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Eco Marine Power readies demonstration of wind and solar powered ship

Technology firm Eco Marine Power (EMP) announced that an innovative sail-assisted propulsion and solar power device for ships are ready for demonstrations and evaluation testing in Japan.

Fukuoka-based EMP said the EnergySail demonstration and test unit has been unveiled at the Onomichi Marine Tech Test Centre (MTTC) in Japan. This full-scale version of an EnergySail is an upgrade of the pre-production unit and represents one of the smaller types of EnergySail that will be put into commercial service.

Greg Atkinson, chief technology officer at EMP, said: “We have spent some years now working towards the commercial deployment of our EnergySail rather than simply installing a prototype onto a ship. This is because we have been focused on getting a class-approved and cost-effective sail-assisted propulsion system ready that can also be integrated with other systems via our Aquarius MRE solution.”

The EnergySail is a core sub-system of EMP’s Aquarius MRE (marine renewable energy) solution, which combines wind, solar, energy storage and marine computer technologies into a scalable clean energy system for a wide range of ships.

The solar power sub-system of Aquarius MRE has already been installed on ships and the next step will be to combine this with the EnergySail technology. A project to plan and install a complete Aquarius MRE solution is underway and it is anticipated that the installation of equipment will commence this year.

The patented EnergySail can be fitted with marine-grade solar panels and therefore it is capable of providing ships with a zero emissions source of supplementary propulsive power and electrical power.

Currently EMP is evaluating a number of photovoltaic (PV) panel types at the Onomichi MTTC and the type of PV panel to be used for sea trials will be determined by the middle of this year.

“Installing an integrated class-approved renewable energy system with the EnergySail’s as a source of zero emissions power will be a major step forward in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping,” Atkinson said.

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