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Prevention of Global Warming


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Shipping is an energy efficient mode of transport. That said, because vessels use oil as fuel they inevitably emit CO2 (carbon dioxide), which is a cause of global warming, as well as NOx (nitrogen oxide), SOx (sulfur oxide), soot and other emissions, which are linked to acid rain and atmospheric pollution. Unstable weather may cause catastrophic events that make safe ocean transport impossible. The MOL Group is fully aware of the effects on air quality associated with its business activities and thus proactively works to reduce the impact on an ongoing basis.

CO2 Emissions Countermeasures

Environmental Technology R&D

MOL researches and develops natural energy, PBCF for improving vessel propulsion power, high- performance antifouling ship bottom paints, fuel additives, heat-shielding paint and other technologies.

Next-generation Car Carrier FLEXIE

The new shape is the result of joint research by MOL, MOL Techno-Trade, Ltd., and Akishima Laboratories (Mitsui Zosen) Inc.

The name is derived from the word "flexible," which refers to features such as the newly designed liftable decks, and expresses not only the ship's flexibility in boosting loading efficiency, but also in fulfilling MOL's sales and marketing strategy aimed at meeting diverse customer demands. The rounded bow shape of the FLEXIE, which is slated to be delivered in 2017, will minimize wind resistance and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by about 2% compared to today's car carriers.

New Energy-saving Windshield Installed on Containership MOL MARVEL for Demonstration Test - Cuts Wind Resistance, Saves Fuel, and Reduces CO2 Emissions -

We have started demonstration tests of a new windshield for containerships, which has the potential to reduce wind resistance, save fuel, and reduce CO2 emissions. MOL jointly developed the device with MOL Techno-Trade, Ltd., Ouchi Ocean Consultant, Inc., Akishima Laboratory (Mitsui Zosen) Inc., and the University of Tokyo. The project was backed by the "Joint R&D for Industry Program", in which Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) promotes wide-ranging R&D activities in cooperation with industry, government and academia.

The new windshield was installed on the bow of the MOL-operated containership MOL MARVEL, and a demonstration test of its effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions is under way. With today's larger containerships, the height of the containers loaded on their decks has increased, subjecting the vessels to greater wind resistance. MOL recognized the need to address this issue in a cost-effective way. Development of the new device began with an examination of the bow's aerodynamic form through wind tunnel testing. This led to the adoption of a horseshoe-shaped design, which encloses the front line of the stacked containers to maximize the wind resistance-reducing effect while minimizing the weight of the main unit. The new windshield has enough design strength to meet the ClassNK rules concerning wave impact pressure. In addition, by obliquely setting the containers placed along the sides of the vessel behind the windshield, the sides of the vessel will be more streamlined, further reducing wind resistance.

With those measures, MOL expects an annual average reduction of 2% in CO2 emissions, assuming the device is mounted on a 6,700 TEU containership plying the North Pacific Ocean route at speed of 17 knots. The new windshield is also expected to protect ships from green water on the bow deck when sailing in bad weather.

Hybrid PCC Solar Power Generation System

The world's first newbuilding hybrid car carrier Emerald Ace is equipped with a hybrid electric power supply system that combines a 160kW solar generation system with lithium-ion batteries that can store some 2.2MWh of electricity. On board the vessel, electricity is generated by the solar power system while it is underway and stored in the lithium-ion batteries. The batteries provide all the electricity the vessel needs while it is in berth, resulting in zero emissions at the pier. We are also currently verifying the durability of solar panels at sea in the four years since the vessel was delivered in 2012.

Variable Phase Cycle (VPC)

VPC is a system that recovers waste heat from sources of low-temperature heat, which has not been utilized before. Use of a low-boiling-point fluid allows the recovery of motive power from sources of low-temperature heat of the engine scavenging air coolant.

MOL, in cooperation with Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., plans to select a test vessel, equip with a VPC system on it, and conduct a demonstration test to determine its effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions.

VPC allows the recovery of heat without evaporating the working fluid in the heat exchanger equipped with the engine scavenge air coolant. This mechanism relies on a two-phase flow nozzle and turbine. The working fluid turns into a gas-liquid twophase flow when passing through the nozzle. When the gas flow is accelerated, the momentum is simultaneously transmitted from a gas phase to a liquid phase to become a two-phase jet, which rotates the turbine wheel to recover the motive power. Heat is exchanged directly from the liquid phase, simplifying the equipment configuration.


Capture the Power of the Wind Again
the wind in sails, but with the development of engines, most ships today no longer use sails. Amid demands to reduce CO2 emissions, companies should reconsider wind power as a means of propulsion, which has been used since ancient times. MOL has been developing Power Assist Sail, a new prototype sailing rig that can use the latest modern technologies to fully and effectively capture the power of the wind. We are proceeding the development of Power Assist Sail jointly with Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. and AKISHIMA LABORATORIES (MITSUI ZOSEN) INC.

  • Superior durability, with the sail frame made of aluminum alloy and the masts and driving unit made of steel.
  • Automated control of the sail angles to gain maximum propulsion with the wind direction and speed as well as vessel direction and speed.
  • During bad weather or no wind, the masts can be stored by folding horizontally at the bottom to minimize the impact on the navigation of the vessel.

Power Assist Sail
The Power Assist Sail provides supplementary propulsion force for the vessel by using the lift force of crosswinds, similar to the wings of an airplane, and drag from tailwinds. Taking advantage of the sail's small size, the goal is to install the sail rig without making major design changes to existing vessels. It is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 2-5%.

It is a joint research project by MOL, MOL Techno-Trade, Ltd., and Akishima Laboratories (Mitsui Zosen) Inc. under ClassNK's "Joint R&D with Industries and Academic Partners" program.

Wind Challenger Project
MOL is taking part in the "Wind Challenger Project" led by The University of Tokyo. This project is researching wind-propelled ships, which involves using sails as the main driving power, with a propulsion system in an auxiliary role. In addition to MOL, two other shipping companies, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), shipbuilders and other parties are participating in the project. Launched in September 2009, the project is now developing large-scale solid sail structures using composite materials, as well as examining particulars for vessel designs to develop, and developing fluid analysis techniques and weather routing methods.

LNG fueled vessels
Compared to vessels that use heavy fuel oil, vessels running on LNG will emit substantially less CO2, NOx, SOx and PM. MOL is investigating the application of LNG-fueled concepts with all kinds of vessels. The development of a specialized engine is one of the key themes for creating LNG-fueled vessels. MOL demonstrated the operation of a gas-injection slow-speed diesel engine, as part of efforts to make such a vessel a reality in the near future.

PBCF(Propeller Boss Cap Fins)
PBCF is a device that has been developed by MOL jointly with other parties since 1987 to improve propeller efficiency. PBCF produces a 4% to 5% improvement in fuel efficiency at the same speed, along with commensurate reductions in CO2 emissions. These fins have been widely installed on MOL-operated vessels, as well as other vessels around the world. As of May 31, 2015, PBCF had been introduced to more than 3,000 vessels worldwide, including vessels scheduled to be built. MOL is currently developing new PBCF, which target a further improvement in fuel efficiency of another percentage point.

PBCF rectifies the hub vortex from the blade trailing edge of the boss, eliminates the low-pressure area and reduces the resistance from the Boss Cap fin.

Optimal vessel operation support system
This system monitors the operational status of vessels and utilizes the latest ocean meteorological data to determine optimal routes in terms of safe operation, on-time departure/arrival and minimal fuel consumption, taking into consideration the performance characteristics of specific vessel types.

Optimal trim calculation system
Optimization of draft and trim is becoming popular as a technique for reducing ships' CO2 emissions. CFD(*2)calculations, tank tests, and full-scale vessel tests have been conducted with a focus on optimal trim to cut fuel consumption, and trim optimization has been shown to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 4%. MOL is now developing a system to calculate with high precision from small amounts of vessel data in joint research.

(*2) CFD : Computational Fluid Dynamics

Low-friction hull paint
Minute concaves in the paint film trap the water, smoothen the rough surface and reduce frictional resistance. MOL's performance analyses have confirmed a more than 3% improvement in energy conservation, although differences exist between individual vessels. The next-generation paint (A-LF-Sea) is now being tested.

Vessel equipped with high-efficiency waste heat energy recovery system
High-efficiency waste heat energy recovery systemThe bulk carrier Azul Brisa, equipped with a high-efficiency waste heat energy recovery system, was delivered on June 16, 2014. This high-efficiency waste heat energy recovery system uses waste heat energy recovered from the main engine to generate electricity with a hybrid turbocharger equipped to generate power, and a turbo generator, which is combined with a steam turbine. The electricity generated satisfies electrical demands of the vessel, and can be used for propulsion through the main engine's shaft motor fitted to the crankshaft, helping to reduce CO2 emissions by reducing fuel consumption of the power generator and the main engine.

Offshore testing of the vessel has confirmed a reduction of more than 5% in CO2 emissions. Developed along similar lines, a propulsion assist system using the main engine's waste heat energy has been highly evaluated, and was selected for the 2014 Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers (JASNAOE) Award (for inventions, designs, etc.).

These systems represent one of the steps taken towards the realization of future marine engines in the ISHIN-III, the next-generation series of ships announced in April 2010.

A Commitment to ECO SAILING

ECO SAILING is an approach to saving fuel and reducing environmental impact. Together with R&D on environmental technologies, we are also using operational measures to reduce fuel consumption. Specifically, we 1) decelerate to the most economical navigation speeds, 2) take advantage of weather and sea condition forecasts, 3) take the optimum trim, 4) select optimum routes, 5) reduce vessels' wetted surfaces, 6) optimize operation and maintenance of main engines, auxiliary equipment and other machinery, 7) develop energy efficient ship designs, and 8) equip vessels with Propeller Boss Cap Fins (PBCF).

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