Turkish ship designer and builder Navtek Naval Technologies, a subsidiary of TK Tuzla Shipyard, has selected Corvus Energy’s Orca energy storage system (ESS) for the world’s first battery-powered, all-electric tugboat.

The Navtek NV-712 ZeeTUG, which stands for Zero Emissions Electric Tug, will be delivered in early 2019 to GISAS Shipbuilding and operate primarily in Istanbul harbor. According to Orkun Özek, Navtek’s vice chairman of the board, “the tug is small and will work in a very narrow and tight environment, which is why we opted for a fully electric, battery-powered propulsion system rather than a hybrid solution”.

With an energy storage capacity of 1,500KWh, the Orca ESS will provide power for two Siemens electric motors driven through ABB thrusters and drive systems. The entire propulsion setup will be integrated by Turkey’s BMA Technology.

“Corvus has supplied ESSs for numerous hybrid tugs, and we are excited to have been selected for the industry’s first all-electric tug,” said Roger Rosvold, director of sales and key accounts at Corvus Energy. “With ever more stringent emissions controls in harbors and coastal shipping routes, we expect interest in battery-powered operation of a wide variety of marine vessels to grow significantly.”

In other Corvus Energy news, the company recently announced details of two production and R&D expansion projects underway in Canada and Norway that will increase its production capacity by up to eight times.

First, Corvus Energy’s factory in the Vancouver region of Canada will be expanded and upgraded to house a 200MWh semi-automated battery production facility. A new product R&D, design and engineering facility will also be developed. The expansion is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2019.

Secondly, a 400MWh fully automated factory and a new marine system testing and development facility will be built in the Bergen region of Norway to fulfill growth in the Norwegian market resulting from new ferry tenders and demand for hybrid energy systems in the offshore and shipping sectors. The new factory, test and development facilities are expected to be completed by the summer of 2019.

“These strategic locations of our R&D and production facilities will enable us to quickly test and develop new systems that can meet the future needs of the industry,” said Geir Bjørkeli, CEO of Corvus Energy. “Further, by switching from manual processing to automated production, we will increase production capacity and remain price-competitive.”