A start-up based in New Orleans is developing a fleet of smaller, more efficient electric-powered ships to help decarbonize the shipping industry, which accounts for roughly 3% of global carbon emissions.
Fleetzero was founded by a group of US Merchant Marine Academy graduates with the goal of deploying a fleet of electric cargo ships that operate on a battery-swapping system.
My Climate Journey (MCJ), an investment fund that helps innovators of climate-scale solutions, has invested in the start-up, which also includes Y Combinator and Flexport as partners.
A 2 MWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack designed by Fleetzero can fit in a conventional 20-foot cargo container.
According to MCJ, the containerized battery prototype was created at the company’s Alabama factory.
Fleetzero is now pursuing regulatory certification for its battery pack design and plans to deploy its first electric vessel in mid-2023, carrying cargo for its pilot partners on its maiden voyage.
Fleetzero ships dock at ports along their voyage to their destination, dumping expended lithium batteries and replacing themselves with a fully charged complement of fresh ones, as indicated.
Batteries are shared across the fleet and stored and assembled in movable containers, allowing for shorter stays at port than if each ship were recharged while docked.
Battery swapping and sharing, in addition to shorter port stays, is reported to have the financial benefit of lower costs due to the need for fewer batteries per ship.
Access to more ports, fewer trucks on the road, tapping into regulated markets, paving the way for autonomous shipping, incorporating new technologies, and requiring less capital for growth are among the other advantages of electric cargo ships, according to the company.