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MOL and three other Japanese firms to develop fully electric vessels

Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and three compatriot firms have joined hands to establish a new company that will develop and promote zero-emission fully electric vessels.

MOL, Asahi Tanker Co, Mitsubishi Corp, and Exeno Yamamizu Corp have set up e5 Lab Inc that will consolidate the technologies, know-how and network of the four major shareholders.

The first objective for e5 Lab will be to build the world’s first zero-emission tanker by mid-2021.

The tanker will be on coastal trade powered by large-capacity batteries and will operate in Tokyo Bay.

At the same time, e5 Lab will develop a platform to provide a lineup of services that takes advantage of electrically-powered vessels and other cutting edge technologies. The aim is to leverage this platform to encourage sustainable growth and development within the shipping industry.

Furthermore, e5 Lab will promote the electrification of both coastal and oceangoing vessels, and pool the technologies, human resources and operational know-how to achieve the 50% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of the IMO.

The IMO wants to see annual GHG emission drop to half their levels by 2025 compared to 2008.

Meanwhile, there are several challenges that will need to be addressed by e5 Lab. The new company will seek to improve working environments and mitigate crew shortages by upgrading onboard communication systems, leverage on sensor technologies to improve ship maintenance and management, allowing aging vessels to be operated as safely as possible.

Sailing technologies and big data will be used to provide onshore support for crews, and an electric-vessel platform will be offered to all stakeholders in the marine shipping sector to help develop a sustainable growth model for the industry.

Standards will be proposed on the swift and broader application of next-generation technologies, and e5 Lab will leverage large-capacity, rechargeable batteries to provide emergency backup power.

Read more: MOL launches working group for zero emission alternative fuel

“By delivering five kinds of e-value – electrification, environment, evolution, efficiency and economics – e5 Lab will offer new innovation to the society,” the four Japanese firms said in a joint statement.

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