Cutting-edge battery system to be tested by Seaspan in B.C. waters


A new Canadian-made battery system that's 50% more energy-dense than other batteries, and powerful enough to power ferries and cargo ships, will be tested in B.C. waters.

Seaspan Ferries, a commercial ferry service between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, will test run the technology.

The system -- called "Blue Whale" -- reduces engine noise and vibration which will benefit marine life, and is designed to help address climate change.

Kendra MacDonald, CEO of Canada's Ocean Supercluster based in Newfoundland, says the massive energy storage capacity will allow longer durations of zero-emission operation in the marine environment:

" And it's really looking at a sort of bigger battery and battery storage, and testing it on bigger boats, and really being able to look at greenhouse gas emissions, and the reduction with that, looking at the power on the grid and the impacts of that, and really testing it on the larger vehicles. So we're pretty excited about it."

The battery system will be installed on the Seaspan cargo ferry "Reliant," a roll-on/roll-off drop-trailer cargo ferry built in 2016.

The project will create 23 jobs initially, and has the potential to create another 115 over its lifetime.

The field trial is expected to wrap by spring next year, at which time it's hoped the system can be brought to market.

" I think we're all on a journey towards cleaner and greener, so this is a perfect example of that journey. And certainly when you look at shipping and the international guidance, there is a push to be able to get to significant reductions in emissions. And so this is a great step on that journey."

Canada's Ocean Supercluster is providing $2-Million for the project with $2.15-Million coming from industry partners: Seaspan Ferries, VARD Marine, BC Hydro, and UBC.


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