Each year, 40,000 diesel-fuelled lorries pass through the gates of Yara’s fertiliser manufacturing plant in Porsgrunn, Norway. But not for long.
In a few years time, all these loads will be transferred to an autonomous ship: A battery driven container vessel, the Yara Birkeland. This is good news for all those concerned about local noise and air pollution, but the real benefit will be seen when such vessels are being mass-produced and making a global contribution to reducing the effects of climate change.
Unmanned vessels can be built entirely differently from current ships, and can be integrated into new transport systems that will be safer, more energy-efficient, and less expensive than today’s. Different kinds of autonomous ships will make an important contribution towards the development of future emissions-free transport systems. Electrically-propelled and totally silent, they will exploit to a much greater extent the potential of our seaways as transport arteries, and will remove noise and particle pollution from our roads.