Norway to build first self-sailing electric cargo ship

May 10, 2017
A computer simulation released by Yara International ASA shows the Yara Birkeland vessel

Norway plans to launch the first autonomous and fully electric cargo ship next year that the project's backers said Wednesday will save 40,000 truck journeys per year.

Fertiliser company Yara International has teamed up with industrial group Kongsberg to build the Yara Birkeland, which will haul fertilisers between three ports in southern Norway.

With a range of more than 65 nautical miles, the ship will be able to haul roughly 100 containers at a speed of 12 to 15 knots, according to the project's director, Bjorn Tore Orvik.

Initially the ship will be manned, but remote operation is expected to begin in 2019 and fully autonomous operation in 2020, the companies said.

"Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from Yara's Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world," Yara's chief executive Svein Tore Holsether said in a statement.

"With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and , improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions," he added.

The switch is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 678 tonnes per year, according to Yara, with the electricity used to charge the ship's batteries coming almost exclusively from hydro plants.

While Norway is a major oil producer it has been a leader in the adoption of electric cars thanks to generous tax incentives and has experimented with electric-powered ferries to cross its famous fjords.

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16 comments

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JamesG
2.3 / 5 (4) May 10, 2017
reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions,

and hundreds of good paying jobs. Hope it sinks.
pntaylor
5 / 5 (1) May 10, 2017
@JamesG

Hope you're on it, if it does.
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet May 10, 2017
Uh-oh, I saw "Birkeland" in the above ship image. And its "electric".
CD85 can't be far behind...
Cusco
5 / 5 (1) May 11, 2017
@JamesG
A couple dozen, at most. It's around 50 short truck trips per day to each port, so maybe 30 trucks.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2017
@JamesG
A couple dozen, at most. It's around 50 short truck trips per day to each port, so maybe 30 trucks.


Employment has a domino effect. The 30 truckers spend all their money in the local businesses, which employ more people, who then spend their money on the local businesses...

The economy depends on some people being employed by the people who own the means of production - otherwise all the money stacks up top and the income disparity gets worse and worse. Automation means that a very small percentage of people own all the means of production, and everyone else has no means to pay for the goods.

The wages paid to the truckers bleed some of the money out from the owners of the fertilizer factory and runs the local economy. Without that flow of cash, the government would have to step in and tax the money out of the company, at which point the company packs up and leaves for better shores.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2017
Automation means that a very small percentage of people own all the means of production, and everyone else has no means to pay for the goods
This is a very good example of a machine that could be paid directly and taxed immediately for the work it does. Owners could get a share of what it earns if indeed it would need to be owned at all.

Workers aren't 'owned' any more and there is really no reason that autonomous machines need to be either.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2017
This is a very good example of a machine that could be paid directly and taxed immediately for the work it does. Owners could get a share of what it earns if indeed it would need to be owned at all..


How would you determine the correct wage for the machine? Arbitrarily?

You're perilously close to a command economy if you put the worth of the work of the machine subject to a political decision.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2017
How do you determine the correct wage for a human worker?

And the worth should be determined by economics not politics. It will give us a better idea of intrinsic worth when owners are not the middlemen any more.

Waste, greed and corruption will disappear once machines are the principal producers and consumers. Machines won't complain when they are obsoleted. And if they are overworked they won't go on strike, they will just break down and be replaced by more efficient machines.

Progress and innovation will be breathtaking.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2017
How do you determine the correct wage for a human worker?


You don't. It's a matter of supply and demand, where wages are negotiated freely for every individual case.

You can't negotiate with an autonomous barge. It's not sentient, and the idea is full of loopholes such as the owners of the machine "valuing" its work very low so they don't have to pay so much taxes.

And the worth should be determined by economics not politics.


How would you calculate that? Mind you, there is no objective value - "worth" is dependent on asking, to whom?

Waste, greed and corruption will disappear once machines are the principal producers and consumers.


Good - now where do you put the people?
tyrosouzas
not rated yet May 11, 2017
Ideally, all physical work should be done (at some point in the future) by machines and humans would be left with creative work, science, arts. The economy of that time will be quite different from ours, but that's where we're apparently headed. Interesting times are coming!
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) May 11, 2017
You don't. It's a matter of supply and demand, where wages are negotiated freely for every individual case.

You can't negotiate with an autonomous barge
Not much room for negotiation with human workers. You pay them too much, your compamy cant compete, you go under, and they are out of work.
It's not sentient, and the idea is full of loopholes such as the owners of the machine "valuing" its work very low so they don't have to pay so much taxes
The whole human worker ethos is whats full of holes. Machine work directly relate to what they do, not how loud they protest or who their congressman is, or what union boss is on the take.

And best of all, no entitlements. Their output, consumption, travel, storage, maintenance, and recycling are finite elements which make exacting and immediate revenue collection possible.
cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2017
there is no objective value
Of course there is. There is no objective value for human workers. A worker in singapore or honduras doing the same work as a union worker in detroit or a non-union one in tennessee, does not equate.

Machines doing the same work do equate. If one is less efficient than the other, you replace it. No muss no fuss.
Good - now where do you put the people?
The revenues generated from machine emancipation and the related increases in production and efficiency, will increase unimaginably. Free healthcare and stuff for everybody.

Seriously, there is no way to know how much this inevitable development will benefit people. Like I say, everybody will have maseratis but no one will be allowed to drive them.

Compare the typical agrarian of the 1800s with the middle class commuter of today, with cars, electricity, vacation homes, electronics.

What WILL people do with their time? Migrate off-planet.
Eikka
not rated yet May 13, 2017
Machines doing the same work do equate. If one is less efficient than the other, you replace it. No muss no fuss.


You missed the point entirely.

What is the worth of the work of a machine that moves a pile of sand in Sahara, vs. the same machine moving a pile of sand in a cement factory? The same physical effort produced is not directly the same value produced, so you can't determine a wage for the machine simply by noting how much work it appears to do.

That was the problem the Soviets ran into, when they tried to measure the output of their industries in kilograms and kilometers to have a "rational" measure to replace money in the absence of the suppy and demand mechanism. To fill the quotas the central bureau was demanding, the workers started adding more material to make the products heavier, and sending them on long pointless detours through Siberia to keep the numbers going up.
Eikka
not rated yet May 13, 2017
The revenues generated from machine emancipation and the related increases in production and efficiency, will increase unimaginably. Free healthcare and stuff for everybody.


Good - now, what do you do when the people use all the free stuff for the most obvious purpose of all biological systems: making more people?

Can your machines keep up with that?

What WILL people do with their time?


Individual people might do whatever, but there's a force of evolution at play under the abundance of resources which favors those genes which can capture more energy - i.e. reproduce more. Over a number of generations, the people will switch reproductive strategies because those who choose to do something else than breed are outbred from the population, and you reach a Malthusian catastrophe with an overpopulated earth.

Work, and the demand to pull your own weight and raise your own children is a necessary moderator for society.
Eikka
not rated yet May 13, 2017
Though of course you could attempt to form a "benevolent" dictatorship that gives free stuff to everybody in exchange for absolute reproductive control.

Good luck with your new thousand year reich.
Eikka
not rated yet May 13, 2017
Their output, consumption, travel, storage, maintenance, and recycling are finite elements which make exacting and immediate revenue collection possible.


What you're ultimately saying is that you have found, or it is possible to find an objective way to relate the value of goods and services to one another in every sense.

Well, how many shovels is a tin of beans?

Or, would that depend on whether you're hungry, or in need to dig a ditch? If so, wouldn't that throw the question back to the people who want the output of the machines, for whatever personal or collective purposes, subjectively rather than objectively?

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