A sea trial of Corvus Energy’s new energy storage system (ESS), the Blue Whale ESS, has been declared a success following tests in October 2022 on board the Seaspan Reliant, a drop-trailer cargo ferry owned and operated by Seaspan Ferries Corporation (SFC).
The Corvus Blue Whale ESS was subjected to several sea trial requirements on October 15 and 16, 2022, conducted by SFC, Corvus Energy and system integrator Elkon. The trio claimed the trials as successful customer acceptance testing (CAT).
“SFC has an innate desire to minimize fleet emissions and has successfully integrated Corvus propulsion battery systems on board four SFC dual-fuel hybrid ferries. The new Corvus Blue Whale ESS is a natural addition to our fleet and is a remarkable product that is particularly well suited for the Reliant’s existing architecture,” said Harly Penner, general manager at SFC, which offers a commercial cargo ferry service between its four Canadian coastal terminals on Vancouver Island and British Columbia’s mainland.
The Blue Whale battery system will enable SFC to perform engine load optimizations without reducing vessel speed. This will result in improved efficiency during operations in addition to reducing the requirement for dual generator operations.
“During the sea trials, it was impressive to witness the advantages of this new technology by discharging the battery system to 3% capacity while still outputting peak power to propel the vessel,” commented Ahmed Khan, project manager at SFC. “We envision being able to operate on a single generator and using the battery system to maintain target speeds, which will reduce fuel costs and total engine hours. In addition, the 1.8MWh capacity of the Reliant’s new system affords new modes of operations, such as powering the vessel by battery power only during port cargo exchanges.”
The ESS has been designed for vessels that require a bigger energy capacity over time, such as cruise ships or merchant vessels covering thousands of nautical miles. The system is also suited to vessels that have more than 30 minutes to recharge between journeys. Furthermore, the solution has been developed to scale to multi-megawatt-hour energy capacity with extremely high volumetric battery room energy density. This density is made possible by self-supporting modules in rack-free stacks and integrated connections to enable battery rooms with narrow or no service aisles. The system stack height is also flexible, which means all of the available space within a battery room can be used for maximum energy capacity.
“Blue Whale is the result of an extensive, multi-million-dollar development effort by our Vancouver R&D team,” said Richard Wing, chief research and development officer at Corvus Energy. “It leverages what the company has learned over the past decade about maritime energy storage requirements and validates market requirements and acceptance. Moreover, the new architecture is modular and flexible to suit not only Blue Whale but also an ever-expanding range of maritime energy storage applications in the future.”
Wing continued, “The field trial is an important pre-commercial activity that validates that a wide variety of product features meet market needs. We are extremely grateful to the project personnel from SFC for their collaboration, insights and generous use of the vessel for this first deployment of the Blue Whale ESS.”