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Corvus Energy strengthens its product portfolio for maritime batteries with the acquisition of Grenland Energy

Corvus Energy strengthens its product portfolio for maritime batteries with the acquisition of Grenland Energy

Bergen, Norway; Richmond, BC, Canada; and Skien, Norway – February 6, 2019 – February 6, 2019 – Corvus Energy Holding AS, the world-leading supplier of Energy Storage Systems (ESS) to the maritime industry, has signed an agreement to acquire all shares in Grenland Energy AS. Grenland Energy, located in Skien, Norway in the heart of the Grenland region, develops and manufactures lightweight lithium-ion batteries for the maritime, offshore and subsea industry.

Corvus recognized synergies “We knew that Grenland Energy had technology that would accelerate our long-term strategy by complementing and strengthening our product portfolio,” says Geir Bjørkeli, CEO of Corvus Energy. “We are very excited to have quickly reached this agreement with Grenland Energy. They have highly skilled employees, high quality products, and a market-leading position within niche segments that represent attractive long-term growth potential.”

Perfect timing “The market for battery storage is increasing rapidly. It is the perfect time to combine resources, competencies, and technologies with an optimized global footprint. We are eager to join forces with innovative companies such as Grenland Energy to offer extended and more specialized solutions and services,” Bjørkeli continues.

Complete supplier With this acquisition, lightweight and subsea batteries are added to Corvus Energy’s existing portfolio of large-scale maritime ESSs, strengthening Corvus Energy’s market-leading position as a complete supplier of batteries for a wide variety of seaborne applications.

Build on strengths The current operations of Grenland Energy will continue without interruption, and Grenland Energy customers will benefit from Corvus Energy’ global sales and service capabilities. Bjørkeli remarks: “Corvus will offer Grenland Energy automated and efficient manufacturing, a global service network and easier access to global markets. The Grenland team will play a vital role in future R&D programs within the Corvus family and help shape a hub for leading battery technology in the Grenland region. And as in the past, Corvus Energy will continue to focus on innovation, quality and safety and to foster a long-term view on customer relations.”

Unique range of products “Corvus Energy’s commitment to quality and safety was key in our decision. We share the same passion for overcoming technical challenges, to drive innovation and provide better and more sustainable solutions,” says Roman Stoiber, CEO at Grenland Energy. “We are pleased that Corvus Energy will enable unprecedented access for our technology to markets and opportunities. Our combined range of products and services will be unique in today’s maritime industry and offer significant advantages to our customers. Furthermore,Corvus’ commitment to further strengthen todays Grenland team was important to us.”, Stoiber states.

A growing demand “We are eager to have products and knowhow to help serve a wider range of maritime applications,” says Sean Puchalski, EVP of Strategy and Business Planning at Corvus Energy. “We see a growing demand for a lightweight ESS in high-speed vessels, as well as subsea applications, for which the Grenland Energy product design is ideally suited.”

Fully integrated Upon completion of the acquisition, the business of Grenland Energy will be fully integrated with the operations in Corvus Norway AS, which is based in Bergen, Norway. The Grenland Energy office will continue and expand its current operation in the Grenland region of Norway. The shareholders in Grenland Energy will continue as shareholders in Corvus Energy Holding AS.




About Corvus Energy

Corvus Energy is the world-leading supplier of high-power energy storage in the form of modular lithium ion battery systems to the maritime industry. Its purpose-built, field-proven battery systems provide sustained power to hybrid and all-electric heavy industrial equipment, including large marine propulsion drives. Corvus Energy has amassed unsurpassed experience from 190+ projects, totaling over 200 MWh and more than 2 million operating hours.

For more information, please visit www.corvusenergy.com

Corvus Energy Media Contacts:

In Europe and Asia In North America
Sonja Vernøy Hansen
Marketing Communications Manager
+47 993 09 309
Sean Puchalski
Executive VP Strategy & Business Planning
+1 (604) 227-0280 ext. 123



About Grenland Energy

Grenland Energy was established in 2012 to develop and provide large battery systems for maritime and offshore applications. The business expanded rapidly to include customized battery solutions for land-based and subsea applications, along with consultancy and test services. Today Grenland Energy has projects within maritime, offshore, subsea and land-based energy storage solutions and is involved in a number of innovative R&D projects with the target to develop tomorrow’s battery technology.

For more information, please visit www.grenlandenergy.com

Grenland Energy Media Contact:

Roman Stoiber
+47 948 81 758

Next Generation Orca Energy ESS to Power Fish Farm Support Vessel

Next Generation Orca Energy ESS to Power Fish Farm Support Vessel

By MarEx

Grovfjord Mek. Verksted AS (GMV) has selected Corvus Energy as the supplier of the lithium ion based energy storage system (ESS) for a fish farm support vessel called GMV ZERO. GMV will utilize Corvus’ next generation Orca Energy ESS to support the vessel’s entire energy requirements for zero emission fish farm operation.

Orca Energy is part of the recently announced Orca ESS product line from Corvus which is specifically designed for maritime applications. “Our teams take great pride in the fact that our products are being applied to projects such as this one, with the goal of zero emission operations”, said Roger Rosvold, Sales Manager at Corvus. “In the past, there was a trade off between financial feasibility and environmental responsibility. That is no longer the case with the Orca ESS product line.” In addition to its compelling total cost of installation and the purpose built performance characteristics, the Orca product line also includes significant safety innovations. One such innovation is cell-level thermal runaway isolation which does not require an active cooling technique, such as liquid cooling, for it to be effective. With numerous leading innovations, Orca ESS is quickly becoming the industry’s safest & highest performing maritime ESS solution.

“As a result of an extensive evaluation, GMV selected Corvus’ Orca Energy ESS due to its ability to not only meet, but exceed all performance, safety and financial requirements”, said Arnold Hansen, GMV. “Beyond the incredible benefits of Orca ESS, GMV wanted a partner with extensive marine ESS experience, a global support team, and deep technical knowledge. Corvus is that partner.”

As the leading manufacturer of energy storage systems for maritime applications, Corvus designed and built the Orca ESS solutions portfolio based on the experience from 50+ vessels utilizing a Corvus ESS, totaling over 35MWh and 1 million operating hours. Rather than a single product, the Orca ESS product line delivers a range of products which are designed to meet the needs of various marine customers. Orca Energy is ideal for applications that require large amounts of energy such as ferries and merchant vessels, while Orca Power has been designed for applications that require a seamless response to dynamic power loads such as offshore supply vessels and port equipment.

Read more: http://maritime-executive.com/pressrelease/next-generation-orca-energy-ess-to-power-fish-farm-support-vessel

Work in progress

Work in progress

Commercialising energy storage systems in the maritime sector is a challenging proposition. Sean Puchalski discusses the evolution of battery-powered vessels and explains how Corvus Energy is working to scale up the technology for use on larger vessel types

Currently, the adoption of an energy storage system (ESS) such as lithium ion batteries (LiB) in marine vessels is limited to battery hybrid vessels with highly variable load profiles and all-electric vessels on short routes. In the case of battery hybrid vessels this is true because the economic benefit of the ESS is derived mostly from load-leveling, peak-shaving and spinning reserve functionality.

The first two functions in particular are more pronounced in a vessel that must respond to high variation in propulsion loads. It is in these vessels that the economic benefit of the ESS likely provides a sufficient return on the cost of the ESS at today’s LiB pricing.

Examples of vessels with highly variable load profiles are tug boats, offshore supply vessels and short haul ferries where the generators are typically sized to handle a certain peak load that is significantly higher than the average load required. A harbour tug, for instance, may have generators that can produce over 7,000 HP for an 80-ton bollard pull in ship assist mode, yet the tug spends less than 10% of its time at or near this full bollard pull rating.

A similar situation exists in offshore vessels in dynamic positioning mode where thrusters must respond rapidly to maintain vessel position against wind and waves. In both cases, with a hybrid ESS arrangement, the generators can be sized smaller or be fewer in number to handle the base load and let the ESS shave the peaks or level the load on the generators. This reduces fuel consumption, emissions, and wear and tear on the engines. As a vessel’s propulsion load profile becomes flatter, the cost savings diminish relative to the cost of the ESS. Think of a long haul cargo vessel; once it leaves the harbour, it steadily steams across a vast sea for days at a relatively constant speed. It can therefore be seen that for hybrid vessel adoption, the cost of the ESS is a constraining factor.

As mentioned above, all-electric vessel adoption is currently limited to short routes with modest energy requirements. As in electric cars, the range in electric ships is limited by the capacity (typically measured in kWh or MWh) of energy storage that is feasible to install onboard. Feasibility is currently limited by ESS cost or physical size. That is, beyond a certain battery capacity, either the costs exceed the savings to such a degree that it is not a financially viable solution, or the volume or weight of the battery system becomes too large to accommodate in the vessel design.

Once these challenges are resolved, there is also a secondary issue of recharging such a large battery quickly enough to maintain a useful schedule for passengers or for other operational requirements.

Some very smart engineers are working on scaling up charging infrastructure to handle repeated large power transfers, but this is also currently a limitation of the battery cells themselves. In addition, electrical grid infrastructure in the ports of call will need to be able to deliver the required energy many times throughout the day.

Therefore, for all-electric vessels to become commonplace we need not only have  improvements in battery cost but also performance with respect to energy density and recharge rates. These improvements are mostly required at the battery cell level. At Corvus, our job is to create energy storage systems from these cells that do not de-rate the performance of the cells, but instead, harnesses their full potential.

Energy density, charge rates, cell cost and many other factors have all improved dramatically in the five years Corvus has been marketing maritime ESS products, and these trends are continuing, if not quickening. As improvements in density, performance and cost are commercialised, we will see adoption grow to include electric ferries (and other vessels) of ever increasing route length. Compare the first electric ferries in Norway, the MF Ampere and MF Folgefonn, owned by Norled AS, with crossings of 5.6 km and 6 km, respectively, to the more recently announced projects, Aero Ferry (up to 24 km) and HH Ferries’ MF Tycho Brahe and MF Aurora (24-hour operation, 50,000 passengers/9,000 cars per day) to see this is already happening. We will also see hybridisation extend into longer haul vessels such as coastal cargo vessels and eventually freighters.

‘For all-electric vessels to become commonplace we need not only improvements in battery cost but also performance with respect to energy density and recharge rates. These improvements are mostly required at the battery cell level’

Corvus’ approach to managing the complexities of the required technology improvements in energy storage whilst turning a profit in the here-and-now was to create an extensible technology platform comprised of the safest possible battery pack mechanical and electrical design, combined with a battery management system (BMS) refined over seven years.

The term ‘battery cell agnostic’ is overused and so we avoid it; what we do is incorporate the best available cell technology for a given application into our mechanical, electrical and software backbone. We have just come out with two new products and have two more on our roadmap, each using a different cell. The extensible platform concept serves us well and is a good way of looking at adapting to the needs of the market longitudinally in time.

We also look at it laterally with the goal of optimising total cost for a given application by offering enough breadth in our product line. Even amongst the vessel types that are installing ESS today, there are differing requirements for what the products must do. These differences are mostly in terms of whether the vessel needs an ESS that can discharge evenly over an extended period of time – think all electric ferry – or whether the vessel needs an ESS that can absorb/support large fleeting transient power loads – think offshore supply vessel dynamically positioning next to a drill rig in rough weather. These needs can be arranged along a power to energy continuum and we build a product for each case along the continuum. In some applications, like mobile drilling rigs, which are like floating cities, a number of different products are required to optimally serve the multiple use cases onboard.

In the future, as adoption extends to vessels with longer range, there will be a need to scale up the maritime ESS from current levels to something two to three times as large. The largest marine ESS installation in the works so far is approximately 4 MWh. The challenges of scaling up to the 10 MWh-plus level is not so much a matter of BMS scalability or system architecture, as these sizes have been achieved already in stationary power (i.e. electricity grid) ESS applications. For maritime ESS, there is a higher standard of care around safety, especially with respect to thermal runaway (TR) .

Thermal runaway is an extremely rare situation that can occur with batteries, especially LiB, where a faulty or damaged cell can catch fire resulting in a cascading thermal reaction, if uncontrolled. The difference between a containerised battery system in a remote wind farm going into TR and the same thing happening on a ship with passengers and crew many miles offshore underscores the need. It is challenging to scale up with respect to TR safety. Therefore, Corvus puts a lot of resources into leading the market with respect to TR prevention and mitigation. In the extremely unlikely event it becomes necessary, our new products actually limit TR to a single cell, isolating the reaction before it can cascade. The only sensible strategy for TR safety is to limit as much as possible the amount of energy in the reaction.

Commercialising energy storage technology is not for the faint of heart and many challenges remain to be solved. Our belief is that with the right technology and product strategy, as well as sound relationships with the customer base and regulatory bodies, we put ourselves in good stead. We look forward to the future and are excited to see the development of smart energy usage aboard the world’s fleets.

Read more: www.bunkerspot.com/images/mags/flipbook/bs_v13n3_JunJul_16/index.html#p=64


Industry Insight: Marine Battery Technology a Promising Solution for Tightening At-Berth Emissions Regs

Industry Insight: Marine Battery Technology a Promising Solution for Tightening At-Berth Emissions Regs

Industry Insight: Marine Battery Technology a Promising Solution for Tightening At-Berth Emissions Regs
Corvus’ batteries are currently in use in a variety of vessels.

Even industry leaders like Canada-based Corvus Energy Inc. (Corvus) say we are many years away from all-electric, battery powered, deep sea ocean going vessels, but in the meantime, battery technology could play a significant role in helping operators with the increasingly important issue of at-berth emissions regulation compliance, the marine battery manufacturer has told Ship & Bunker.


With a 5 megawatt load, getting an hour of power will cost some $4 million to $6 million

Sean Puchalski, VP Strategic Marketing and Accounts, Corvus Energy

“People are starting to talk about it now, specifically using battery power to deal with at-berth emissions,” Sean Puchalski, VP Strategic Marketing and Accounts, told Ship & Bunker.

“I think that this is an area that is going to develop before we see long haul ocean going vessels using battery power exclusively for propulsion.”

The reason for this becomes clear when the current costs and power considerations are seen in detail.

 “Once the cost of not only the battery, but all the other gear – power conversion, energy management system, electrical distribution systems and so on – are taken into account, at the moment the cost is around $750,000 to $1 million per megawatt hour,” says Puchalski.

“With a 5 megawatt load, getting an hour of power will cost some $4 million to $6 million.”

As a sign of how much progress is being made in this area though, this cost is significantly less than the $7 million to $9 million it would have cost just two years ago.

In terms of size, Puchalski says current density allows for 3 megawatt hours in a standard 40-foot container.

Taking all this into account, right now he says the “biggest bang for your buck” is for short routes, and hybrid operating vessels, with the technology particularly attractive for offshore markets and ferries.

“Offshore vessels, tugs, and short haul ferries have a highly variable load profile, average power is typically much less than total generator capacity,” says Puchalski.

“These situations benefit significantly from energy storage already at today’s costs and densities.”

At-Berth Emissions Regulations

But the suitability for at-berth regulation compliance is equally clear, with the issue coming under increasing scrutiny in recent times.

This has been particularly so for the cruise sector, which over the last year alone has been subject to public concern over the matter in Australia, the UK, Spain, and the US.

Even outside of the regulations, some operators not even in the general public’s eye are making voluntary at-berth emissions reductions

And at-berth emissions regulations are tightening; in addition to general emissions control area (ECA) regulations in Europe and North America, since January 2014 California has had rules in place mandating the use of at-berth shore power, while in Asia, over the last year Hong Kong and Shanghai / the Yangtze River Delta have introduced at-berth bunker rules.

Even outside of the regulations, some operators not even in the general public’s eye are making voluntary at-berth emissions reductions.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) are a case in point, who last month launched a new policy that requires all of its vessels to burn bunkers with a less than 0.1 percent sulfur content, or an equivalent method of compliance, while at berth in any port around the world.

With technology such as Becker Marine Systems‘ (Becker Marine) liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered cold ironing barge (Hummel) also already in service, and looking at how far the industry has come in its emissions regulations over the last decade, it is not inconceivable that in the next 10 years we will see requirements for zero emission port calls.

Marine battery technology can clearly play a pivotal role in making such a scenario a reality.

Read more: http://shipandbunker.com/news/features/industry-insight/804083-industry-insight-marine-battery-technology-a-promising-solution-for-tightening-at-berth-emissions-regs

Boeing’s Mega UUV Uses Corvus Lithium Ion Energy Storage System (ESS)

Boeing’s Mega UUV Uses Corvus Lithium Ion Energy Storage System (ESS)

Photo: Boeing

Boeing recently announced the addition of Echo Voyager to its fleet of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) developed by their research and development division, Phantom Works. Echo Voyager is the largest of the innovative UUV family, joining the Echo Seeker and Echo Ranger. Echo Voyager is capable of operating autonomously at sea for months at a time due to its hybrid rechargeable power system supported by a lithium-ion energy storage solution from Corvus Energy.

By Michelle Howard

Unlike typical UUVs such as the 18-foot Echo Ranger and 32-foot Echo Seeker, which can stay at sea for only a few days before being re-charged by a surface ship, the 51-foot Echo Voyager can explore the oceans for up to 6 months without returning to a support ship. This extreme capability is enabled, in part, by the Corvus-developed energy storage system (ESS). The ESS powers Echo Voyager for a few days before using an onboard diesel generator to recharge the batteries.

Echo Voyager represents the second UUV project of which Corvus technology has been an integral part.

“Corvus is known largely for its product lines for merchant vessels, offshore vessels and port cranes.  We have been an extremely proud contributor to Boeing’s UUV programs for several years now and are excited to be able to share this news with the industry” says Corvus President & CEO Andrew Morden.  “This bespoke work highlights the capabilities and depth of our R&D teams and gives the market some insight into another interesting aspect of our business”.

Echo Voyager will undergo sea trials this summer. Future missions could include scientific, military or oil and gas exploration. It can accomplish these tasks more economically by eliminating the need for a support ship, thanks to its hybrid rechargeable power system, built with Corvus Energy batteries.

Read more: http://www.marinetechnologynews.com/news/boeings-corvus-lithium-533852

Balancing the possible and the practical in regulation

Balancing the possible and the practical in regulation

Paul Fanning_Marine Propulsion1
Paul Fanning

The recent news that Saint Lucia has become the latest flag state to accede the Ballast Water Management Convention will have brought some cheer to IMO, but it comes in the light of some robust criticism from other quarters.

Some of this has come from the International Chamber of Shipping, which used its 2016 Annual Review to criticise IMO’s handling of the Convention, saying: “The main reason why governments have been so reluctant to ratify the Convention has been due to a lack of confidence in the IMO type-approval process and whether, among many other technical questions, the treatment equipment approved in line with current IMO Guidelines would actually work to the satisfaction of Port State Control authorities.”

Another take on this came from Rear Admiral Paul Thomas, US Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, who, in a blog posted on the Coast Guard Maritime Commons site, offered a defence of the USCG’s decision to set its own type-approval systems that also amounted to an effective criticism of the IMO’s approach to the ballast water issue.

“Robust, mandatory, consistent and transparent type-approval procedures coupled with testing protocols carried out by independent authorities are critical to ensure the complex systems developed to meet environmental stretch goals are, in fact, reliable and effective. Type-approval procedures that are not mandatory, that can be applied inconsistently, and that are not transparent introduce market uncertainty, and make it difficult for regulators to incentivise ‘early adopters’,” wrote Admiral Thomas.

Read more: http://www.mpropulsion.com/news/view,balancing-the-possible-and-the-practical-in-regulation_43145.htm


Corvus Lithium Ion ESS Powers Edda Freya

Corvus Lithium Ion ESS Powers Edda Freya

Corvus Energy ESS powers newly christened Edda Freya, the environmentally friendly offshore construction vessel from Østensjø Rederi AS

Edda Freya (Photo: Corvus Energy)
Edda Freya (Photo: Corvus Energy)
Østensjø Rederi AS has christened its new offshore construction vessel, Edda Freya. This new vessel was designed and built for the Greater North Sea market and utilizes an environmentally friendly and fuel saving diesel electric hybrid propulsion system powered by a Corvus Energy ESS (Energy Storage System).
The subsea construction vessel was designed with a focus on cable laying operations, offshore construction and IMR operations. The vessel’s first mission will be with DeepOcean, performing installation work for Statoil on the Maria development in the Norwegian Sea and specifically, the modification of the Statoil platforms Kristin and Heidrun. Such critical and high precision work will be made possible by the vessel’s highly reliable propulsion and DP3 positioning systems.
The Edda Freya, with a length of 150 meters, a width of 27 meters and 2,300 square meters of total deck space will be a powerful tool in the offshore construction market. The vessel is well equipped for such offshore work with a 150T dual tensioner vertical lay system and a 3000-ton carousel situated below deck.
The fuel saving, environmentally friendly Siemens BlueDrive PlusC propulsion system was implemented by Siemens in cooperation with Østensjø Rederi. By using variable rotational speed with optimal operation of the diesel generators in combination with the Corvus ESS, the system will reduce fuel consumption and the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and greenhouse gasses (CO2/methane).
New Vessel Uses Corvus Lithium Ion Energy Storage System

New Vessel Uses Corvus Lithium Ion Energy Storage System

Equipment & Technology // April 26, 2016

Østensjø Rederi in Norway has held a naming ceremoiny for its latest offshore construction vessel, Edda Freya. The new vessel was designed and built for the Greater North Sea market and utilizes an environmentally friendly and fuel saving diesel electric hybrid propulsion system with a Corvus Energy Energy Storage System (ESS).

The subsea construction vessel was designed with a focus on cable laying operations, offshore construction and IMR operations. The vessel’s first contract will be with DeepOcean.

The fuel saving, environmentally friendly propulsion system on the vessel, based on Siemens’ BlueDrive PlusC concept, was implemented by Siemens in cooperation with Østensjø Rederi. By using variable rotational speed with optimal operation of the diesel generators in combination with the Corvus ESS, the system will significantly reduce fuel consumption and the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and greenhouse gasses (CO2/methane).

Read More: http://www.oilpubs.com/oso/article.asp?v1=19116

LG Chem Expands Business Areas from Electric Vehicle to Electric Ship

LG Chem Expands Business Areas from Electric Vehicle to Electric Ship

19 April 2016 – 10:30am
Jung Min-hee
Viking, Eidesvik's Hybrid supply vessel, sports battery made by LG Chem
Viking, Eidesvik’s Hybrid supply vessel, sports battery made by LG Chem

Battery for Electric Ship
LG Chem, the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries, has signed a contract with a global energy firm specializing in hybrid ships to supply its batteries, accelerating the market dominance.

According to industry sources on Apr. 18, the company signed the supply deal for maritime hybrid batteries with Canada-based energy firm Corvus Energy at the end of last month.

Corvus Energy, which installs and manages the hybrid marine energy storage systems (ESS), has provided a total of 30MW lithium ion battery energy storage for vessels up to now. An official from Corvus Energy said, “Until now, we have installed our ESS in 50 ships across the world and we are planning to unveil ships with LG Chem’s lithium-ion batteries by the end of this year.”

Read more: http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/english/news/industry/14453-battery-electric-ship-lg-chem-expands-business-areas-electric-vehicle-electric

An Ocean of Opportunities

An Ocean of Opportunities

Paul Crompton talks to Neil Simmonds of Corvus Energy about the less-than-obvious market for marine hybrid power, supported by highly ruggedised lithium-ion batteries.

The sun is rising above the North Pacific Ocean. Oil tankers, container ships and barges are being moved into position at the Port of Los Angeles. Among the everyday scene of big industry going about its daily business, a small tugboat silently chugs its way to its first ship assist of the day. But this was no average day in 2009, this day proved to be a milestone for the merchant shipping industry. That’s because the small, unassuming green tug had been fitted with lithium polymer batteries; this was the US’s first hybrid tug.

Skip forward six years and Corvus Energy has completed 30 similar hybrid, plug-in hybrids and pure electric projects using its bespoke battery packs, fitted with nickel manganese cobalt pouch cells. This year the company is scheduled to supply packs for four more new build hybrid boats: three ferries and one offshore vessel. To date the majority of the Canadian company’s hybrid projects are evenly split between retro-fit and new build applications.


Transformation in shipping industry 

Neil Simmonds, Chief Technical Officer

When the battery industry discusses the brave new world of battery power, electric vehicles, stationary energy storage systems (ESS) and of course personal gadgets fill the agenda. But Neil Simmonds, Chief Technical Officer at Corvus Energy believes the real market lays in the merchant marine industry.

Simmonds is one of the founders of the Vancouver based company, and now along with his three senior executives Andrew Morden, Chief Executive Officer; Neil Lang, Chief Operating Officer and Halvard Hauso, Executive V.P. Sales and Marketing. With almost fifty years of combined history in the marine and battery industries, they all shared a vision that a ‘ruggedised’ lithium-ion module for use in heavy industrial applications would transform the shipping industry.

Whether that’s for offshore vessels, tug boats like the company’s Kotug applications or ferries, they could see a world where battery packs, albeit up to MW scale, could help companies
cut costs when ship assisting, vessel escorting, dynamic positioning or simply powering the ground breaking Ampere pure electric ferry in Norway.

Simmonds, who holds more than 70 battery-related patents and helped produce the first lithium‑ion batteries for the EV market, believes the market has unlimited scope.

He said: “I found lithium-ion batteries to be too expensive to work in cars, and so I moved to the marine sector and found the market is bigger than in cars. For example, if a car uses a 50kWh pack, our applications are using 500kWh, so OEMs are having to produce 10 cars for every vessel we supply.” However, this is just an example. With more the 30MW of energy storage deployed to date, the packs go from 78kWh (tug boat) to 2,600kWh (a retro fit ferry for Scandlines). With around 50,420 merchant ships trading as of January 1, 2015, according to statistics portal Statista, that is a lot of potential MWs to be retro-fitted.

It is this scale of application, and the number of ships that could be using batteries, that makes Simmonds believe the marine sector will be a bigger market than EVs, ‘because EVs are not economical from a customer point of view,’ he says. “The marine market is dramatically growing. We are at the forefront of the market.”

The key word here is ‘economic’. Simmonds sees customers in the merchant vessel industry making savings within two years of retrofitting a Corvus Energy pack. The saving come straight away in purpose built vessels.

Look No Diesels

MF Ampere, Single Line Diagram
MF Ampere, Single Line Diagram

With a life span of up to ten years, it doesn’t take a Nobel Prize mathematician to work out the financial benefits. The savings come from having to use less fossil fuels, ie diesel, because waiting time is the most inefficient time for a boat. Take for example that little green tug in North America. It will stay in the dock until it is required to go to a vessel’s location. Then when required to push a ship around, known as a ‘Ballard Push’, it will use its big gen sets for power. If the owner can turn off the engines and go to and fro from the harbour to ships under electric power, it can reduce up to 30% off fuel bills, says Simmonds.

A side effect of this cost saving is companies can also reduce their environmental impact.

“We could have pushed the environmental angle, but that’s not what we did, “ said Simmonds.  “You can legislate for environmental change, but if you make it cheaper and economically better, people will go to it. We have customers now looking at it for economic reasons, the environmental impact is nice, but not what we are doing it for.”

Battery and packs

Corvus ESS Pack
Corvus Energy Storage System Pack

So what is it that Corvus offers that is unique? Well other than the system itself, they offer a bespoke design, manufacture and commission/service. This involves Corvus application engineers working closely with the customer’s engineers prior to production of the batteries. This, the company says, ensures a high level of coordination and control of the battery alarms and parameters in operation.

Simmonds says, “We have a strong design team that looks at the ship’s load profile, matches it to the performances of the cell chemistry and integrates the pack onto the ship at the customers location.”

He adds: “These vessels are doing a job and if they are not working they are losing money. So we monitor them all the time. We can change the parameters of the battery system from our offices in Vancouver.”

However, Corvus Energy’s battery packs are only as good as the cells they use. That is why they chose Kokam to manufacture them. Simmonds says the Korean firm was handpicked because they were the first company to produce nickel manganese cobalt pouch cells, although, he adds, ‘we will consider using anybody who makes the cells’. Kokam had the original cells because they held the patent, which originally used a three fold continuous separator in each cell, 43 positive cathodes and 43 negative anodes layered inside, explains the battery industry veteran.

The company claims to be able to get up to 10,000 cycles from packs, which can run safely for 10 years. To do this the company uses battery management systems to monitor the packs and change the use profile of the pack when required to increase the cycle life.

To do this the company uses its proprietary modelling software to calculate the load profiles of the ship in combination with the cell chemistry to get the most efficient performance of the battery within their propulsion system.

“We know beforehand how many cycles the batteries can take,” says Simmonds. “We know the depth of discharge and the user profile so we can change the cycle-life, and that decides the size of battery packs. “

We know a certain size pack is determined by the power requirements and cycle needs of the customer. So if a customer requires 10,000 cycles, we know if the battery goes to 50% depth of discharge it will give 10,000 cycles, so we have to build that into the power requirement and we have software which deals with that.”

The company then manufactures a rugged, marine-ready battery pack which is built to the customer’s customised design.

Simmonds says EV packs operate at 300volts somewhere near 100 amps, but Corvus’ operate at 1,000 volts. In this respect, the marine packs are similar as those used in EVs, but the scale is very different.

The packs also allow customers to run the vessels in full hybrid mode. Simmonds said: “A car hybrid is more about acceleration assist, in our case the vessels are in electric mode or not, and are a true hybrid, not a combination.” This hybrid mode also allows the battery in applications to be charged using excess energy generated by the vessel’s diesel gen-set, which is run at full RPM for the greatest efficiency.

But the company doesn’t just sell a pack and walk away. Through its commissioning/service Corvus ensures the battery is ready to be installed and commissioned on the ship. Integration of the battery pack into the customer’s system is one of the key services it provides. This integration process, which sees it working with the ship’s owner, ensures the pack is installed to the highest safety specifications.

The size of the merchant fleet.

Safety concerns are never too far away when discussion turns to using lithium. Airlines have banned cargo shipments of the chemistry, and consumer products are regularly being recalled due to problems. So safety is a key topic, after all we are talking about huge amounts of energy— 500kWh and up. On land a matter of thermal runaway in an EV is a dangerous prospect, fifty miles from shore and the issue becomes deadly. That is why Corvus Energy goes for safety as well as performance, Simmonds said.

Safety measures include housing the pack’s cells and internal battery structure in a proprietary thermal conductor, which enables heat to be wicked away from the inside to the external enclosure using a passive cooling system. The Battery Management System (BMS) provides reports on warnings, faults and the rack system provides fire suppression.

Corvus recently performed a series of thermal runaway mitigation tests to show how inherently safe and reliable its battery technology is. The company deliberately overrode all of the built-in safety systems and induced thermal runaway in a Corvus battery module.

In total, Corvus has completed 11 separate tests to verify the design of its module, racking, and water mist system. The tests were conducted at SP Fire Research in Borås, Sweden. Ten of these tests involved forcing a complete Corvus AT6500 battery module into thermal runaway. During these tests key parameters were varied, including whether or not there was a source of ignition and the timing and flowrate of the water mist system.

Corvus Energy ESSOn the basis of these tests, Corvus confirmed the following conclusions about the its battery system:

  • Battery modules surrounding the module experiencing thermal runaway do not reach dangerous temperatures
  • Thermal runaway does not propagate to other modules
  • The Corvus racking system remains undamaged and keeps the module lid in position
  • The Corvus battery module design results in a controlled release of pressure
  • Water mist quickly extinguishes a fully-developed fire scenario
  • A fire external to battery room does not cause dangerous temperatures in the battery system

So rigorous are the company’s safety standards that it guarantees the IP67 rated packs can be immersed under one metre of water for 30 minutes, subjected to 30G of shock and 8G of vibration, and still operate. They also test each module (containing 24 76amp cells) for all types of shock vibration, and saltwater ingress. This is stringent self-regulation, but when you are the only firm designing packs specifically for the marine industry, it pays to take it seriously.

That is why Corvus Energy works with The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), ISO, independent certification service Lloyd’s Register Type Approval, and maritime classification, verification, risk management and technical advisory service DNV-GL. It means the company can boast of having the only lithium battery Type-Approved by DNV-GL, Lloyd’s Register and ABS.

“We are the first to make all the safety requirements and achieve the correct regulatory standards,” said Simmonds. “The marine sector is finally realising the requirements of safety and we are demonstrating to the industry that there’s a lot of energy in the packs if anything goes wrong. We are the safest in the marine industry right now.”

Shore to be a bright future

The company aims to expand as the demand in the marine world rises. This doesn’t just include new builds, because the ESSs can be retro fitted to any vessel— that’s currently more than 5,000 potential customers from private yacht owners to ferry operators. These applications are new to us as well, we are breaking new ground, said Simmonds. “We are the only company doing this for the first time in the market for these types of applications, so we are still developing the market,” he added.

That development includes using the ESSs in applications such as cranes, which Simmonds enthuses about. “They are mobile and save 50% of fuel use because the energy during the motor lowering its load is recoverable. And that’s a true hybrid application, which is very similar to EV and can get back their money within two years.”

Untapped market on crest of a wave

Constrained only by our own imagination, perhaps we are only just scratching the surface when it comes to the true potential for battery technology. Corvus Energy thought outside the box when it set sail into the untapped merchant marine industry. They believe the real market for lithium batteries is in EVs— that’s Electric Vessels— and have the technology to back up their claims.

Environmentally speaking, moving to hybrid and pure electric vessels makes sense, but it will be the accountants who will be rubbing their hands about what Corvus Energy is doing. Retro fit a battery pack today, and in two years it has paid for itself, giving ship-owners a potential further eight years to reap the 30% plus savings on fuel.

It seems too good to be true: a technology proven in real world applications, is safe, and will save money. But then all good ideas seem too good to be true until they become the industry norm.


To read this article in its original form, please see the Winter 2016 edition of BEST magazine here http://www.bestmag.co.uk/emags/BESTMAG51-Winter2016/index.html