Ship market research and the future of marine batteries



1. Overview of the boat market

The latest research report on the market size, demand, growth strategy, industry trends, battery type, application scenarios, and other topics has been released.The electric boat market is expected to continue to grow, with a CAGR of 13.7% expected from 2022 to 2028.


From the perspective of power sources, the electric boat market is mainly concentrated in all-electric and hybrid boats. Ship types include merchant ships, defense ships, and special ships. The degree of automation is divided into semi-automated and fully automated.

Increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the tourism industry's increasing propensity to demand recreational boats will drive demand for electric boats over the forecast period.

Which ship types and sea ranges support full electric propulsion? Restrictions imposed in China have severely affected supply chains, the supply of raw materials (wood and metal), and manufacturing facilities.

Electric boat builders face a number of dilemmas: Supply chain disruptions in production processes cannot meet high demand. Raw material tariffs affected the construction of electric boats and the sale of spare parts.

Future market development trends


Including battery drive systems such as lead-acid, lithium-ion, and nickel-based products, disruptions in the supply chains of motor and battery systems are hampering the development of the electric boat market.

3. Classification of the market

Based on boat type, the global electric boat market is segmented into pure electric and hybrid vessels. The pure electric segment dominates the electric boat market due to the continuous upgrading of battery product technology.

However, the electric boat market in the hybrid field is expected to grow in the next few years. Currently, from a battery perspective, using a battery as part of a hybrid system has obvious advantages, with its main engine operating more efficiently.

● Short-haul routes

To meet the storage needs of most power grids, the use of lifepo4 batteries may also be the most economical approach. In recent years, battery ferries for short-haul routes have appeared in many places.

Pure electric propulsion does offer a wide range of benefits, including: Less frequent maintenance Significantly simplified drivetrain Faster power response There is no need to reserve a rotary motor for backup.

● Long-haul routes

For long-haul ships, hybrid systems have proven to offer clear benefits. Hybrid powertrains still use electric motors to drive propellers, but their power comes from both batteries and diesel generators.

Pure electric VS hybrid vessel


In the future, fuel cells may also replace diesel generators. Plug-in hybrid boats with large battery capacities can travel longer distances on the electrical energy obtained from the grid, reducing fuel consumption.

4. Future options for battery types

The question of which type of battery to use is always present. Lithium-ion batteries are currently evolving battery types, mainly in the choice of cathode materials.

The most popular cathode material for marine and automotive applications is nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC), which offers high safety and very good specific energy. However, NMC has its own thermal stability issues and is highly dependent on cobalt, a scarce and expensive material, in addition to supply chain issues.

It is expected that in the next 3 to 5 years, the widespread application of solid-state lithium batteries will be the next major advance in the field of energy storage. The solid electrolyte can effectively prevent the battery from short-circuiting.

In the next 10 years, cathode materials will also see a series of incremental improvements, including high nickel and lithium content, both of which have higher voltage and capacity than today's cathode materials. In terms of cathode stability, there is a certain compromise problem, but this problem can be fully solved by the inherent safety of the solid electrolyte.

Future options for battery types


The trend towards anode materials is to reduce or eliminate cobalt while increasing specific energy and voltage. Currently, one anode material that is unlikely to be used by the top 10 lithium ion battery anode material companies in marine applications in the short term is lithium sulfur.

Although its energy density is twice that of today's lithium-ion batteries, it does not improve the volumetric energy density of lithium NMCs. It also has life cycle problems that cannot be fully addressed.

Sodium is considered a potential alternative to lithium. Because it is rich in reserves, there are many technological overlaps with lithium ions. In addition to the reduced specific energy, larger sodium ions are embedded or removed from the electrode, which also shortens the battery's cycle life.

Finally, in the next 15 to 20 years, lithium-air batteries may appear. Metal-air batteries may also face the same problems as fuel cells, namely slow discharge, and may also require the support of high-power battery types. However, this battery type is still in the laboratory research stage.

5. Battery use and installation standards

Currently, there are guidelines for the use of marine batteries. The UK-based Bureau of Shipping Foundation (LRF) has publicly released guidelines for the installation of large batteries.

Battery use and installation standards


Rapid developments in electrochemistry and safety standards should go hand in hand. General guidance on battery installation. It is pointed out that the development of lithium-ion batteries in large-scale energy applications is still in its relative infancy, especially in the marine and offshore industries.

The guidelines were developed to provide technical requirements and reference standards to facilitate the effective installation and use of lithium-ion battery systems.

6. Current and future fuels

① Fuel cell

Batteries are unlikely to store all the electricity needed for ranges longer than 500–1,000 km (about 270–540 nautical miles). Therefore, as part of a hybrid system, although battery technology is associated with long ranges, there is still a need to replace the huge consumption of fuel with other energy sources that are less carbon intensive.

Fuel cell


This is especially important because batteries are powered by ships that make up only a small fraction of shipping, while ships use 77% of the world's heavy fuel oil and 90% of the fuel used by cargo ships; only 10% is used for passenger ships, fishing boats, tugboats, military vessels, etc.

Fuel cells are another attractive battery-type option for future ship propulsion. Fuel cells convert fuel into electricity with up to 50% efficiency. However, fuel cells are still very expensive due to cost issues.

A 24 volt marine battery is rather attractive option for ships with shorter sailing distances, including engineering vessels and harbor tugs. To a large extent, this choice is related to the relatively simple hydrogen production process, which requires only an electrolytic hydrogen production device, a power supply system, and a water supply system. Therefore, it is only necessary to install an electrolyzer in the port.

② Supercapacitors

Supercapacitors are special technology with a specific energy of less than 20 Wh/kg but a specific power of up to 30 kW/kg. They store energy through the separation of charges.



This process occurs in the electrolyte as well as on the electrode surface and does not involve any ions embedded in the electrode. They can last for thousands of cycles. Although supercapacitors can be used as an option for marine power solutions, they are not actually used.

The chemical properties of lithium iron phosphate batteries currently used in the marine industry can provide sufficient power support. In addition, any type of metal-air battery in the future may not have high specific power due to its inherent slow oxygen reduction reaction, so supercapacitors may have application prospects in the future.


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