Asahi / Mitsui / Mitsubishi’s plans for zero emissions tanker

Apr 09 2020

Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui OSK Lines and Mitsubishi Corporation announced plans to build the first zero emission tanker by mid-2021.

Asahi Tanker Co., Ltd., Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., and Mitsubishi Corporation announced an agreement in August 2019 to make a new company “e5 Lab”, with a first objective “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 plan was that e5 would consolidate the “technologies, know-how and networks of its four major shareholders.”


The companies involved have not released much further information about their plan, but they say that they aim to “leverage this platform to encourage sustainable growth and development within the marine shipping industry.”


They have other big goals.


Improving working environments and mitigate crew shortages by upgrading onboard communications systems.


Leveraging sophisticated sensor technologies to improve ship maintenance and management, thereby ensuring that aging vessels can be operated as safely as possible.


Leveraging autonomous sailing technologies and big data to provide onshore support for crews and contribute to safe, reliable and efficient ship operations.


Offering an electric-vessel platform to all stakeholders in the marine shipping industry (including shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers, ship owners and operators, and cargo owners), standardize vessels and otherwise help to develop a sustainable growth model within the industry.


Proposing standards on the swift and broader application of next-generation technologies.


Leveraging  large-capacity, rechargeable batteries to provide emergency backup power and otherwise assist with the business continuity planning of local communities.


e5 Lab also plans to “actively promote the electrification of both coastal and ocean-going vessels.”


It will “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.”


In December 2019, a further MOU was signed with Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd and e5 Lab, to conduct a joint study of a hybrid pure car carrier equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell system and large-capacity batteries.


In the open sea, an LNG fuelled generator would be used to generate power to charge up large capacity batteries.


In November 2019, e5 announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with SoftBank Corp to “start jointly studying the provision of marine broadband services that utilize next-generation communication satellites.”


It would run trials from Jan 2020 to May 2020 with flat antennas onboard vessels. It would run trials from Jan 2021 to end of March 2020 using OneWeb communications satellites.


In October 2019, it announced plans to develop a “concept design” for an electric propulsion harbour tugboat powered by a large capacity battery and hydrogen fuel cell. It would operate in Yokohama and Kawasaki Port, and have 2 x 1500 kW azimuth thrusters for propulsion, giving it 50 tons towing power.


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