Sea Forrest Power Solutions Pte Ltd (SFP) in August signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Singapore bunker supplier Victory Petroleum Trading Pte Ltd (VPT) for the electrification of the latter’s bunkering fleet.
Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times took the occasion to ask George Lee, CEO of SFP, on the details of this operation through an interview.
MT: How will SFP convert VPT’s existing bunker fleet to use hybrid electric propulsion?
GL: SFP will be retrofitting its customer’s existing bunker vessel with its hybrid propulsion system. This design allows for step change, which is something SFP advocates. This design is capable of easy conversion to full electrification capabilities and employs a smart charging algorithm to maximize charging and protection for the battery. Operating data is also constantly collected and scrutinised.
MT: Any deadlines for the commissioning of the first vessel?
GL: The plan is to reach completion by Q2 2022 but is subject to the arrival of shipment from the supplier.
MT: Regarding the design and supply of energy storage systems for VPT’s bunker tankers, what is being proposed?
GL: The energy storage system used will be the lithium ion battery, which utilises the LFP chemistry. With the use of LFP, there are many safety advantages. Firstly, the battery is able to remain cool in higher temperatures and is incombustible when there are short circuit issues. Secondly, it is nontoxic and can be easily disposed of.
MT: What is the difference between an ESS system designed for coastal usage, and other scenarios (i.e. cruise vessels)?
GL: There are no differences between the ESS system of coastal vessels and other vessels – the systems designed are the same. The only difference would be the availability of space onboard as well as the amount of energy the vessel requires. The batteries are typically sized based on the operating profile of the vessel. Sea Forrest would then take this into consideration and design a system to meet the vessel owner’s requirements.
MT: How long will it take to charge up the ESS of a bunker tanker from a land-based infrastructure? What are the factors involved?
GL: It very much depends on the vessel’s operating profile and availability of charging points. We size the ESS based on the vessel’s usage of energy. We will compare the vessel’s profile with our data collected from past projects and improve on the energy management efficiency. In certain instances, the vessel would have to make minor “habit” changes to maximize the efficiency of the FER system. Charging infrastructure must also be capable of fast charging and even megawatt charging for certain vessels.
MT: How long will it take for a bunker tanker to charge up a coastal vessel? What are the factors involved?
GL: It is dependent on the energy required by the vessel when in operation. Be it shore to ship or ship to ship charging, the rate of charge is affected by the C-rate of battery used. Charging and discharging rate differs for different batteries as well. The charging infrastructure must also be capable of fast charging and even megawatt charging for the size of the vessel.
MT: What are the challenges SFP foresee in this market and how will the company commercially weather them until mass adoption of electrification technologies by the 1,600-strong local harbourcraft fleet?
GL: The major challenge is due to the cost of electrification. Due to the lack of research and development of electrification for the marine industry over the last decade, it is far behind the EVs. The research and development, standardisation of electrification solutions needs to be put on steroids if we want to catch up with the decarbonisation targets.
Sea Forrest has a strong passion for marine decarbonisation, that was how we participated in Singapore’s first hybrid-powered vessel as the principal system integrator. This opportunity has helped our business and we are now working on many enquiries. With the successful award to decarbonise Victory Petroleum Bunker Tanker fleet, we hope to encourage owners to take the first step into decarbonisation and environmental security for our future generations.
Photo credit: Sea Forrest Power Solutions
Published: 19 November, 2021
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