Crouise ship power demands
Rapid advances in battery technology are changing the marine industry, but can electric propulsion systems be commercially viable for large vessel types and transoceanic routes?
Electric vehicles have many advantages. All-electric drivetrains wipe the floor with their fossil-fuel equivalents in terms of efficiency, with e-motors generating close to 99% propulsive power, whereas even the best engines in the world waste 50% of their energy as heat. The motors add other advantages – they are clean, easily repaired and generate hardly any noise.
The problem, however, is that electric drivetrains simply can’t compete with fossil fuels in terms of potential energy. One day – in 2045, if Tesla engineer JB Straubel is to be believed – batteries will reach parity with gasoline in terms of volumetric and gravimetric energy density, thanks in large part to developments in solid-state batteries, extrapolating from the current rate of battery improvement, which amounts to between 5% and 8% annually.
Today though, in the maritime industry pure-battery systems have their limitations.
More information and source at: Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, Issue October 2019