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First Zero-Emission, Autonomous Cargo Ship to Set Sail

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The Norweigian chemical company Yara Birkeland has developed what is claims to be the world’s first zero-emission, autonomous cargo ship, and it is slated to make its first journey between two Norweigian ports before the end of the year.

The Yara Birkeland, which was developed in partnership with technology company Kongsberg Maritime and shipbuilder Vard, is intended to reduce nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions, in addition to moving more freight from the roads to the sea. It can carry 103 containers and travel at a top speed of 13 knots, powered by a 7-MWh battery, which is about 1,000 times the capacity of an electric car battery. According to Jon Sletten, plant manager for Yara’s Porsgrunn, Norway, factory, the ship will replace 40,000 truck journeys per year.

The Yara Birkeland was supposed to be on the water in 2020, but the pandemic and other logistical challenges postponed its maiden journey. Now, Sletten hopes it will transport its first container between Herøya and Brevik before the end of the year. 

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