Portable battery for at-sea emergencies undergoes trial

Portable battery for at-sea emergencies undergoes trial

Eco Marine Power (EMP) in cooperation with Furukawa Battery and several shipowners is conducting an evaluation trial of the emergency MgBOX fuel cell battery to determine how the portable device can be best stored and used on ships.

The MgBOX is a small and portable emergency magnesium (Mg) 300Wh air battery developed by Furukawa Battery. The battery weighs around 1.6kg before filling and 3.6kg after filling and measures 233 x 226 x 226mm. Once activated, an MgBOX will provide a source of electricity for up to five days via a USB adaptor box or hub.

The MgBOX can be stored for long periods and is activated by adding fresh or salt water. It is possible for the units to be stored in various locations and moved when needed due to its light weight. Options for storage include the wheelhouse, engine control room (ECR), crew accommodation areas, and areas where passengers may gather during an emergency.

Various devices can also be connected to the USB adaptor, including small lights, mobile phones and smartphones. The USB adaptor box can also be used to recharge small portable devices multiple times.

Once this work is completed, the plan is to make the MgBOX available for use worldwide on a variety of vessels, offshore platforms & other marine applications.

The MgBOX was developed by Furukawa Battery as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. During that time one of the company’s factories in Iwaki City, Fukushima, was affected and people in the area were left without power. In response Furukawa Battery developed the MgBOX and it was first released in Japan in 2014.

EMP began to investigate a range of emergency power options after an incident on a ferry in Europe in 2014 resulted in passengers being stranded on the vessel without any lights at night. “Our Aquarius Marine Solar Power is a solution that can provide a significant amount of supplementary and emergency electrical power, but we also wanted a lightweight portable option” explained Greg Atkinson, chief technology officer at Eco Marine Power. “It soon became clear after talking with Furukawa Battery that the MgBOX was the ideal solution and the fact that it could be activated by water including sea water made it a good fit for use on ships.”

It is expected that after feedback from shipowners and further study, the MgBOX will become available worldwide by mid 2019.