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Energy storage

On-board batteries are the way of the future Energy storage is part of TNO's broad approach to making energy systems on board ships more intelligent and efficient. In recent decades the amount of electric power generated on board ships has risen sharply, and networks are constantly expanding. Energy storage systems can be especially beneficial on board vessels with a widely fluctuating consumption profile.

All electrical energy must be generated locally when a ship is sailing. Sudden spikes in energy demand or unexpected generator failures may never leave a ship dead in the water. This is why ships always have one or more diesel generators that idle constantly. There are two distinct disadvantages to this scenario: first, a lot of extra fuel is consumed, and second, running under no-load conditions is bad for the generators. Batteries can provide instantaneous energy to bridge the start-up time needed to get back-up diesel generators on line, and they can even take the place of back-up generators if peak demand is brief enough.


Yacht owners want electric power without the diesel generator running (no noise, no exhaust). Some marinas require visiting yachts to be emissions-free. People prefer tourist boats on canals or in natural areas to sail silently and emissions-free. Electric propulsion is also preferable for ferries and barges operating close to houses on urban waterways.

Storage battery systems

Storage battery systems are the latest trend, particularly due to the recent availability of safe Li-ion batteries. Maritime users are particularly interested in advanced storage systems. Earlier, TNO conducted research on behalf of yacht builder Royal Huisman into the applicability and safety of battery systems for the super yacht Ethereal (see photo by Royal Huisman above). TNO is currently working with partners from science and industry on broad-based research into the use of battery systems on board ships. The research partners are: Imtech Marine & Offshore, Damen Shipyards, Moonen Shipyards, Vacon Benelux, Pon Power, the Institute for Science and Sustainable Development (IWO) and the Netherlands Defence Academy. The research will benefit the Dutch maritime manufacturing industry, which will be able to build significantly cleaner and more economical ships.


Ir. Berend Evenblij

  • Electrical power engineering; Power electronics; EM-fields and forces; Application of batteries; Electrical drives


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