A shift towards clean energy is a difficult but necessary task for the transport sector, which is responsible for a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. This creates a specific challenge for the waterborne transport field, where, according to prognosis, emissions will increase rapidly, thus hindering the goals of the Paris Agreement. The use of batteries can reverse this trend, but current technology makes them much too expensive. To solve the problem, the EU-funded Current Direct project proposes to develop and demonstrate an innovative lithium-ion cell engineered for waterborne transport. It is based on novel manufacturing techniques that will enable significant cost reduction and fast adoption of methods supporting reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The transport sector contributes to almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Compared to other sectors, such as agriculture or energy industries, it is the only sector with emissions higher than that of 1990. Waterborne transport emissions represent around 13% of the overall EU greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. Moreover, waterborne transport emissions could increase between 50% and 250% by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario, undermining the objectives of the Paris agreement. The challenge for a large-scale adoption and implementation of batteries for waterborne transport is mainly related to the high costs of the battery systems and cells.
The Current Direct project addresses these challenges by proposing an innovative lithium-ion cell optimized for waterborne transport, using novel manufacturing techniques allowing for a consistent cost reduction compared to the current market prices. Additionally, a swappable containerized energy storage system optimized for cost and operation in the waterborne transport industry will be developed.
The overarching aim of the Current Direct project is to develop and demonstrate an innovative interchangeable waterborne transport battery system and EaaS Platform in an operational environment at the Port of Rotterdam at TRL7 that facilitates fast charging of vessels, fleet optimization and novel business models. The Current Direct project is dedicated to (i) significantly reduce the total cost of waterborne transport batteries, (ii) cut GHG emissions of the marine transport sector through electrification of vessel fleets, (iii) increase the energy density of waterborne battery cells and (iv) trigger investments for innovation, job and knowledge creation in the European marine transport and battery sector.