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YARA X Kongsberg To Launch World's First Autonomous Zero-Emissions Ship

Konsberg has teamed up with Norwegian chemical company YARA for the launch of the Yara Birkeland – the world’s first fully autonomous, zero-emissions ship. Named after YARA’s founder, the famous scientist and innovator Kristian Birkeland, the vessel will be 100 percent electric. the ship will begin operation in 2018, shipping products from Porsgrunn to Brevik and Larvik in Norway. Set to be a real game-changer for maritime transport, the vessel will reduce NOx and CO2 emissions by reducing diesel-powered truck haulage by around 40,000 journeys per year. The eco-initiative will help to meet the UN sustainability goals, as well as improving road safety and congestion.

Svein tore Holsether, president, and CEO of YARA explains the need for such an initiative, stating that ‘every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from YARA’s Pprsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world. Now, with this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we can move transport from road to sea. this reduces noise and dust emissions, improves the safety of local roads, not to mention reducing the negative impact on the environment.’

Although the voyages will initially be manned, the duo intends for the vessel to only need be operated remotely by 2019, transitioning to complete autonomy by 2020. Kongsberg is responsible for the development of the key enabling technologies on YARA Birkeland, including integrated sensors, communication and electrical systems that will allow the model to operate on its own when needed.

Geir Håøy, president, and CEO of Kongsberg elaborates that ‘developing systems for autonomous operations is a major opening and natural step for KONGSBERG, considering our decades of expertise in the development and integration of advanced sensors, control and communication systems for all areas of ship operations. YARA Birkeland will set the benchmark for the application of innovative maritime technology for more efficient and environmentally friendly shipping.’

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