The tall ship that harnesses the wind to recharge its batteries
Next year, the Norwegian sail-training ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl will be able to cruise out of Bergen harbour without any greenhouse gas emissions, thanks to a hybrid power system from Rolls-Royce. Norway’s state-owned company Enova is providing over NOK 4 million in financial support for an innovative project to equip the historic square rigger with shipboard battery power, Rolls-Royce said in its press release.
Haakon Vatle, executive director of the Statsraad Lehmkuhl Foundation said: “The Statsraad Lehmkuhl has been relatively environmentally-friendly for over a century already. After all, for large parts of the year, wind power provides all the propulsion it needs. We are now going to make her next 100 years even more environmentally-friendly. We hope she will become a role model for other sailing ships and vessels of all types.”
Today, the vessel uses diesel generators to power shipboard systems, and for propulsion if necessary. Once installed, the battery will assist in both areas, thereby reducing the number of generators that need to be kept running. The battery system will also allow the power of the wind in the ship’s sails to be exploited.
According to Andreas Seth, Rolls-Royce, Senior Vice President – Electrical, Automation & Control, the ship’s propeller can also be used to generate electricity, rather like a wind turbine. He said: “The amount of electricity produced will vary with the speed of the ship, but with our system the energy can be stored in batteries for use as environmentally-friendly engine power, or for day-to-day shipboard operations such as heating and cooking.”
Enova, which works to facilitate Norway’s transition to a low-emissions society, is contributing just over NOK 4.2 million to the ship’s refit.
At the same time as the batteries are being installed, the ship is also being made ready to receive onshore power to recharge the batteries, ensuring environmentally-friendly stays in the ports the ship visits. This applies not least to its home port of Bergen, where the combination of batteries and onshore power will result in zero emissions. The vessel is currently in drydock in Bergen, where a special battery room is being built. Due to the ship’s busy sailing schedule, the project will not be finally completed until November at the earliest.