.

Phoenician Energy will be the first start-up to enter the Yara Marine X’ six-month program, after which Yara Marine Technologies may choose to invest in the company and its technology.

As Yara Marine said earlier, the winner of the competition will enter a bootcamp orientation of two weeks, followed by six months in a tailored accelerator program.

The program includes office space, a $10,000 up-front stimulus grant, potential later-stage investment from Yara Marine, and access to the company’s mentors, network and facilities. Piloting and distribution opportunities with Yara Marine customers, suppliers and network are part of the longer-term plan.

The accelerator program comes as Yara Marine looks to expand its business portfolio beyond scrubbers especially in the wake of the impact of the pandemic on the uptake of scrubbers.

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As disclosed, the core priority of the company has switched to the provision of technologies paving the way for a ‘greener marine industry’.

Yara Marine is looking into the fuel efficiency optimization as well as the use of ammonia as fuel, technologies behind digital ports and heat recovery from scrubber water