We are in Grovfjord, Norway – North of the Polar circle. Here, as in the rest of Norway’s fjords, salmon fish farming is a motor in the local economy. And, thanks to Astrid Helene, this motor is now using less diesel.
Astrid is the new workboat used by the fish farm company Northern Lights Salmon.Contrary to other boats in the area, she is silent. She has no diesel engines. She is all electric.
As a result, Northern Lights Salmon saves the atmosphere of up to 90 ton of CO2 and 900 kg of NOx gases annually – the average emission of a diesel-powered fish-farm workboat.
The future is electric
54-year-old Chairman of Northern Lights Salmon Søren Balteskard: “Electric workboats are perfect for fish farming. The lack of engine noise is not only an advantage for the crew, but also for the salmon. It reduces stress levels in the fish. And the environmental benefits are obvious.”
The disadvantages? According to Søren, there really aren’t any.
“We can use Astrid Helene for a whole workday and still have about 45 percent power left when we return to shore. Charging is easy, too. We simply plug her to the grid overnight. And the next morning, she is fully charged,” says Søren adding that the electricity is generated by green Norwegian hydro-power.
Grovfjord Mekaniske Verksted, which designed and built Astrid Helene, is Norway’s leading manufacturer of aluminum workboats. Astrid Helene is their first fully electric one.
She moves silently through the water at up to 10 knots, 18.5 km/h. Three types of components make it happen: A four m3 big lithium-ion battery-pack, two electrical propulsion motors, and seven drives.
The battery and the propulsion motors provide the muscle power. Between them sit the seven drives. They function as the nerves controlling the amount of electricity – or power – pulled out of the battery-pack and into the electric propulsion motors.
Acting as a partner
Anders Breines, Lead Electrical Engineer at Grovfjord Mekaniske Verksted, says:
“Drives from Danfoss perform very well. But what clearly sets Danfoss apart, is that they allow us to make changes to their software, so we can influence how the drives work and function in our system. Most other companies lock their software and charge us extra, if we ask for changes. The Danfoss guys show us how to use their software and how to make changes. They act as partners.”
Electrification is the future
Electric motor systems are on the rise as fossil-fuel is on the way out. Electricity based on renewable energy resources such as solar, hydro power, and wind will play an increasingly dominant role and transform sectors such as cooling, heating, and transport.
And drives from Danfoss play a key role. How? They control the speed of electric motors in applications ranging from factory production lines and supermarket refrigeration systems to container ships. Here, they cut down energy-use by making sure that the electric motors never run faster than necessary.