Japanese companies will develop autonomous navigation for a fleet of pure electric-propulsion passenger vessels to operate in a marine urban environment within four years
Kansai Electric Power Co (Kepco) has partnered with e5 Lab Inc (e5) to develop these pilot-less electric vessels to operate in the Kansai bay area in Japan.
These vessels will be engineered, built, commissioned and in service in preparation for the Osaka/Kansai Expo, which is scheduled to take place in 2025.
Kepco and e5 will work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from urban passenger travel with unmanned vessels and barges in this project, jointly developing autonomous navigation systems, batteries, and shore-power for electric vessels of various designs.
They are looking for partners to provide autonomous navigation and onboard energy storage and distribution.
e5 will be responsible for planning and developing the next-generation electric vessels, with improved comfort for passengers. Noise and vibration will be reduced due to their onboard electrification.
e5 will also consider various transportation options and create entertainment spaces on the vessels through flexible architecture and interior design.
Kepco will develop bidirectional wireless charge and discharge systems for large-capacity storage batteries, which will power these electric vessels.
e5 Lab is part of a Japanese consortium working to develop an all-electric tanker. The seven members of the e5 Consortium are: Asahi Tanker, Idemitsu Kosan, Exeno-Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui OSK Lines, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, Tokyo Electric Power Company and Mitsubishi Corporation.
The consortium’s aim is to establish a platform that offers innovative ocean shipping infrastructure services based on electric vessels. In the first phase of the project, the consortium plans to launch the world’s first zero-emissions electric tanker, powered by large-capacity lithium ion batteries, in March 2022.
Tokyo Kisen Co and e5 Lab Inc are jointly developing a fully electric harbour tugboat powered by batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.
They also intend to install an e5 powertrain on e5 Tug. This uses a large-capacity battery system as a main power source, with a hydrogen fuel cell and generator for auxiliary power. This will all drive two 1,500-kW azimuthal thrusters. Tokyo Kisen plans to operate this tug in Yokohama and Kawasaki port areas from 2022.
Electric-powered vessel design will be covered in depth during Riviera’s Maritime Hybrid & Electric, Europe virtual conference on 9-11 December - use this link for more details and to register for this exciting event