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Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) announced the launching of the hybrid car carrier Emerald Ace at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd, Kobe shipyard. The Emerald Ace, designed to generate zero emissions while berthed, was designated as a project to reduce CO2 emissions from ocean-going vessels and represents a significant step forward in realizing ISHIN-I, the concept for the next-generation car carrier that MOL announced in September 2009.
The Emerald Ace will be equipped with a hybrid electric power supply system that combines a 160kW solar generation system-jointly developed by MHI, Energy Company of Panasonic Group, and MOL-with lithium-ion batteries that can store some 2.2MWh of electricity. Conventional power generation systems use diesel-powered generators to supply electricity on board while berthed. However, on the Emerald Ace, electricity will be generated by the solar power generation system while the vessel is under way and stored in the lithium-ion batteries. The diesel-powered generator will be completely shut down when the ship is in berth, and the batteries will provide all the electricity it needs, resulting in zero emissions at the pier.
The “Solar Hybrid” logo is painted on the sides of the vessel near the stern to identify its hybrid system and its use of renewable energy.
The development of this vessel was subsidized by the MLIT as a project that develops systems to reduce CO2 emissions from ocean-going vessels, and it is supported as a cooperative development project to reduce greenhouse gases produced by ocean shipping from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai.
This is not the first commercial vessel to incorporate solar hybrid technology on board. In 2008, NYK Lines, in partnership with Toyota, delivered the Auriga Leader, the world’s first cargo ship to be partially propelled by solar power. In May 2011, this vessel received an upgrade to it’s power generation system to help mitigate problematic power fluctuations.
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