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Modular battery system could be a game changer

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Jan-Olaf Willums, chairman and co-founder of ZEM (left), and Sven Schulz, CEO of AKASOL (right)

JUNE 2, 2017 — German lithium ion battery specialist AKASOL has partnered with ZEM, a Norwegian specialist in maritime energy storage, to develop a modular battery system called AKAZEM. The self-contained 24 kWh IP 67 system is seen as a likely game changer, as its quality, safety and price are based on the large-series-production of the AKASystem OEM designed for buses.

The liquid cooled modular system can be combined in a “lego-like” fashion to meet smaller vessels’ space and power requirements up to a 2C power range at costs that open many new applications.

The first joint product, AKAZEM 15 OEM, is a self-contained modular battery unit specifically designed for work boats in the aquaculture industry, fishing boats and smaller passenger ferries.

Sven Schulz, CEO of AKASOL, and Jan-Olaf Willums, chairman and co-founder of ZEM, announced the results of this cooperation at the international shipping exhibition Nor-Shipping in Oslo this week.

Together the two companies will develop, produce and distribute the AKAZEM system worldwide.

The project was initiated when ZEM was looking for a solution for free-fall lifeboats in the offshore industry, where reliability, safety and space were paramount requirements. In parallel, the strong growth in the aquaculture sector created the need for a modular IP 67-compliant solution, where customers need compact, reliable energy storage with up to 2C power at competitive prices.

The modular system can be put together to meet small (from 25 kWh) to larger energy requirements. It is thus very scalable and easily replaceable and can be customized to connect to many applications.

“The unique modularity opened a wide range of applications, from use for the all-electric or plug-in hybrid operation by winches, cranes and pumps”, says Sven Schulz. AKASOL has developed modular solution for buses and trains, and will produce a rapidly increasing number for several large customers. “The quality and good engineering expertise, which we found in the AKASystem OEM is in our opinion the best basis for a first-class maritime energy storage system for smaller vessels” said Jan-Olaf Willums. “Therefore, we decided to work with AKASOL and develop a fully self-contained modular system that can pass all maritime certification tests and, thanks to its IP67 rating, can be placed in all kinds of vessels.”

The AKAZEM modular systems will be used in the world’s first battery-driven freefall lifeboats, a joint project with Norsafe.. Moen Marine will also use the AKAZEM solutions in its new series of aquaculture and fishing vessels.

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