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A consortium of Japanese companies is designing a massive electric tanker. This monstrous 62-meter-long ship, presented as the ‘first zero-emission electric tanker in the world, powered by high-capacity lithium-ion batteries’, is due to be inaugurated in March 2022. It carries a huge 3.5 MWh battery.
Traditionally, to move, tankers use an unrefined fuel oil of poor quality. As such, they are regularly accused of generating heavy pollution, particularly sulfur or nitrogen oxide, equivalent to that of millions of vehicles. Without entering into this debate, it is certain that sea freight must, like other sectors, become more virtuous. For these giants of the seas, as on land, one of the alternatives is electrification.
A tonnage of 499 tonnes
Last year, China already unveiled an electric cargo ship equipped with a 2.4 MWh battery. In Japan, a consortium of companies has been working since May 2020 on an even more impressive vessel: an oil tanker with a 3.5 MW battery.
This mastodon will have a tonnage of 499 tonnes and a capacity of approximately 1,300 m³. It will move thanks to two main thrusters of 300 kW supported by two other lateral thrusters of 68 kW. To provide them with sufficient energy, Corvus Energy will equip the vessel with a battery with a capacity of nearly 3.5 MWh: 3,480 kWh to be precise.
Moreover, this gargantuan battery will confer a secondary role to this electric tanker. Indeed, in the event of a natural disaster in Tokyo, it will be used to supply electricity to the city’s emergency services.
Reduced noise pollution
The Asahi Tanker firm has placed an order for two of these vessels. As noted above, the first will enter service in March 2022; the second a year later, in March 2023.
The company explains: ‘These two tankers will not produce any CO2, NOx, SOx or particulate emissions thanks to their fully electric central energy system, which will significantly reduce their impact on the environment. In addition, the reduction of noise and vibration will create a more comfortable working environment for crew members and limit noise pollution in the bay and its surroundings. ‘
Okay, ironically, this green tanker will carry oil destined for other ships.