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Aluminium-air battery tech by Phoenician Energy selected for Yara Marine accelerator

15 Jan 2021

Scrubber manufacturer Yara Marine on Thursday (14 January) said it has chosen Phoenician Energy, an aluminum-air battery licensing company, as the winner for its Yara Marine X startup accelerator program held earlier this year to tap into the frontiers of green marine technologies. 

“Phoenician Energy’s use of aluminum-air battery technology for the maritime industry, triggered our scientists’ curiosity. Their container battery is especially interesting,” said Thomas Koniordos, CEO of Yara Marine Technologies.

“The concept taps into several recent trends and developments, such as circular economy and electrification of marine vessels. We believe this technology may have an important role to play in a greener maritime industry for future generations.”

With upcoming global IMO 2030 and 2050 targets, the EU taking shipping into ETS and the UK including shipping into its net-zero target, the maritime industry is pushing for significant reductions in GHG emissions.

In addition, several ports are introducing restrictions on local emissions. The amount of all these regulations, and several other trends, move towards the electrification of the maritime sector.

Phoenician Energy licenses aluminum-air battery technology and adapts it to marine applications. The company has developed a 4,8 MWh system enclosed in a 20-foot shipping container, said Yara.

“Al–air batteries have one of the highest energy densities of all batteries, with more than four times the capacity of the conventional lithium-ion battery. Higher density means that longer ranges can be achieved, and a smaller footprint means more space for revenue producing cargo,” said Udi Erell, Founder and President at Phoenician Energy.

“In addition, we do not recharge our system onboard, instead we replace it with a fully charged one, eliminating downtime that would be required for recharging conventional batteries. The consumed battery is then reequipped with new aluminum and it is ready to go another turn.

“Furthermore, Aluminum-air batteries do not lose capacity when not in use nor do they degrade over time. They are also inherently safe, with no danger of temperature runaway.” 

“Charging an Al-air battery actually happens at an aluminum production plant. You may say that the battery consumes aluminum, the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust,” added Jesper Hellström, Yara Marine’s Head of Research and Development.

“Furthermore, the alumina generated from the aluminum in the battery, as it depletes, is a valued commodity. The alumina can be recycled back to aluminum at the aluminum plant, but it also has uses in other industries. Together with Yara Marine Technologies, Phoenician Energy will move into its next phase.”

In less than a month, Phoenician Energy will be the first start-up to enter the Yara Marine X’ six-month program, after which Yara Marine Technologies may choose to invest in the company and its technology.

Related: Yara Marine and Norwegian Cruise Line mark eight years of scrubber collaboration
Related: Yara Marine introduces training programs to achieve optimal scrubber performance

Photo credit: Yara Marine
Published: 15 January, 2021

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