Current Direct is a new research and innovation project involving a consortium of
thirteen companies, including AVILOO. The project's objective is the electrification of
ships and, as a result, the reduction of greenhouse gases in maritime transport.
The European Commission is funding the three-year Current Direct project with almost €12
million under the Horizon 2020 program. The objective is to develop a replaceable battery
system for inland and coastal shipping in conjunction with a sustainable value chain to reduce
costs. In the course of the project, a "Swappable Battery System" is being developed, which is
not permanently installed in the ship, but can be replaced. Current Direct will thus accelerate the
introduction of electric mobility in cargo shipping and thus make a decisive contribution to the
decarbonization of maritime transport by reducing greenhouse gases by up to 482,000 tons of
CO2 equivalent per year. Current Direct is implemented by thirteen renowned European
companies*) inline with their expertise, including AVILOO GmbH.
AVILOO was brought on board because of its extensive know-how in battery analysis. Together
with Rhoé Urban Technologies, AVILOO will develop the central core of the project, the cloudbased
software platform "Energy as a Service". CEO DI Wolfgang Berger commented: "Our many
years of experience in developing the cross-manufacturer battery test for electric and plug-in hybrid
vehicles is very useful to us in the context of this new project.” The technical project management
at AVILOO is taken over by CTO DI Nikolaus Mayerhofer. He was also responsible for the
development of cross-manufacturer battery testing for used electric cars with the AVILOO Box
and the AVILOO Battery Data Cloud.
From a technical point of view, the "Swappable Battery System" is a novelty in shipping traffic,
because an exchange battery system of this kind does not work even in electric cars. The
commercial advantage of this innovation is that the very large and expensive lithium-ion
batteries no longer need to be purchased by shipping companies. They only pay for the energy
taken, which makes the operation of an electric freighter much more lucrative. The owners of the
batteries, for example, are investors who want to get involved in the European Green Deal.
Numerous innovative developments are required in the course of the project. For example, new,
flexible cells made of extra-light materials, which are produced in a 3-D printing process and are
subsequently installed in a shipping container for battery packs. If necessary, the container can
be easily exchanged at the next port. Coordinating and monitoring this very complex process requires further innovation – the cloud-based software platform. It is basically at the core of research and development. The so-called "Energy as a Service" platform provides permanent
monitoring of the exchange battery installed in a shipping container. Essential information about
the battery health status (SoH), as well as the state of charge, and subsequent coordination of
which port should be mandatory docked for battery replacement, are collected and calculated
with the help of this cloud-based software solution.
CTO DI Nikolaus Mayerhofer adds: "We are delighted to be on board on this exciting EU project and
thus make a further decisive contribution to decarbonization.“
*) Current Direct - participating companies and their expertise:
• Spear Power Systems (Project Manager): Manufacturer of the lightest, most flexible marine
batteries certified to stringent safety standards.
• Blackstone Technology lowers the manufacturing costs of tomorrow's 3D-printed lithiumion
cells using Umicore's state-of-the-art materials.
• Hasselt University brings its electrochemical expertise to develop physics-based models of
Current Direct cells. These will help to improve the lifetime and thus the return on
investment of battery systems.
• Rhoé Urban Technologies and AVILOO develop the "Energy as a Service" platform and
supervise the coordination and monitoring of the data.
• Foreship (naval architecture and marine engineering company) contributes its Computer
CNET knowledge to coordinate ships, locations and exchange trials.
• VUB: Materials scientists develop cost-effective composites designed for recyclability to
optimize battery safety.
• VITO has intelligent cell monitoring electronics. • WÄRTSILÄ develops modular battery containers and charging infrastructure that are
certified to innovative standards and developed in cooperation with Lloyd's Register.
• Kotug Rotterdam: final project presentation in practical application.
• EDP: Coordinates economic assessment, business models and the commercialization plan
for Current Direct.
Picture 1: CFO Dr. Marcus Berger, CEO DI Wolfgang Berger und CTO DI Nikolaus Mayerhofer
(left to right)
Picture 2: Depiction of the Value Chain
© AVILOO GmbH, Current Direct
For further requests please contact
DI Wolfgang Berger, CEO AVILOO GmbH
Phone: +43 2236 374 036