Japanese company PowerX has unveiled plans to design and build an automated power transfer vessel to carry electricity from offshore wind farms to shore by 2025. The aim is to enable energy transmission between any two ports on the planet.
PowerX said it will develop a vessel with a massive battery payload that is integrated with the ship’s controls that is resilient to natural disasters, requires less time and cost for development and leaves minimal impact on the environment compared to subsea power cables.
“As the world shifts away from fossil fuels, the energy ship of the future will carry electricity from clean and renewable sources, replacing the fuel-carrying carbon ships of today,” the company said.
The very first model of the so-called Power ARK series, “Power ARK 100”, is a 100 teu trimaran specially designed for transferring renewable energy in Japan’s coastal waters. When completed, the ship will carry 100 grid batteries, or 200 MWh of power, equivalent to the total electricity consumption of 22,000 Japanese households in a day.
The vessel can travel up to 300 km when running only on electricity and will be able to unlock long-distance, intercontinental clean power transmission when it is powered by both electricity and sustainable biodiesel fuel.
To realise its vision, PowerX will also be building a giga-scale battery assembly facility in Japan to mass-produce batteries for the next generation of energy transfer ships. The factory’s annual production capacity will reach 1 GWh by 2024, and will eventually reach 5 GWh by 2028.
Currently, Paolo Cerruti, co-founder and COO of Northvolt, Caesar Sengupta, ex-VP and general manager at Google, and Mark Tercek, former CEO of The Nature Conservancy and former partner at Goldman Sachs, are the non-executive directors of PowerX.