World’s first battery powered workboat suffers engine failure during testing

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The incident has created a delay for the ‘GMV-Zero’ project of Grovfjord Mekaniske Verksted (GMV).

“During testing, one electric motor failed. It was removed and sent to the supplier for a repair. At the time of writing, we are waiting for this to get it reinstalled and continue the tests,” General Manager Bard Meek-Hansen told SalmonBusiness in an email.

The failure occurred in mid-August, shortly after the Norwegian company started testing the workboat ‘Astrid Helene’, which runs on batteries only and does not have a diesel generator on board.

Reason unknown
Meek-Hansen doesn’t know the reason why the engine failed.

“This happened during testing. It’s too early to say for sure, so it would just be speculation from our side to say anything about the reason.”

“The electric engine is a central part of the workboat, what did you feel when it broke down so soon?”

“Things like this can happen during testing. We have no thoughts except that it’s a bit of a bore, and it’s delaying us. We want to get started on testing it with the customer.”

He says the company will continue the test as soon as the engine has been returned, and that apart from this one failure, things have so far gone smoothly.

“Testing until the incident occurred went well and strengthened us in the belief that this technology is the future.”

Want operational experience
Meek-Hansen writes that they expect to deliver the boat to Northern Lights Salmon at the end of October. The agreement is a lease agreement, and currently the only one in place.

“We have many who are interested in the boat, but we do not want to go into the market actively until we have operational experience.”

He strongly believes in zero-emission boats, and believes that the project fits well with the Norwegian Government’s commitment to technological development that makes it possible to reach the climate targets set.

“The development of new chemistry batteries, higher energy density and lower prices is moving fast, which will lead to lower funding costs and/or longer range on clean battery boats. We believe the interest in noise-neutral, zero-emission boats at competitive prices, compared to traditional diesel-mechanical boats, will go through the ceiling once we can demonstrate that they work as we expect. In addition, if the goal that Norway has set for a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 is to be reached, we have no choice if we want to save the globe,” concludes Meek-Hansen.