Singapore acquires first fully-electric cargo vessel

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YGT, Goal Zero, SeaTech launch Hydromover

The Goal Zero Consortium, including corporations like SeaTech Solutions International (SeaTech), Shift Clean Energy, and Yinson GreenTech, has introduced the Hydromover, Singapore’s first all-electric cargo ship.

The lightweight, 18.5-metre Hydromover is Singapore’s first fully-electric cargo vessel. The vessel is designed with swappable battery solutions and can carry up to 25 tonnes of cargo.

The ship generates zero emissions and can potentially reduce operational costs by up to 50 per cent compared to conventional vessels due to improved energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs.

The vessel was Goal Zero’s submission and one of the proposals under the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) joint Call-for-Proposals for the electrification of harbour craft to be awarded R&D grants from both the MPA Maritime Innovation and Technology (MINT) Fund and SMI Fund in August 2021.

The Hydromover is reportedly the first project to be ready for commercial trials.

READ: MPA Singapore urges electric harbour craft adoption

YGT spearheaded Hydromover’s programme management, system solutions, and commercialisation, while its Goal Zero partners were involved in other parts of its development.

Seatech spearheaded the vessel design; Shift Clean Energy was the battery technology partner; RINA Hong Kong Limited Singapore Branch was the classification society while Lita Ocean was the builder of the Hydromover.

During the ceremony, YGT acknowledged five potential partners who have provided letters of intent (LoI) to charter the Hydromover for operational trials, with the view to electrify their fleets in the future.

These are two Goal Zero partners, Lita Ocean and DM Sea Logistics, as well as OPL Services, RW Marine Services and Tian San Shipping. The five parties’ combined fleet stands at over 150 vessels, marking significant potential for future conversion to electric vessels.

RINA also handed over the Certificate of Classification to YGT during the event, signifying the Hydromover’s admission to class survey and compliance with RINA Rules for battery-powered vessels.

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The vessel has passed an extensive risk assessment relating to battery operation and swapping, ensuring compliance with the most stringent international safety standards in the maritime industry.

The Hydromover will serve as a ‘living lab’ for YGT and Goal Zero’s R&D partners including the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS), which are working on a holistic digital twin of the vessel.

This will reportedly facilitate research on the combined effects of variables such as vessel hydrodynamics, propulsion, motor dynamics and battery performance, allowing ship designers and operators to enhance operational efficiency and safety.

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YGT Chief Executive Officer, Eirik Barclay, said: “Being the first to launch a fully electric lighter craft in Singapore marks a transformative moment for YGT.

“We are excited to have already received expressions of interest from across the region including Indonesia, where YGT has begun talks with interested parties to deploy the vessel for backwater transportation of goods and electrification of local fishing vessels.

“We are confident of reaping significant advantages from being an early mover in the race to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and we are pleased to already be in talks with supportive financing partners such as UOB and potential equity partners,” Barclay added.

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SeaTech, Vice President Technology, Prabjot Chopra, said: “We are proud to lead the Goal Zero Consortium and design this pioneering electric lighter craft.

“This marks a pivotal moment in Singapore’s journey towards the electrification of harbour craft.

“We celebrate with YGT this significant achievement and foresee the Hydromover to be a catalyst in Singapore’s pursuit of a greener harbour. We wish the Hydromover fair winds and following seas on its voyages ahead,” Chopra.

This month, A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) and Chinese developer Goldwind marked the first large-scale green methanol offtake agreement for the global shipping industry.

In the same week, UK Power Networks and Net Zero Marine Services (NZMS) joined forces to enable electric boats on the River Thames to connect for charging, leading to reduced emissions.

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