Better batteries for green, economical waterborne transport

Current Direct is a new research and innovation project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program that will revolutionize the way we move goods and people by water with the use of swappable containerized batteries connected to an Energy as a Service Platform.

Waterborne transport emissions represent about 13% of the overall European greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector, with the potential to increase between 50% and 250% by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario, undermining the objectives of the Paris Agreement. In line with the Paris Agreement goals, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in 2018, stipulated a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission strategy aiming to reduce GHG emissions from the waterborne transport sector by at least 50% by 2050. Given such ambitious goals alongside new and emerging zero-emissions energy technologies, reinvigorating the sector with actionable and affordable approaches is a necessity.

Current Direct addresses EU challenges by developing and demonstrating an innovative, interchangeable waterborne transport battery system and an Energy as a Service (EaaS) Platform in an operational environment in the Port of Rotterdam. Current Direct will consider its integration across the range of different vessel types used in the coastal and inland waterway transport industry, including short to medium range freight and ferry services. The system being developed will allow Current Direct to reach the following objectives:

  • Significantly reduce the total lifetime cost of waterborne transport batteries by 50% through novel materials, manufacturing processes and optimized components.
  • Cut GHG emissions of the marine transport sector through electrification of existing and future vessel fleets.
  • Increase the installed energy of containerized energy storage systems by 300% compared to currently available systems.
  • Trigger investments for innovation, employment, and knowledge creation in the European marine transport and battery energy storage sectors
More information about the project can be found at the project website.