Managing risk as batteries break new ground

The drive for energy efficiency – in particular the harnessing of otherwise wasted energy from a ship or its environment – is causing the marine industry to look more closely at energy storage. Bill Thomson examines the latest guidance from Lloyd’s Register.

Light, waves and tides can all offer ‘free’ energy, while ship machinery such as hot exhaust gases or free-running crane motors can easily generate electricity. Because other industries – notably road vehicles – are enjoying advances in hybrid power technology, batteries and energy management systems are evolving to make full use of the potential of these energy sources.

As with any onboard equipment, marine batteries have to be proven to be as safe as possible, as well as fit for purpose and dependable in often harsh surroundings. So class societies are looking ever more closely at battery technology. Lloyd’s Register of Shipping (LR) considers itself to be in the forefront of marine hybrid developments, having classed some 17 hybrid vessels including tugs for Kotug and Svitzer, and the Scandlines and CalMac ferries. It has recently introduced guidance covering the use of batteries onboard.

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