Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Japanese Groups Set to Work on Electric Marine Vessel Project Using New Technologies  

Four Major Companies Say Their New Venture Will Have a lot of Leverage

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Shipping News Feature JAPAN – Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), and the Mitsubishi Corporation have announced their agreement to create a strategic partnership to provide new infrastructure services within the marine shipping industry that focus on electrically powered vessels. Their newly established company, e5 Lab, will work to develop and promote the greater use of this relatively clean mode of maritime transport.

There are a number of challenges facing the shipping industry in Japan as well as the wider world, which e5 Lab says it will seek to address 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 takes advantage of electrically powered vessels and other cutting-edge technologies. The aim is to encourage sustainable growth and development within the marine shipping sector. The 7 challenges that e5 Lab plans to address are:

  • 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 on board 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 first objective for e5 Lab will be to build 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. The company says it will also develop other kinds of electrically powered vessels to address the challenges.

Furthermore, e5 Lab vows it 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 50% GHG reduction target of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as soon as possible.

Photo: Concept vessel as proposed by e5 Lab.

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