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Published: 1 July 2012      

MOL introduces "cold ironing" alternative

Instead of installing shore power, why not install clean hybrid power on the ship?

Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd. (MOL) has completed what it claims is the first hybrid car carrier, EMERALD ACE, designed to generate zero emissions at berth. The 6400 CEU capacity, 200m long vessel has just been completed at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe shipyard.

The vessel is equipped with a hybrid electric power supply system that combines a 160 kW solar generation system, jointly developed by MHI, Panasonic Energy Company and MOL, with lithium-ion batteries that can store around 2.2MWh of electricity. Instead of using diesel-powered auxiliary generators to supply electricity at berth, on the EMERALD ACE electricity is generated by the solar power generation system while the vessel is at sea and stored in the lithium-ion batteries.

All generators are shut down when the ship is in berth, and the batteries provide all the electricity it needs, resulting in zero emissions at the pier.

The vessel's hybrid system represents a significant step forward in realising ISHIN-I, the concept for the next-generation car carrier that MOL announced in September 2009. MOL continues to take a proactive stance in technological development with the aim of reducing the environmental burden of its vessels and operations.

The development of the EMERALD ACE was subsidised by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as a project to help reduce CO2 emissions from ocean-going vessels, and received support from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai as a cooperative development project to reduce greenhouse gases produced by ocean shipping operations.

Although MOL does not actally make the point itself, its initiative provides an obvious alternative to installing AMP (alternative marine power) grid electricity at the berth with matching equipment installed on the ship ("cold ironing"). As yet there are no cost comparisons available.


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  • Asia) Japan) Japan shipping
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Mitsui-OSK Lines
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  • Panasonic Energy Company
  • Cold ironing
  • Hybrid power
  • Fuel and air quality
  • Solar energy
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