Published in G Captain, September 14, 2020

By Grant Brown | VP Marketing and Brand, Sterling PBES

The global pandemic of 2020 has changed our world dramatically, and a new reality lies ahead for many businesses. Fuel prices are low right now, but the economic impact is worse than the 2008/2009 downturn.  The simple fact is that many businesses will be forced to re-invent themselves just to survive. A new focus on reducing capital and operational costs will gain momentum, and rightfully so. Renewable and clean technologies have arrived commercially, and pragmatically speaking, the green recovery is the way forward to profitably meeting the environmental legislation that is now here. 

For owners and operators, the ability to switch to fully electric or hybrid propulsion has never been easier. As an early pioneer in this space, my cofounders at Sterling PBES have led the entire industry in adopting renewable technology profitably. At first, the questions around energy storage were focussed on simple functionality and safety.  Now, customers are demanding that battery providers are part of an integration package or a system.  Turnkey is the expectation.

The engineers at Sterling PBES have taken the challenge and defined the next generation of energy solution- the CanPower Microgrid- an all-encompassing microgrid with the highest energy density available in the world today and the patented Sterling PBES liquid cooling system to optimize lifetime, performance and safety. 

Microgrid in a Box

CanPower Microgrid in a Box is the answer that the maritime industry has been looking for. The self-contained CanPower unit will add energy storage to virtually any vessel while reducing footprint. Easy to install, CanPower is simply, easily and inexpensively located on the top deck or other exterior location. All that is required is connection to the vessels electrical grid via a fixed connection or a plug in. All inverters and other power electronics are enclosed in IP65, DNV 2.7.3 rated steel housings and do not require any additional infrastructure. Each system has built in fire safety systems, ambient temperature management and ventilation. The system can be retrofit to existing vessels or included in a newbuild. Using Sterling PBES’ new C-Max connector system, the battery can be charged in as little as 6 minutes depending on available shore power. 

Hot Swap

One interesting feature of CanPower is the ability to use it as a cartridge battery. No longer do operators have to buy large batteries to service full daily cycles then wait for a long recharge time. CanPower can be set up to be removed and replaced in minutes using a standard shore crane system. Just like the battery on your power tool system, the C-Max connector lines up and allows a drop-in battery swap, allowing the vessel to continue on to the next destination where another CanPower system will be waiting. The batteries on shore are then recharged and on standby for the next use. 

If the vessel duty changes, a CanPower system may be re-purposed to another vessel, used as shore power, or to provide auxiliary power to other heavy equipment on the dock. The operational flexibility as an asset offers the customers better payback than fixed systems.


We believe safety is the most important criteria when it comes to the use of energy storage on a vessel or in a port. The CanPower system is built to exceed global engineering standards and contains all the patented safety features that come on every SPBES system. CellCool liquid cooling keeps the battery cool in the most extreme heat and use scenarios and has been validated to prevent thermal runaway. ThermalStop creates a barrier inside the battery to prevent heat from propagating within the battery. E-Vent prevents any toxic fumes from accumulating within the vessel and our active Battery Management System (BMS) monitors the battery at all times (even when the battery is powered off). If any fault were to occur, the BMS notifies the crew and the SPBES command center allowing fast response and action. SPEBS CellSwap allows battery cell-core rebuilds on a timeline comparable to standard marine powertrain remanufacturing. This battery rebuilding process reduces capex and op-ex costs, and when combined with the SPBES Lifetime Performance Agreement, provides the owner with the knowledge that the battery will never require extra service that is not accounted for from the very beginning. 

Patented cooling and rebuilding systems allow higher performance from a smaller battery

Built for Marine

Our engineering team is led by a naval architect with 30 years of experience building everything from ro-ro ferries to trans-oceanic containerships. The CanPower system meets or exceeds all specifications for class approval and is built to withstand anything that the sea can throw at it. CanPower – built by mariners for mariners and carries a warranty to match. 

For more information on CanPower download the brochure here.

To speak with an SPBES Solutions Representative about your project and how CanPower can help, please email