Whitepaper illuminates key role of bi-directional charging

UK-based Aqua superPower has released an important whitepaper shedding light on the immense potential of Vessel-to-Everything (V2X) technology for the maritime industry. The landmark report rounds off the Virtual Bunkering of Electric Vessels (VBEV) project, which was funded by the UK Government to assess the financial, technical and operational feasibility of bi-directional charging infrastructure in the maritime sector.

V2X is the overarching term for using bi-directional charging technology to transfer the energy stored by electric vessel batteries to the grid, buildings or load. With a sharp focus on the value of V2X technology for electric vessels, the VBEV project seeks to drive the sector’s decarbonisation and foster the development of a robust marine V2X ecosystem, enabling widespread adoption.
Battery electric vessels have been identified as a cornerstone in the UK Government’s Clean Maritime Plan, particularly for short to medium range vessels like ferries, workboats and recreational boats. Furthermore, these batteries can also be seamlessly integrated with alternative fuels to create hybrid systems for vessels with longer range requirements.
Upgrades at marinas, harbours and ports are anticipated to include charging infrastructure and shore power, dramatically increasing power demand and grid capacity, and reshaping dynamic between the energy and maritime sectors. As the adoption of battery electric vessels surges, substantial investments in enabling infrastructure at both system and site levels are indispensable.
The paper, titled ‘The Opportunity for Bi-directional Charging in the Maritime Sector’, offers crucial insights into the cross-sector maritime V2X possibilities, including:
• Enhancing energy flexibility and energy arbitrage services to support the power grid, thus promoting renewable energy generation, grid resilience and energy security.
• Seamlessly integrating battery electric vessels into marina energy management, optimising onsite renewables, managing grid constraints and reducing energy costs.
• Revolutionising the financial model for electric vessels by generating consistent revenue from V2X services, ultimately reducing the lifetime costs of vessel ownership.
• Capitalising on the projected growth of battery electric vehicles, advancements in V2X technologies, escalating demand for renewables and the maturation of energy markets to drive the maritime sector towards net-zero emissions and economic opportunities.
The paper aims to underscore the pivotal role V2X can play in the maritime sector and the wealth of opportunities it presents. It also outlines the key steps necessary to make marine V2X a reality, emphasising the critical need for universal communication standards among OEMs, utilities and charging companies to accelerate adoption.

In conjunction with the paper, Cenex (UK Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies) has also published a report titled ‘Vessel-to-Grid: An Analysis of Revenue Streams and Vessel Archetypes for Bi-Directional Charging of Electric Vessels.’ As part of the VBEV project, this report zeros in on the value of V2G for electric vessels, providing a comprehensive perspective on the immense potential of V2X technology in the maritime sector.
“Aqua superPower is proud to lead the exploration of the future of maritime technology,” notes Adam Marshall, chief technology officer. “This whitepaper illuminates the potential of technology as a transformative force in the maritime sector. It underscores how bi-directional charging infrastructure can empower electric vessels as not only consumers, but as contributors to the grid, enhancing sustainability goals, reducing operational costs and catalysing an industry-wide shift towards clean energy solutions.”
Aqua superPower CEO, Alex Bamberg, explains that V2X is not only a relatively novel concept in the maritime sector but is also in its infancy in the automotive industry, where it is in early stages of commercialisation with significant research and development projects ongoing. “The VBEV project sets the stage for a groundbreaking UK demonstrator of bi-directional boat charging, poised to unlock the substantial opportunities and benefits that this transformative technology offers to the maritime sector. We are proud to play a leading role in making V2X a reality for the benefit of all stakeholders,” he says.


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