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Maersk to test a containerised battery system to improve on board performance

I for one, am quite pleased with the many initiatives that the shipping and freight industry has been taking to combat climate change and reduce CO2 emissions..

Implementing IMO 2020 sulphur cap, testing the usage of bio-fuels to run ships, using scrubbers, avoiding north sea route, changing ships technology to use less fuel, etc etc etc.. While what is being done is commendable, there is still a LOT left to do in order to reach the goals set..

For its part, Maersk has announced that it will pilot a battery system to improve power production on board ships..

maersk battery system

As part of this trial, a 600 kWh marine battery system will be installed in a shipping container which will be placed on board the Maersk Cape Town aimed at testing how this system can improve vessel performance and reliability while reducing CO2 emissions..

The Maersk Cape Town is a 249 meter long container ship built in 2011 flying the Singapore flag and currently operating between West and East Asia..

The containerized battery energy storage system has been manufactured in Odense, Denmark by the system integrator and turnkey supplier Trident Maritime Systems and is expected to be transported to Singapore and installed on board the Maersk Cape Town..

Battery modules will be operating within the container in conjunction with other electrical and control components.. Maersk has also worked in close collaboration with the American Bureau of Shipping – the vessel’s classification society – to ensure safety and compliance..

The trial is expected to commence in December 2019 and the first full voyage with the new battery system will take place in 2020..

The Maersk Cape Town ship includes a waste heat recovery system, which is a special feature on many of Maersk’s container vessels.. The heat recovery system increases overall efficiency because it allows the batteries to charge by capturing electrical energy from heat that would otherwise have been lost out of the exhaust gas system for the main propulsion.

As per Ole Graa, Maersk Head of Fleet Technology, “This exciting pilot – the first of its kind in the industry – will show the potential of battery technologies to keep improving the performance of our vessels while also reducing fuel consumption in our non-propulsion electrical systems.”..

This trial will provide a greater understanding of energy storage that will support Maersk in moving towards further electrification of its fleet and port terminals. Maersk will continue to facilitate, test, and develop low-carbon solutions on our journey to become carbon neutral by 2050,” said Søren Toft, Maersk COO..

Battery Container Tomorrow

While propelling marine vessels with battery power alone is still years away from being a technically and economically viable option, marine battery systems can already be used to improve the efficiency of a vessel’s onboard electrical systems such as the ship’s generators..

As per Maersk, by maintaining the vessel’s auxiliary generators at a more optimal load, and avoiding running generators when not needed, overall fuel consumption can be reduced..

This battery system is said to support the generators with up to 1,800 kVA of power during rapid changes in electrical load such as thruster operation.. This can reduce generator maintenance requirements..

The battery system is also capable of providing redundant power, which can improve reliability at sea by ensuring continuous power supply..

Once again, the simple freight container is showing its worth in many many areas lending credence to human ingenuity..


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  1. Yet another step towards reducing carbon emissions. Ideally this should lead to battery eliminating the auxiliary engine for generation of non-propulsion power, eventually progressing to battery operated ships.


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