Clean Coastlines and Silent Ships - IDTechEx Explores the Electrification of Boats and Ships
The electrification of boats and ships has the potential to reshape communities around busy ports. Hybrid and electric ships have the potential to drastically improve air quality and reduce noise pollution while offering other key benefits to cities. Ships now have the potential to become a welcomed part of communities and a friend to the environment.
Cleaner seaside air
The wonderful qualities of seaside air could be restored with the implementation of hybrid and completely electric ships. Famous ports with idyllic scenery, such as Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Portsmouth, currently suffer from poor air quality as a result of the masses of boats docking and sailing every day, with each boat emitting pollutants at a rate equivalent to thousands of cars in their greenhouse gas and particulate emissions. Unlike cars, ships do not have as stringent restrictions on the air cleaning technologies they are required to carry.
The installation of batteries has made it possible to dramatically help improve air quality around ports such as these. If engines could be turned off a few miles out and replaced with battery-powered energy for ships to be docked, people could feel better about breathing in the fresh, salty air.
With this possibility on the horizon, there would be little need for ships to run engines while stationary in port, as their electric battery power allows the air to take a break from gas fumes. As the majority of goods people consume are transported by sea at some stage in their journey, this development of ships will play a vital role in the welfare of communities.
Noise and vibration are two other products of running large engines and could be a source of great annoyance and resentment for people living in and traveling around large port towns. With electric ships, there would be next to no noise while the vehicle is moving around the port or docked, creating a much more pleasant environment for everyone nearby. The use of battery power to move ships nearer land also offers huge reductions in harmful gases, which is much more beneficial to the environment.
Relaxation on the water
For those on electric leisure boats, it will be easier to enjoy their relaxation. Yachts and smaller boats could see less maintenance and improved performance when fitted with batteries, perfect for people looking to take a well-deserved break. People taking shorter trips for enjoyment won't have the guilt of excess gases being released into the environment, meaning joyrides can be more sustainable.
Hybrid and electric cruise ships are also on the horizon, with opportunities to charge up each day they stop. This technology allows the coastal islands and cities that play host to these large ships to benefit from clearer air and more sustainable tourism.
Electric ships could also be beneficial to communities by acting as microgrids for local power operations. Their large batteries and electrical capabilities will be able to take excess power and provide power when needed to help balance out power demands on the local grid. While doing so, they can also power up their large batteries, ready for their next journey.
Hybrid and electric vessels can offer greater speed and more efficiency while benefitting port towns and cities with cleaner air and reduced noise pollution. Leisure boats could see increased performance and responsiveness, and with less maintenance required on all-electric ships, they could be seen to become much more reliable.