Japanese shipping firms plan for zero-emission electric ships

Japanese shipping firms plan for zero-emission electric ships

Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Mitsubishi Corporation have agreed to create a strategic partnership to provide new infrastructure services to support the development and operation of electrically powered zero-emission vessels.

The newly established company will be known as e5 Lab and will work to develop and promote the greater use of relatively clean modes of marine transport. The first aim is to develop the world’s first zero-emission tanker by mid 2021. The tanker will be a coastal vessel powered by large-capacity batteries and will operate in Tokyo Bay.

e5 Lab will seek to address the challenges faced by the shipping industry by consolidating the technologies, know-how and networks of its four major shareholders. The new company will develop a platform to provide a line-up of services that take advantage of electrically powered vessels and other low-carbon technologies. The aim is to leverage this platform to encourage sustainable growth and development within the marine shipping industry.

The seven key challenges to be addressed by the e5 Lab include:

  • Control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help to combat the adverse impacts of climate change by converting vessels to electric propulsion.
  • Improve working environments and mitigate crew shortages by upgrading onboard communications systems.
  • Leverage sophisticated sensor technologies to improve ship maintenance and management, thereby ensuring that ageing vessels can be operated as safely as possible
  • Leverage autonomous sailing technologies and big data to provide onshore support for crews and contribute to safe, reliable and efficient ship operations.
  • Offer an electric-vessel platform to all stakeholders in the marine shipping industry (including shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers, ship owners and operators, and cargo owners), standardise vessels and otherwise help to develop a sustainable growth model within the industry.
  • Propose standards on the swift and broader application of next-generation technologies.
  • Leverage large-capacity, rechargeable batteries to provide emergency backup power and otherwise assist with the business continuity planning of local communities.

The company will also develop other kinds of electrically powered vessels to address the above challenges.

e5 Lab will actively promote the electrification of both coastal and ocean-going vessels, and pool the technologies, human resources and operational know-how needed to achieve the IMO’s minimum target of 50 per cent reduction of GHG emissions by 2050 compared with 2008.

Five kinds of e-value will be focussed on, covering Electrification, Environment, Evolution, Efficiency, and Economics.