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Panasonic, Mitsui Lines and Mitsubishi Launch Ship With Hybrid-Electric, Solar Power

Panasonic Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have unveiled a car carrier ship with a hybrid electric power supply system. The carrier is designed to achieve zero emissions while in harbor.

The Emerald Ace (pictured) features Panasonic’s system consisting of its 160 kW HIT solar modules and lithium-ion batteries storing about 2.2 MWh.

With this system, Panasonic is aiming to establish a technology that enables a ship to reduce its total CO2 emissions by supplementing the power generated by the ship’s diesel power generator. The power generated by the HIT solar modules and stored in the lithium-ion batteries is primarily used while the ship is at anchor, allowing the diesel power generator to be turned off, thereby helping to reduce environmental impact of the ship in port as well as its CO2 emissions. The lithium-ion batteries are located at the bottom of the ship, used as fixed ballast, so that they do not affect the carrying capacity of the ship.

The Emerald Ace left MHI’s Kobe shipyard Friday.

In January, news broke that ship builder STX Finland was constructing a cruise ferry fueled by liquefied natural gas. The 214-meter NB 1376 will also use ABB software to manage its energy use. It will have a top speed of 22 knots and a capacity of 2,800 passengers, and will be the first passenger vehicle of this size to be fueled with LNG.

The ferry uses a Wärtsilä-built LNG fuel system, which the companies say will reduce sulfur oxide emissions to almost zero, and cut nitrogen oxide to at least 80 percent below the International Maritime Organization’s current requirements. The ship will also cut particulate emissions by over 90 percent and carbon dioxide by 20 to 30 percent compared to the emissions from conventional diesel engines, the companies said.

In February, maritime consultancy Carbon Positive launched a program aimed specifically at helping ports adopt long-term strategies for energy and carbon management. Programme for Ports will help ports manage their energy and natural resource requirements and reduce their carbon footprint, ultimately contributing to carbon emissions reduction targets for the shipping industry as a whole, Carbon Positive said.

The program encourages ports to reduce emissions as much as possible and become carbon neutral through offsetting.

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