Development in batteries

By Keith Henderson at June 08, 2010 09:31
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At last month’s International Tug & Salvage Conference, Corvus Energy Ltd presented a paper on a new battery type – Nickel Manganese Cobalt , NMC for short, that is particularly good for propulsion applications. It uses safe chemistry that is stable and reliable. is sealed and is compact. It can deliver a high power until fully discharge, doesn't’t deteriorate if left uncharged and hardly looses its charge over time. What does this mean for the marine industry? One example was the announcement at the Conference of an all electric tug boat, so far it is only for training purposes but heralds the beginning of a new era of electric driven vessels whether pure electric drive or hybrid diesel electric.
At last month’s International Tug & Salvage Conference held in Vancouver, there was a very interesting presentation from the Canadian providers of (electrical) battery systems - Corvus Energy Ltd. For close on fifty years they have specialized in lithium ion technology to provide power solutions for a variety of applications of which marine is an important part.

Most of us are familiar with the lithium ion, actually lithium iron phosphate batteries as used in our laptops and cell phones which is a mega improvement over older battery types such as lead acid and nickel cadmium. What is so interesting is a new battery type – Nickel Manganese Cobalt , NMC for short, that is particularly good for propulsion applications. Partly developed for the auto-industry, this new battery seems to have only attributes without any disadvantages, except price of course!

Firstly NMC uses safe chemistry that is stable and reliable. It’s sealed and is compact, can deliver a high power until fully discharge, doesn't’t deteriorate if left uncharged and hardly looses its charge over time. In comparison to the lead acid battery, the NMC has an energy density 163 Wh/kg, against only 20Wh/kg for the lead acid type. The cycle life is 3,000 plus for NMC and only 200 for lead acid and the power per volume is 320 Wh/liter against only 75 WH/liter for lead acid. Last but not least the charge efficiency is 99 per cent for NMC, with only 60 per cent for lead acid,

What does this mean for the marine industry? One example was the announcement at the Conference of an all electric tug boat, so far it is only for training purposes but heralds the beginning of a new era of electric driven vessels whether pure electric drive or hybrid diesel electric.

Concerning the matter of cost, Corvus argue that, for example, in a marine propulsion application, the higher cost of NMC batteries can be paid off in a period of around two years when the saving in hydrocarbon fuel is put against the cost of electrical power supplied from an onshore power station.

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