With business activities spread across the globe, protecting the global environment is included as one of MOL's top priorities, alongside safe operation, in the MOL Group Corporate Principles. The Senpaku ISHIN project, our concept for next-generation vessels, is a ground breaking initiative that helps protect the environment in a substantive way by reducing CO2 emissions using feasible technologies.
The very large iron ore carrier delivered in 2014 is equipped with a high-efficiency system for using waste heat energy from the main engine, one of the main component technologies in the ISHIN-III. This high-efficiency waste heat energy recovery system features a generator combining exhaust gas and steam turbines that can generate electricity by effectively recovering exhaust gas energy through the optimal control of both. This electricity will be supplied to auxiliary motors to provide additional propulsion force. The adoption of this technology is expected to reduce fuel consumption by approximately 6% compared with main engine of similar types of vessel, thereby contributing to lower CO2 emissions.
The Emerald Ace, the world's first hybrid car carrier, was delivered in 2012. This vessel achieves zero emissions while at berth by using electricity generated by solar power while at sea with a hybrid power supply system that combines a solar power generation system with lithium-ion batteries. After operating this vessel for one year, MOL has confirmed that it has achieved zero emissions while at berth and that the load on diesel power generators has been reduced by approximately 4.2%. With further refinement and cost reduction, the core technologies in this vessel harbor the potential to be widely used.
Hybrid Power Supply System for Realizing Zero Emissions While at Berth
The Emerald Ace hybrid car carrier is equipped with a hybrid power supply system that combines a solar power generation system with lithium-ion batteries. Conventional power generation systems use diesel power generators to supply power to the ship while at berth, but the Emerald Ace is equipped with lithium-ion batteries that are charged by solar power generation systems while at sea. The ship then uses this power while at berth, which allows the diesel power generators to be completely shut off. The result is "zero emissions while at berth."
The solar panels installed on the deck of the vessel are doublesided glass panels that boast outstanding durability in terms of resistance to salt damage and wind pressure, for example. The solar panels generate 160 kW of electricity (there are 768 panels (210 W) covering an area of 1,079 m2), the most of any vessel in the world.
Power is generated and charged while at sea
The system employs lithium-ion batteries with outstanding energy density for storing electricity generated by the solar panels in a restricted space aboard the vessel. The vessel uses 320,000 batteries, which are also used in PCs and other applications, to store some 2.2 MWh of electricity (which is the equivalent of the electricity consumed by 200 ordinary homes). What's more, the high-performance power management system efficiently controls the power with top priority afforded to safety.
Power is used while berthed
The development of a specialized engine is one of the key themes for creating LNG-fueled vessels. In April 2013, MOL and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (MES) 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.
(*) This engine can burn heavy fuel oil, which has been used in ocean-going vessels, and also environmentally-friendly natural gas.
Compared to vessels that use heavy fuel oil, vessels running on LNG will emit substantially less CO2 (carbon dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxide), SOx (sulfur oxide), and PM (particulate matter). Since beginning to consider environmentally-friendly ferries, MOL has worked on researching LNG-fueled vessels. Amid moves to progressively strengthen international regulations governing vessel exhaust gases, MOL is working in earnest on R&D for vessel types other than ferries.