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Yara launches the world’s first self-propelled electric container ship

OSLO, Norway – The world’s first all-electric and self-driving container ship, owned by fertilizer producer Yara, is preparing to move to Norway’s south coast and join the the country’s industrial clean-up plan.

The Yara Birkeland, the so-called 80-meter (87 yards) feeder vessel, is set to replace trucking between Yara’s factory in Porsgrunn in southern Norway and its export port in Brevik, a few miles away. about 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) by road, starting next year.

It will cut 1,000 tons of carbon emissions per year, which equates to 40,000 diesel-powered road trips and is expected to be fully autonomous in two years.

For Yara, that means reducing CO2 emissions at the plant in Porsgrunn, one of Norway’s largest source of CO2, Svein CEO Tore Holsether said.

“We have now taken this technological leap to show that it is possible, and I think there are many routes in the world where the same type of train can be deployed,” he told Reuters. “.

Built by Vard Norway, Kongsberg provides key technology including the sensors and integrations needed for automated and remote operations.

“This is not replacing sailors, but replacing vans driver,” said Jostein Braaten of Yara, project manager for the ship, at the pier, which will be removed when the train runs in full automation.

The ship will load and unload cargo, refueling the battery and also navigate without human involvement.

Sensors will be able to quickly detect and understand objects like kayaks in the water so the ship can decide what action to take to avoid hitting anything, Braaten said.

The system should be an improvement over having a manual system, he added.

“We removed the human factor, which is also the cause of many of the accidents we see today,” says Braaten.

The ship will make two weekly trips to begin with, capable of transporting 120 containers of 20-foot fertilizer at a time.

It is powered by batteries supplied by Leclanche Switzerland, packing 7 megawatt hours in eight battery rooms, or 100 Tesla Braaten said.

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