Marine battery manufacturer AYK Energy is reinforcing its position as one of the sector’s prime innovators after signing a new deal with Holland Shipyards Group (HSG) to supply the zero-emission container vessel the FPS Waal.
AYK Energy founder Chris Kruger said the Andorra based company is increasing production at its factory in Zhuhai, China to supply the retrofit project at HSG's shipyard in Werkendam. He said the contract will see AYK supply two high density DNV approved Aries 88 lithium batteries to the vessel. He confirmed the 125 watt hour/kilogram (Wh/kg) batteries will be installed on Future Proof Shipping’s FPS Waal, which is the second inland container vessel in its fleet to be retrofitted, following the FPS Maas. The FPS Waal’s retrofit involves its diesel engine being replaced with a propulsion system consisting of PEM fuel cells, hydrogen storage, AYK’s battery packs and an electric drive train. Once complete the FPS Waal will be powered by green hydrogen with around 1,200kW of installed power and a cargo capacity of 200 TEU.
Mr Kruger said the project is the culmination of years of R & D work to refine what the company believes is ‘the safest, best value marine battery system in the world.’
“This is a landmark moment for AYK Energy and we are very pleased to secure the work with the talented teams at HSG and FPS who share our vision to decarbonise short sea shipping,” he said. “Working on the FPS Waal AYK can demonstrate the depth of our experience, the passion of our team and the quality of our manufacturing facilities. I founded AYK after working on some of the first ever marine battery projects on ground-breaking vessels such as Scandlines hybrid electric ferry, the Princess Benedikte and Norled’s fully electric ferry, Ampere."
“I saw, however, that costs had to come down to make battery technology attractive to the mass market. As a result, I set up AYK’s factory in China to be close to the manufacturing skills base and supply chain to find those savings. We have built relations with several battery cell manufacturers, so we are not reliant on single suppliers for critical components which massively derisks our operations and slashes lead times. Our factory is growing, and in the last year we have built and shipped 10MWh of batteries to Europe. From this position of strength we can scale up to satisfy demand. Our next move is to set up manufacturing centres in the US and Europe in 2024. If we can secure the right volume of orders, we estimate we can drive costs down significantly, kickstarting a significant uptick in electric powered vessels and other marine battery applications including port facilities and aquaculture.”
Thijs van der Schaaf HSG's FPS Waal project manager said:
“AYK's marine battery has significant technical and commercial advantages. We are happy to select them as the battery supplier of the Waal project.”
Mr Kruger said AYK will be supplying HSG with a system that is easy to install, built to exceed class requirements, with a higher density than many other batteries on the market. He said AYK has nine different battery types which can be used on a wide range of vessel types and applications from high power to high energy.
“For the FPS Waal we are working with HSG's engineering team on the entire integration of the battery system,” he said. “One of my big concerns with battery systems was the need for the shipyard or integrator to supply many of the required subsystems. With the AYK system, we’ve included as many support systems as possible, at no extra cost. This includes racking, in module fire-fighting, breakers, pre-charge, all cooling and exhaust fans, mass data storage, a large, touch screen display, and even an AC power distribution panel. Moreover, our battery is built around safety. We are one of the few manufacturers to exclusively use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and have developed a system where the LFP chemistry is safer, with greater energy density than Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC)."
Mr Kruger said NMC has been the most commonly used battery chemistry because of its supposed greater density, but its chemistry is known to be much more dangerous than LFP. He said AYK is now showing that LFP can outperform NMC and deliver greater energy density, higher safety and better value.
Holland Shipyards Group has proven to be a frontrunner in the electrification of vessels and has built a range of electric and hybrid ferries delivered in the last five years.