World’s 1st all-electric oil carrier

Asahi Tanker and shipbroking agent Exeno-Yamamizu Corporation are working together to build the world’s first all-electric zero emission bunker tanker. It should be ready for use in Tokyo Bay by late 2020.

Much like this electric ship in China that carries coal to a generating station there is some irony in the fact that a bunker tanker is a ship that takes petroleum products around a port to refuel other boats – mainly ocean going freighters. But you have to start somewhere.

The companies are calling this an ‘E5’ vessel, standing for:

  1. Electrification: These are all-electric motors using lithium-ion batteries.
  2. Environment: Emission (CO2, NOx, Sox) controls along with noise and vibration reduction
  3. Economics: Utilizing IoT and Digital tools to improve propulsion performance.
  4. Efficiency: Simple hull construction combined with automated equipment.
  5. Evolution: Fully embracing digitalization and technological advances to create the most advanced design concept.

This first E5 vessel is 60 meters long with a cargo capacity of 1,300 cubic meters – which is 1,300,000 litres of fuel, or about 350,000 US gallons. The plan is to build more E5 vessels of this size for harbour use as well as build larger versions with greater range (and capacity, unfortunately) for coastal use.

When a refueling ship this size is only one of many bunker tankers in only one of many ports, it gives you some idea of the amount of fuel burned up every day by the global shipping industry. And unfortunately, a lot of it is low grade high sulphur content fuel, the worst for our atmosphere.

  • there are about 50,000 ships in the global merchant fleet.
  • it is estimated that if the shipping industry were a country, it would be the 6th largest emitter of CO2, after China, the USA, India, Russia and Japan.

Congratulations to these companies (and many others) that are working to reduce fossil fuel combustion. But we still have a long way to go!

Image: Copyright Asahi Tanker Co. Ltd. & Exeno-Yamamizu Corp.

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