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Saft to supply Li-ion batteries for RRS Sir David Attenborough polar vessel

Saft will supply two Seanergy lithium-ion battery systems to Rolls-Royce Marine for integration in the hybrid propulsion system for polar research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough.

The new vessel is being commissioned by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for operation by the British Antarctic Survey. Rolls-Royce Marine has designed and will equip the RRS Sir David Attenborough. It is being built at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, to which Saft will deliver the two battery systems in December 2017.

A Rolls-Royce diesel-electric propulsion system will be powered by new Bergen B33:45 engines that will operate in combination with two Saft patent-pending Li-ion Super-Phosphate high-power batteries.

Integrated into the vessel’s control and automation system, the batteries will provide a combined 1,450kWh capacity with a maximum voltage of 1,011V. They will help deliver the peak power required by the vessel, such as when operating in a dynamic positioning mode, and have been sized to enable the vessel to be self-sufficient in fuel during voyages of up to 19,000 nautical miles.

The Li-ion batteries will also help push the vessel through ice up to 1m thick, while towing equipment over the side. It will do so with extremely low underwater radiated noise, avoiding disturbing marine mammals and fish shoals or interference with survey equipment.

Helge Gjerde, offshore and merchant solutions president, Rolls-Royce Marine, said, “Our brief is to ensure that the RRS Sir David Attenborough is the very best-equipped ship of its type. There can be no compromise on any aspect of the vessel’s systems. That’s why we have selected Saft Li-ion battery technology as its proven safety, performance and reliability is the perfect complement to our hybrid propulsion systems.”

When the 128m-long ship enters service in 2019 it will carry out oceanographic and other scientific work in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as transporting supplies to Antarctic research stations. - May 2017

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