This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Continuously growing demand for alternative maritime propulsion systems has prompted Becker Marine Systems to create a separate product division, to develop its Compact Battery Rack (COBRA) maritime battery system.
COBRA can be supplied as a separate system or combined with hybrid drives. “The name says it all,” says Godehard Gauf, director of Becker Marine Systems’ new Battery Systems division. “We want to offer a very compact battery system for the maritime market.”
COBRA is not only lighter and more compact than the offerings of conventional battery suppliers, it is also easy to install onboard. “We want to produce the smallest system possible on account of the normal lack of available space in machine rooms,” says Gauf.
In addition to functionality, weight and size, however, the challenges in developing a new battery system include issues such as safety, service life and price. The numerous enquiries coming in confirm that Becker Marine Systems is on the right path. Many tests with prototypes under full load have already been conducted at the company’s facilities, using its specially developed battery test stand.
In principle COBRA can be used on all ships, such as in offshore supply, for harbour and workboats or for passenger ships and car ferries. It may also be of interest for larger cargo ships, particularly for newbuilds over the long term. The focus is on hybrid or all-electric drives as well as compensation for load fluctuations. The market for this is growing strongly – and not just in countries like Norway where all-electric drives are subsidised.
Becker Marine Systems is also working on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) based power supply (‘cold ironing’) for ships at port. The Becker LNG PowerPac can be placed directly onboard ships. LNG can be cooled to minus 162 degrees, highly compressing it and making space-saving storage possible.
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