Lithium battery-powered ships tackle pollution on West Coast (CBC News BC – November 11, 2015)

Corvus Energy CEO says large cargo ships are some of the worst polluters in the world

A Vancouver-based business that works to reduce pollution produced by the shipping industry around the world is bringing the benefits back to Canada. But is that enough to get the industry to use clean energy?

“We’re very pleased to have our product deployed locally for the first time,” said Andrew Morden, the CEO of Corvus Energy, which produces full and hybrid lithium ion battery systems that power large and small vessels.

“We’ve done the same thing [for ships] that Tesla’s done for cars,” said Morden.

The company’s batteries are currently being used in 35 ships across Northern Europe, and it recently received a $1 million investment from Statoil, Norway’s largest offshore oil company.

Soon, the batteries will also be used in vessels on Canada’s West Coast. SeaSpan has signed off for two hybrid cargo ferries, and Morden said BC Ferries is also considering using the technology.

Morden said one of the company’s hybrid systems results in a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

That’s particularly encouraging, he says, given that most large vessels are powered by diesel fuel, which produces more fine particulate matter than gasoline.

“In the shipping industry there’s certainly been a focus on reducing emissions, because on a global scale it really does matter,” said Morden.

More incentives needed for change

Robert L. Evans, author of Fueling Our Future: an Introduction to Sustainable Energy, agrees that lithium batteries are a much cleaner energy source.

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