As part of South Korea’s efforts to focus on next-generation, high-value vessels, Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering has announced plans to develop electric vessels using a safer vanadium-ion battery. The parent company of shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries takes the lead in strategic developments and the search for future technologies. In partnership with Standard Energy, a maker of new battery technology, they plan to develop an Energy Storage System (ESS) solution for next-generation commercial applications. vessels propelled by electrical energy.
Currently, lithium-ion batteries are generally used in ships equipped with ESS, such as electric and hybrid ships. The companies noted that while a lithium-ion battery has the ability to achieve compact size even in large capacity, it contains highly volatile electrolytes that inherently increase risk. Cases of fires and explosions have been well documented with many concerns raised by regulators in many industries about the dangers of lithium-ion batteries.
Standard Energy has developed the first vanadium-ion battery (VIB) which contains an electrolyte composed of a mixture of water and ground vanadium. According to the company, their battery is basically free from the risk of explosion or fire.
Among other benefits they cite of the new battery is that it also exhibits minimal heat generation even when overcharged or shocked. In addition, its power output is almost twice that of a lithium-ion battery, while its service life is more than four times longer. It is almost free from aging-induced degradation during repeated charging and discharging cycles, showing high stability and excellent durability.
As part of an agreement between the battery developer and the shipbuilding company, they plan to develop and market a highly stable VIB-based ESS solution for ships. KSOE will take the lead in designing a megawatt-class ESS solution optimized for ships, while Standard Energy will manufacture and supply VIBs.
“The ESS for ships we are currently working on will be suitable for electric and hybrid ships as well as general merchant ships as it will be free from the risk of explosion or fire,” a KSOE official said. “In addition, we will accelerate efforts to develop next-generation vessels, such as energy transfer vessels, the demand for which is expected to increase alongside the rapid growth of the global offshore wind energy market.”
KSOE aims to establish a strong foothold in the rapidly growing electric vessel market by developing a marine ESS using the new battery technology. Their goal is to demonstrate the system on a smaller vessel at sea as they move towards certification of the solution by the first half of 2023.