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The Quest for Advanced Transport Technologies and a Cleaner Environment

In 2016, MOL launched the ISHIN NEXT -MOL SMART SHIP PROJECT-, a new technology development project that builds on the success of the Senpaku ISHIN project announced in 2009. The company researches diverse needs and the latest technologies as it advances on two axes of technology development - support technologies for safer vessel operation and technologies to reduce the environmental impact of transport operations. It moves toward these objectives by verifying the specific, practical effects of new technologies that can enhance its economic competitiveness and increase its corporate value.

Wind Challenger Project Builds Storehouse of Knowledge for the Future

The Wind Challenger Project is a joint industry-governmentacademia program looking at adopting huge extendable rigid sails on a large cargo ship, with the goal of reducing energy consumption by 50%, with a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions.
Spearheaded by the University of Tokyo, the project encompasses 13 organizations including MOL, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (Class NK), and shipbuilding companies. The participants developed largescale solid sails using composite materials, researched the major characteristics of the target ship type, studied fluid flow analy sis methods, and developed weather routing methods. MOL is one of the key players working to realize this revolutionary concept.

Constructing an LNG-fueled Tugboat
- 1st LNG Fueled Tugboat Serving Osaka Bay -

MOL is also moving ahead with the construction of an LNG-fueled tugboat. The majority of today's ships use diesel engines fueled by heavy oil, but switching to LNG fuel can reduce emissions of CO2, nitrogen oxide (NOx), and sulfur oxide (SOx).
Yanmar Co., Ltd. will supply LNG-fueled engines, and the tugboat will be constructed at Kanagawa Dockyard Co., Ltd. The highperformance dual fuel engines allow high-speed operation with superior environmental performance, and it will be the first LNG - fueled tugboat to escort large-scale cargo ships in Osaka Bay and the Seto Inland Sea. It will enter service in Osaka Bay in April 2019.
Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. will supply LNG fuel to the tugboat. Nihon Tug-Boat Co., Ltd. will operate it.
MOL will make the use of the know-how gained through development and operation of the tugboat in its future initiatives to promote the development and adoption of other LNG-fueled vessels.


LNG-fueled tugboat (image)

Redesigned, Refined Propeller Boss Cap Fins (PBCF)
- Meeting Higher Needs for Environmental Protection by Enhancing Energy-saving Performance -


Conventional PBCF
(inside red circle)


New type of PBCF

Propeller Boss Cap Fins (PBCF) have already been adopted on more than 3,100 vessels all over the world. MOL, Akishima Laboratories (Mitsui Zosen) Inc., and MOL Techno-Trade, Ltd. have jointly developed an upgraded PBCF that offers even greater energy-saving effects. The new design enhances propeller thrust and reduces torque thanks to refinements in fin shape and height. Tests of the new PBCF on vessels in service confirmed an energy savings of around 5% compared to sister vessels not equipped with PBCF.
The new PBCF design has already been patented around the world.
PBCF testing also confirmed a noise reduction of 3 to 6 decibels in a specific underwater frequency range by reducing cavitation (the formation/extinction of bubbles). As a result, the PBCF was selected by the Port of Vancouver (Canada)'s EcoAction Program for reducing cavitation and underwater noise that can negatively impact whales and other marine mammals.

Initiatives to Realize Autonomous Ships

MOL has pushed ahead with development of the fundamental technology for autonomous navigation, with the aim of enhancing safety and efficiency. The objectives are to provide the critical information that maritime officers need and to develop a system to detect and avoid obstacles during vessel operation.
Our group teamed up with Furuno Electric Co., Ltd. to develop a system that supports ship operation during voyages using Augmented Reality (AR) technology. And we are accelerating our initiative on practical use of Rolls-Royce Marine's Intelligence Awareness System (IAS), adapting the system to an MOL-operated car carrier and coastal ferry for verification tests.


IAS in use

20,000 TEU Containership Reflects a Host of Environmental Initiatives

The 20,000 TEU containership delivered in 2017 adopts various technologies to reduce environmental impact.

Optimized hull design

Design refinements in the bow and stern of the hull, and the optimized bulbous bow shape are expected to realize a 4.5% improvement in fuel efficiency.

For the shift to LNG fuel

MOL has studied installation of equipment and machinery that can run on LNG, significantly reducing SOx emissions.

SOx scrubber retrofitting

The vessel is designed to simplify retrofitting of a SOx scrubber, in addition to the LNG conversion, offering even greater flexibility in responding to fuel supply conditions.

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