EnergySail demonstration and test unit unveiled in Japan

EnergySail demonstration and test unit unveiled in Japan
Image Courtesy of Eco Marine.

Eco Marine Power (EMP) announced that an EnergySail demonstration and test unit has been unveiled at the Onomichi Marine Tech Test Centre (MTTC) in Japan. This full scale version of an EnergySail is an upgrade of the pre-production unit and represents one of the smaller types of EnergySail that will be put into commercial service.

It was manufactured by EMP’s strategic partner Teramoto Iron Works and will be used for demonstrations for potential customers and during preparations for sea trials.

The patented EnergySail can be fitted with marine-grade solar panels and therefore it is capable of providing ships with a zero emissions source of supplementary propulsive power and electrical power. Currently EMP is evaluating a number of photovoltaic (PV) panel types at the Onomichi MTTC and the type of PV panel to be used for sea trials will be determined by the middle of this year.

The flexible design of the EnergySail enables for it to be upgraded during the life-cycle of the ship so that newer technologies can be incorporated if required. It has also been designed so that it will require little maintenance and be robust enough to withstand the harsh conditions of an operational life at sea over many years. These features of the design will be evaluated during further shore-based testing. The demonstration and test unit has an overall height of approximately 6 metres when raised and can be lowered and stored when not in use.

Image Courtesy of Eco Marine.

The EnergySail is also a core sub-system of EMP’s Aquarius MRE (marine renewable energy) solution. Aquarius MRE combines wind, solar, energy storage and marine computer technologies into a scalable clean energy system for a wide range of ships including coastal cargo vessels, bulkers, tankers and cruise ships. The solar power sub-system of Aquarius MRE has already been installed on ships and the next step will be to combine this with the EnergySail technology. A project to plan and install a complete Aquarius MRE solution is underway and it is anticipated that the installation of equipment will commence this year.

Representatives from ZEABORN Ship Management (Singapore) were recently welcomed to inspect the EnergySail and also shown other equipment installed at the Onomichi MTTC including marine solar panels and the TM-600 jack-up rig system. ZEABORN Ship Management manages more than 130 vessels, from their offices in Hamburg and Singapore. ZEABORN has embarked upon a drive towards digitalisation and marine innovation projects, and is already participating in sustainable energy projects together with Eco Marine Power, with the support of progressive Owners. Also present during this visit were representatives from Fuji Trading and The Furukawa Battery Company.

Greg Atkinson, chief technology officer at Eco Marine Power commented, “We have spent some years now working towards the commercial deployment of our EnergySail rather than simply installing a prototype onto a ship. This is because we have been focused on getting a class-approved and cost effective sail-assisted propulsion system ready that can also be integrated with other systems via our Aquarius MRE solution. Installing an integrated class-approved renewable energy system with the EnergySail’s as a source of zero emissions power will be a major step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.”