Finland developing inductive power for ships

Finnish company Wärtsilä is developing inductive technology to power electric ships.

Until recently, the possibility of running ships on inductive power hasn’t been possible due to the safety risks associated with water and electricity.

During the past four years, Finnish company Wärtsilä Marine Solutions has developed the technology to charge ship batteries without connecting cables.

Wärtsilä’s chief expert of electrical and automation Ingve Sørfonn said the development of wireless inductive charging technology has been used to charge cars, buses and trains and is ready to be implemented on ships.

“The system eliminates physical cable connections, thus reducing wear and tear caused by seawater, snow and ice, and enables charging to begin immediately when the vessel arrives in port,” Mr Sørfonn said.

The inductive power system can transfer 1 MW of power within a range of 15-50cm, which is 300 times more than that of current charges used by electric cars.

“Renewable energy, battery solutions and performance are improving and getting cheaper all the time,” he said.

“There is no reason not to implement them in coastal shipping.”

Mr Sørfonn said the system could lead to autonomous coastal transportation systems, not dissimilar to Google’s self-driving cars.

The wireless inductive charging system is still in development, but is expected to be implemented fully by Wärtsilä in the first half of 2017.