Sailing toward E-Nautical: Be Charge, Energica working on Net Zero strategies for Shipping

June 1, 2023
The agreement, which will start with installing chargers in Italian ports and producing electric jet skis, is representative of the shift to electrify maritime transport

Plentitude’s electric charging infrastructure subsidiary Be Charge will work with Energica Inside to develop e-mobility solutions beginning with Italy’s nautical sector.

The first moves will focus on installing charging stations at Italian ports and developing models of the prototype electric jet ski called the Runabout. Plentitude is the renewable energy wing of Italian giant Eni, while Energica is part of Energica Motor Co.

"This agreement represents an important chapter for us to expand our activities, and it is also an incredible opportunity to boost the electrification process in new industries,” said Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica Motor Company, in a statement. “This is a result that follows on the Energica brand vision towards the expanding of the Italian Electric Valley.”

The deal is representative of a growing interest in electrifying the nautical sector. Ships transport about 80 percent of commodities and account for 2.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, putting out one billion tons of CO2 every year.

If the industry doesn’t not deviate from its present course, it could be responsible for 20% of global CO2 emissions by 2050.

The Plenitude-Energica collaboration is one of several in the shipping sector as companies have started to move more towards fully electric ships. Japanese start-up PowerX recently unveiled plans for the world’s first electric tanker, “X,” to transport batteries across the sea.

To start, it will have a 300-km range and be capable of storing 241 MWh of renewable energy, although executives said the design is “highly scalable” and will eventually be able to handle more batteries. So far, PowerX has signed an MoU and partnered with Kyushu Electric Power Co and the City of Yokohama to bring the ship into reality and decarbonize ports.

"The signing of this agreement marks the beginning of a new important journey for us as we can expand the concept of E-Mobility to the nautical sector,” Be Charge CEO Paolo Martini, also Plentitude Head of e-mobility, said. “As always, we're driven by the will to be pioneers by using technology as a key tool to always be innovative in our services."

More EnergyTech stories about Decarbonization in the Shipping Industry

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There are also plans to establish a new company this year called Ocean Power Grid Inc., which will handle the battery tanker operations. The first ship is expected to be completed by 2025, with field testing beginning in 2026.

In 2021, Norwegian chemical fertilizer company Yara launched what it called the world’s first autonomous, fully electric container ship. The vessel marked the company’s move from transporting products on land to by sea, saving 40,000 diesel-powered journeys a year.

Technology on the ship was developed by KONGSBERG, an international technology group. The ship entered commercial operation in Aril 2022 and is making a gradual shift from a limited crew to full autonomy.

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a special subset of the United Nations for international shipping, unveiled its plan, the Initial GHG Strategy to halve CO2 emissions in comparison to 2008 levels. They also required all ships to begin logging fuel consumption and established a series of baselines for the amount of fuel each ship type burns based on cargo capacity.

These baselines will progressively increase, and by 2025 new ships will be 30 percent more energy-efficient than those built in 2014. The IMO strategy is due to be revised later this year.

About the Author

Jennifer Ramsay, Editor at Large, Market Moves Newsletter

Jennifer Ramsay serves as the Editor-At-Large for Endeavor Business Media’s Market Moves newsletter. A Georgia native, she holds a communications degree from the University of North Georgia and has been a journalist since 2019, reporting on a variety of topics.