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RESEARCH PROJECT AIMS TO CUT COST OF BATTERY POWER

Monday, January 4, 2021 

Current Direct is a new research and innovation project funded by the European Commissionís Horizon 2020 programme, which aims to change the way goods and people are moved by water by cutting the cost of todayís marine battery electric drivetrains in half and relieving ship owners of the burden of capital expense.

The scheme says it will enable rapid adoption of the technology to reduce greenhouse emissions by 482.000t/year of CO2 equivalents. Current Direct’s Energy as a Service platform will enable ship owners to accelerate participation in the shift to clean energy while creating new business opportunities for shipyards and local entrepreneurs. By changing the model for acquiring and storing energy aboard vessels, Current Direct says it will create a new energy economy, adding thousands of jobs. Current Direct provides a vehicle for energy companies, institutional investors, and government stakeholders to participate in the green transformation of Europe’s merchant and passenger fleet.

Current Direct brings together 13 partners from across Europe’s marine electrification value chain. The project is led by Spear Power Systems, makers of lightweight, flexible marine batteries certified to international safety standards. Blackstone Technology is lowering the cost of manufacturing 3D printed lithium-ion cells using active materials from Umicore. The University of Hasselt will use its electrochemical expertise to develop physics-based models of the Current Direct cells that will help optimise the life and return on investment of battery systems deployed across Europe as part of the Current Direct Energy as a Service platform developed by the accomplished engineers and data scientists at Rhoé Urban Technologies and Aviloo. Naval architecture and marine engineering company Foreship will lend its expertise to EDP CNET’s in depth knowledge of electrical markets to ensure the Current Direct platform targets optimal vessels and locations maximising reductions in emissions. VUB’s material science experts are creating low-cost composites to improve the safety of battery packs that are designed for recyclability and feature VITO’s smart cell monitoring electronics. Wärtsilä will develop modular battery containers and charging infrastructure that will be certified by Lloyd’s Register. The project will culminate in a demonstration of the Current Direct battery, shore charging, and asset management platform by Kotug in Rotterdam.

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