Masterbulk trials Japanese battery solution on 54,810 dwt ship

As part of a joint project with Singapore owner Masterbulk, Japan’s Eco Marine Power (EMP) announced today that an UltraBattery battery pack manufactured by the Furukawa Battery Company has been installed on the large general cargo ship, Panamana. This battery pack will later form part of an Aquarius Marine Solar Power solution developed by EMP and be evaluated jointly with Masterbulk and Zeaborn Ship Management.

The battery pack installed on the ship incorporates class-approved UB-50-12 valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries along with a marine-grade battery frame kit. This combination allowed for the batteries and frame kit to be loaded onto the ship and installed by the ship’s technical team with only remote support being required. The frame kit for the batteries was manufactured by Teramoto Iron Works.

The hybrid batteries used incorporate unique ultra capacitor technology and, along with the larger capacity UB-1000, are suitable for use on ships, offshore platforms and land-based applications.

Yasuhiro Kodaka, general manager of international sales at Furukawa Battery, claimed today, “These long-life and very reliable batteries offer a cost effective alternative to lithium-ion type batteries and are also relatively easier to install and maintain”.

Lars Modin, CEO at Masterbulk, stated, “At the core of Masterbulk’s corporate sustainability policy is a focus on protecting the planet and exploring the use of renewable energy on our ships, as part of our strategy to further reduce emissions and fuel consumption.”

Greg Atkinson, EMP’s chief technology officer, told Splash that the Masterbulk trials could herald the start of a huge transformation for shipping worldwide.

“Batteries of various types have the potential to transform shipping both in terms of enabling the electrification of ship propulsion systems and making ship-based renewable energy solutions viable,” Atkinson said.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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