The first autonomous zero-emission container ship Yara Birkeland has completed its maiden voyage in the Oslo Fjord.
The Yara Birkeland has an all-electric propulsion system. The 80-meter-long and 15-meter-wide vessel can transport up to 120 20-foot containers per trip.
Fertiliser firm Yara had commissioned shipbuilder Vard in 2017 to build the electric Ship. The company expected the Yara Birkeland to handle the equivalent of 40,000 truck trips between the fertiliser production facility in Porsgrunn, southern Norway, to Brevik for onward transport already at the end of 2018 to ease the burden on road freight traffic.
It took Yara partner Kongsberg until now to get the maiden voyage underway. Accordingly, commercial transport operations are to start in 2022. The initial trips will still be controlled manually. During a two-year test phase, the vessel’s self-propelled technology will be tested and later certified.
The vessel’s self-propelling capability is guided by GPS, radar, cameras and sensors so that the electric ship can navigate itself around other boat traffic and also dock on its own. Kongsberg, which builds guidance systems for civilian and military uses, signed responsible for the technology.
Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Minister of Fisheries, Ocean Policy Bjørnar Skjæran welcomed the Yara Birkeland back at Oslo harbour after the maiden voyage.
Oslo Port aims to cut 85 per cent of emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter by 2030. Oslo Port has the goal of becoming the world’s first zero-emissions port.