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Reducing the cost of large batteries for waterborne transport

Proposals can address either the battery cell or the battery system (racks, battery management system, fault detection and any integrated fire suppression) or both the cell and battery system.

All of the following aspects should be addressed:

  • With respect to waterborne transport, research and develop a large battery system and/or specific battery cells that are substantially cheaper on a total cost basis with respect to existing system.
  • Work should be applicable to battery systems of at least 1 MWh capacity.
  • Prove the technology and manufacturing processes through system trials and testing.
  • Address production process efficiency.
  • Address the requirements for type approval from relevant authorities including a comprehensive risk based safety assessment.
  • Development of a marine battery certification methodology with the objective of: validating and verifying safety (with consideration of air, liquid or passive cooling), including the standardisation of test methods and tools for certification cost reduction.
  • Considering of different vessel types, address the integration of battery systems into Energy/Power management system of vessel.
  • Undertake a cost benefit analysis to convincingly demonstrate the cost savings in comparison to current state of the art waterborne battery technology.
  • Assess end of life and disposal strategies.
  • Develop a convincing business case and consider potential financing models.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 8 and 12 million would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

Large battery packs are increasingly deployed to improve the efficiency and to eliminate emissions from waterborne transport. However waterborne transport batteries can be up to ten times more expensive than an automotive battery of equivalent capacity and their high cost is an important barrier to increasing the deployment of both hybrid and fully battery electric shipping. Unlike for other transport modes, the space, weight and consequently power density of waterborne transport batteries is usually of secondary importance within the systems total life cycle cost. Several factors contribute to the cost difference including production processes, safety certification, fire suppression, lower economies of scale and higher assembly costs. The challenge is to substantially reduce the cost of large waterborne transport battery systems and cells for both marine and inland waterway transport applications.

The principal impact should be to substantially reduce the lifetime cost of large waterborne battery systems and to enhance the competitiveness of European industry within the waterborne battery market. Cut greenhouse gas emissions from waterborne transport. Increase the European skills base in large battery technology and manufacturing processes. Support European jobs and growth. Increase confidence in waterborne battery technology investment. Speed up the transition of most short range freight and ferry services towards zero emission.