Massive electric oil tankers are coming – oh the irony

A group of large Japanese companies have come together to form a consortium that will build the infrastructure for the development and launch of large electric vessels such as oil tankers.

Oil tankers and cargo ships are some of the largest and most polluting vehicles in the world.

Some of the largest cargo ships in the world emit pollution comparable to that of millions of passenger cars combined. The heavy fuel oil they burn is high in sulfur, making it an important part of the global transportation industry that needs to be converted to battery power.

For this reason, 7 important Japanese companies have set up the “e5 consortium”, the aim of which is to set up new infrastructure services for maritime shipping “through various initiatives for the development, implementation and marketing of emission-free electric ships”.

Here are the 7 companies involved:

  • Asahi Tanker Co.
  • Idemitsu Kosan Co.
  • Exeno Yamamizu Corporation
  • Mitsui OSK Lines
  • Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co.
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company
  • Mitsubishi Corporation

You wrote in a press release yesterday:

“The coastal shipping industry in Japan faces structural problems, such as a lack of seafarers due to the aging of seafarers, not to mention the aging of ships. In addition, maritime shipping has urged coastal shipping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as one of Japan’s measures to combat climate change. The seven members of the e5 consortium are focused on realizing the potential of electric vehicles to solve these pressing problems. The aim of the consortium is to create a platform that provides innovative maritime infrastructure services based on electric vehicles that leverage the strength, technological know-how, networks and other advantages of each member company. “

The first part of the project is “to bring the world’s first zero-emission electric tanker to market in March 2022, powered by large-capacity lithium-ion batteries”.

They published this all-electric tanker concept:

In another press release, Asahi Tanker released some specifications of the ship, which will be equipped with a massive 3.5 MWh battery:

(1) dimension LOA 62M / beam 10.30 M / draft 4.15 M.
(2) classification NK
(3) freight heavy oil
(4) gross tonnage Approx. 499 tons
(5) speed about 11 knots
(6) Tank capacity about 1,300 m3
(7) Drive device Azimuth thruster 300 kW x 2
(8) side thrusters 68kW x 2
(9) basic battery capacity 3,500 kWh

They are already planning two ships to be deployed between March 2022 and March 2023.

In recent years we have made several efforts to electrify maritime transport.

Electrification is making its way into the ferry industry, but the transition is slower for cargo ships. Although a few years ago we saw a new all-electric cargo ship in China with a massive 2.4 MWh battery pack.

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