Yara Birkeland, the world’s first all-electric autonomous container ship has completed its maiden voyage in Norway.
The emissions-free vessel traveled for about 8.7 miles (14 km) from Porsgrunn to the port of Brevik.
As a major fertiliser producer, Yara carries out up to 40,000 truck trips a year to transport its products to the port of Brevik.
The container ship will replace these road trips starting next year, a move which is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 1,000 tons annually.
The self-navigating technology will be tested over a two-year period with crew onboard, after which the ship will be certified as fully autonomous.
Designed to carry 103 containers on a single trip, Birkeland is powered by a 7MWh battery and can travel with a top speed of 15 knots.
Financial support for building the first of its kind container ship came from Enova who provided a grant of 133 million Norwegian Krone (c.£11m).
Technological inputs such as sensors that can detect objects like kayaks in the water and integrations for autonomous operations were provided by Kongsberg.
It is hoped that in the future the ship will be able to load and offload its cargo, charge its battery, and navigate without any human involvement.
Apart from cleaning up its transportation emissions, Yara, one of the largest emitters of carbon in Norway, is also planning to produce green ammonia.
Image credit: Yara
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