New state of the art automated manufacturing plant in Zhuhai ramps up production capacity to 300MWH a year with ability to expand to 1GWH a year
Expansion is being led by AYK founder Chris Kruger, a pioneer in the field of marine batteries. Chris developed the first marine type-approved battery in 2013 installing batteries on the first hybrid propulsion ferry, Princess Benedikte, and the first fully-electric ferry, Ampere.
New factory will build “highest quality, safest and lowest cost batteries in the world” using LFP – lithium-iron-phosphate cells instead of more expensive and hazardous NMC – nickel, manganese, cobalt cells. AYK is pioneering use of LFP in marine.
AYK Energy will build its range of seven class approved batteries at the factory including its Aries and Orion models aimed at electric ferry, OSV, drill rigs, tug boat and inland waterway vessel markets.
Andorra headquartered marine battery pioneer AYK Energy is setting its sights on becoming the world’s leading marine battery maker with the opening of a new state-of-the-art factory in Zhuhai, China.
More than 100 guests joined the official opening of the 5000sqm factory which saw speeches from Wartsila, Fjord Maritime Norway, Vulkan Group, Green Energies E-Ship and the Maritime Battery Forum.
AYK Energy founder Chris Kruger said the new factory will massively ramp up production capacity, using a new automated manufacturing system, to 300 MWH a year with the ability to scale up to 1 GWH a year.
“The new AYK factory will seriously disrupt the marine battery market,” he said. “From here we can build the highest quality, safest and lowest cost class approved batteries in the world. Our team is drawing on all our experience of working on marine batteries for 15 years, including pioneering the first ever marine type-approved battery. A critical difference AYK offers is that we are the first manufacturer to secure a type approved marine battery using LFP – lithium-iron-phosphate cells, instead of the more expensive NMC – nickel, manganese, cobalt cells. This immediately slashes our costs which we can pass on to our customers. LFP is also safer than NMC evidenced by countries like China which does not allow NMC cells to be used for any application that involves transporting people.”
Mr Kruger said the new automated factory is the first of its kind and can be replicated with plans to open factories in Europe and America in 2024 in line with demand to serve the inland waterways and Jones Act markets hungry for green solutions.
“We will be building our full range of seven batteries from high power to high energy from our factory including the Aries model aimed at electric ferries, tugboats and barges,” he said. “In addition, we’ll be increasing production of our Orion model aimed at OSVs, drill rigs and hybrid tugboats.”
Mr Kruger said AYK will also expand production of containerised batteries from the factory.
“Containerised batteries are set to be one of the biggest innovations in the maritime industry in the next five to 10 years,” he said. “Containerised batteries have multiple benefits. They can be installed easily on deck without taking space below deck and incurring complex battery room safety requirements. Furthermore, the retrofit process is simple and does not require the vessel to be out of service for very long. When operational the batteries can also then be swapped around with fully charged replacements quickly at shore side charging centres. In addition, the containerised power solution is future proof. When a new more powerful battery technology is developed, or a different form of power is introduced, the container can be adapted for that purpose.”
One of the first projects supplied from the factory is for the Holland Shipyards Group to supply batteries for a zero-emission machinery retrofit on the container vessel, FPS Waal, operated by Future Proof Shipping.
Its diesel engines will be replaced with PEM fuel cells, storage for their hydrogen fuel, two AYK high density DNV-approved Aries 88 lithium batteries and an electric drive train. The order is the first time that AYK batteries will be used alongside fuel cells, making it a landmark contract for the company, Kruger said.
AYK Energy has built and shipped over 25MWh of batteries to Europe over the last year.
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