Japanese shipping company Asahi Tanker has announced it plans to build two “world first” zero-emission electric propulsion tankers which will be powered by lithium-ion batteries.
The little that is known about the details is available only through what appears to be a shaky English translation. But it does give the specifications of the two new vessels that will use the “e5 tanker” planned and designed by e5 Labl – a joint effort announced in August 2019 between Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu Corp, Mitsui and Mitsubishi Corporation.
Set to work as a marine fuel supply vessel in Tokyo Bay, the new battery-powered tanker will measure in with a gross tonnage of approximately 499 tonnes and be able to reach speeds of around 11 knots.
With a tank capacity of around 1,300m3, base battery capacity for the tanker will start at 3,500kWh. As such, the tanker will achieve zero emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxide), SOx (sulphur oxide), and smoke.
Asahi Tanker also hopes to introduce a number of functions aimed at consideration for the crew and the environment, such as various digital tools including automated equipment and Internet of Things tools to reduce the burden of the onboard crew while also improving operating efficiency.
The announcement explained that “Asahi Tanker and e5 Lab will work on improving the crew’s working environment and protecting the global environment, which are urgent issues for coastal shipping, through the development and introduction of advanced vessels, and will continue to provide safer and higher quality transport services.”
This is supposedly the world’s first electric tanker in development and is a big step forward as the first objective for the e5 Lab. Set to be completed sequentially from March 2022 to March 2023, the new tanker is part of e5’s plans to address a number of challenges facing Japan’s shipping industry, diagnosed by the four companies involved in creating the e5 Lab.
Some of these challenges include not only controlling greenhouse gas emissions but improving the working environment for crews as well as providing an electric vessel platform to all stakeholders across the marine shipping industry, standardised vessels, and overall support to develop a sustainable growth model within the industry.