The Chinese shipbuilder Cosco has launched an electric container ship with a length of 120 meters. The cargo ship is said to be the largest of its kind. It can be up to Transport 700 containers.

Shipping continues to be responsible for a large proportion of emissions in the transport sector. One reason for this is that electrifying large ships is often unprofitable. With each additional battery, the weight increases, so the range remains limited.

Nevertheless, some companies are not giving up on the venture. This is also due to the ambitious climate goals that many nations have set themselves. The Chinese shipbuilder Cosco has now put an electric container ship into operation for the first time. It is intended to show the practical suitability of the technology.

Electric container ship transports up to 700 containers

In everyday life, the ship with the serial number N997 now transports up to 700 standard containers over a 1,000 kilometer route. Since it has a draft of just 5.5 meters, it can be used in coastal areas as well as on rivers. Cosco is therefore initially using the model on the Yangtze River.

The ship currently weighs around 10,000 tons. The capacity of the batteries on board is around 50 megawatt hours and the motors drive N997 with an output of 900 kilowatts. By using batteries, the company wants to avoid up to 32 tons of CO2 every day.

Battery change in port

The advantage of the electric container ship lies in its structure. Because the batteries are housed in 36 containers. This allows empty batteries to be easily discharged and newly charged batteries to be charged. Stays at ports are significantly shortened. However, the ship also loses five percent of its capacity.

Another ship (N998) is already under construction. By testing battery technology, the decarbonization of shipping could gain momentum. Nevertheless, there is still potential for improvement before a regular container ship is put into operation. A classic freighter has a capacity of up to 20,000 containers.

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