Plans for an autonomous, purely electric container ship are making waves internationally as Norway positions itself as a global pioneer in alternative propulsion systems. The ‘Yara Birkeland’ will be the world’s first autonomous electric container ship, and will no doubt change freight transport at sea. It’s been commissioned by the Norwegian fertilizer manufacturer Yara International , which plans to commute with the freighter between ports and thus abandon use of diesel-powered trucks. According to Yara International, the electric ship should able to replace a total of 40,000 truck journeys a year. Though it’s not a particularly large cargo ship, 70 meters long and 14 meters wide with 120 containers on board, the difference is there won’t be any people on board, which allows for more of the space to be utilized for shipping cargo. The ship will be delivered in 2020 and plans are for it to be fully autonomous and operational by 2022. The software and engineering is to be provided by The Kongsberg Group , a major provider of military technology and autonomous control systems, and the Romanian Vard shipyard will build the freighter itself. The batteries will hold seven and a half to nine megawatt hours […]


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