Friday, July 15, 2011

Japanese Bulk And Container Freight Giant Reveals Environmental Car Carrier

MOL Continue to Lead the Way in Emission Initiatives
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – The country's engineering and shipping interests continue to forge ahead in an effort to reduce the pollution traditionally associated with container and bulk freight vessels and, as we have previously reported, the name of Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) is often at the forefront of efforts to clean up international logistics.

The company’s latest offering is the release this week of details for a hybrid car carrier aimed at producing zero emissions while berthed. As a purely ecological project aimed at developing a system specifically designed to cut CO2 levels from ocean going vessels MOL was able to help fund the work with a subsidy from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) in 2009. With the current attention on the production of clean energy in the country after the horrors of Fukushima, a situation that affected MOL more than most, it was timely news confirming the new vessel will be launched at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Kobe shipyard in June 2012.

The vessel will be equipped with a hybrid electric power supply system that combines solar power panels for generation with lithium-ion batteries for power storage. The system is the result of a cooperative study group of experts from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Sanyo Electric Group, and MOL. With solar panels on every bit of flat, exposed upper deck space, this system generates some 160kW, more than ten times as much as current systems on other ships, making it the most powerful system of its type in the world.

The lithium-ion batteries can store some 2.2MWh of electricity, and the power generated by the panels while the ship is under way is stored in the batteries and used to power the ship’s systems while it is berthed. The system eliminates the need for diesel-powered generators, enabling the ship to achieve zero emissions at the pier. In addition, the lithium-ion batteries are placed in the bottom of the vessel, taking the place of fixed ballast, so they have no effect on the number of vehicles the vessel can carry.

The power supply system represents a significant step forward in realizing ISHIN-I, the innovative concept for the next generation car carrier that we reported on in September 2009 and was supported by the Japanese ship classification society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai as a cooperative environmental initiative.