Houlder is part of a pioneering consortium which has gained funding from MarRI-UK’s Clean Maritime Call to assess the feasibility of using innovative flow batteries in vessels to enable zero-emission marine propulsion and auxiliary power.

Houlder is collaborating with Lloyd’s Register, Swanbarton and Marine South East to investigate how the design of electric and hybrid ships, from ferries to wind farm vessels, can be optimised to accommodate flow batteries. The coalition will also assess the advantages this technology offers in comparison with existing lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel-cells.

Flow batteries have the potential to offer much faster charging in port, coupled with cost-effective, high-capacity storage, however they have not yet been configured for marine applications. Utilising its independent consultative approach and expertise within ship design and engineering, particularly in the clean technology sector, Houlder will be analysing the vessel types and operating situations most suitable for flow batteries. An outline vessel design to validate the advantages offered by this battery type will also be developed.

David Wing, Director Ship Design & Engineering at Houlder commented: “We are pleased to be working collaboratively on this study to expand our track record of helping ship operators reduce their emissions through innovation and new technologies. Flow batteries offer an exciting opportunity to increase the electrification of shipping into a wider range of operations and we look forward to using our practical ship design experience to develop marine flow batteries through feasibility and testing into a commercially viable operational system. We see clean technology as essential to enable a zero-emissions future and analysing different solutions will enable the industry and the different sectors to make informed choices as soon as possible. Independent research is critical to finding the right pathway for the future sustainability of shipping.”

The project is expected to run for the next six months, providing insight into how flow batteries could suit domestic passenger vessels or shore-power port systems. It will be instrumental in enabling the UK to achieve The Clean Maritime Plan’s goal of zero emission vessels operating in UK waters.

For more information on the Clean Maritime Call, please click here.

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