Recently recognized as a ‘Technology Leader’ by the 2024 ESG Shipping Awards, AIDAprima features the largest battery ever installed on a cruise ship. The AIDA Cruises vessel is also one of the 48 shipboard battery projects overseen by Foreship, whose energy storage system (ESS) reference list exceeds any other naval architecture and marine engineering competitor by some distance.

At 10MWh, AIDAprima’s battery has already been overtaken in capacity terms by subsequent newbuilding projects. However, as a Covid-interrupted retrofit project of unprecedented scale in 2019, whose installation got back on track in 2022 and led to exhaustive testing through 2023, AIDAprima remains state of the art in terms of delivered battery power on board ship.  

“This has been a very exciting project and a major step forward in AIDA’s Green Cruising strategy,” comments Jens Kohlmann, Vice President Asset Management, Carnival Maritime GmbH. “We are delighted that the largest battery ever installed on a cruise ship is onboard AIDAprima.””    

Used to serve increased power demand to keep the ship's engines operating in a consistently optimal range, batteries supplement energy during various ship manoeuvres or in port. But they can also sustain zero-emission sailing for limited periods of time. They can be recharged at sea or via shore power.

“Energy stored in batteries is already being used in different ship applications to deliver greater engine flexibility and efficiency, and to cut emissions by assisting peak loading or as spinning reserve,” says Jan-Erik Räsänen, Chief Technology Officer, Foreship. “As part of distributed energy management, a battery of this size offers the flexibility to support hotel load or work in combination with main engines to maximize fuel efficiency, or even to power net carbon-neutral propulsion for short periods to meet local needs. Embedding large scale batteries on board existing ships is also a vital stepping-stone towards the ultimate prize of net carbon-neutral cruising.”

In line with goals set for ship sustainability by Carnival Maritime, Foreship was initially asked to undertake a feasibility study of candidate vessels for a multi-MWh battery retrofit across the owner’s fleet. It selected the Hyperion-class ship AIDAprima as the most suitable, based on its design and performance characteristics. It then took the design lead for the ship itself and managed the retrofit of the 10MWh battery package on board, which included 1,760 individual battery modules from Corvus Energy.

Foreship provided basic and detail design, evaluated battery sizes, verified ship stability and Safe Return to Port provisions, and created conversion specifications for the integration. Scope extended to HAZID and HAZOP workshopping, supplier coordination, technical project management and full documentation services. Responsibilities also included the integration of stored energy into the vessel’s distributed power management system, allowing AIDAprima to optimize energy efficiency continuously or switch to net-zero emission operations. The installation has been formally class-approved by DNV.

Räsänen acknowledges that the project brought challenges but says that finding the solutions built on and extended Foreship’s ESS expertise. Having identified a location close to the engine room for the main installation, Foreship used other available space to accommodate remaining systems, with work demanding structural modifications and adaptation of void spaces.

Now, he reflects on the highly collaborative nature of the project, based on its cooperation with battery supplier Corvus Energy, electrical integrator ABB, original power management system and automation provider Siemens, installation companies, the Flag State and Classification Society. “The AIDAprima project demonstrates stored battery energy is ever-more scalable as a ship power solution that can connect in a straightforward way to the main distribution network and be controlled easily via the PMS [power management system],” he says. 


Image attribution: Mussklprozz, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


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