Tokyo-based firm e5 Lab and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding have agreed to provide the design for ROBOSHIP, a standard hybrid electric propulsion vessel the two companies are seeking to promote as a vision for the future of ships, for a 499-tonne biomass fuel carrier being built by Honda Heavy Industries for Asahi Tanker.
“The widespread adoption of the futuristic ROBOSHIP has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions in the coastal vessel industry, and lessen the workload for crews,” Mitsubishi Shipbuilding stated in a release.
ROBOSHIP utilises a standard system package comprising the hardware for electric propulsion, including propellers, motors, switchboards, storage batteries, and generator. The system is able to handle a cargo ship of up to around 749 tonnes. The ship foregoes conventional diesel engines that require fossil fuel in favour of a hybrid system of large-capacity storage batteries and generators to drive the propulsion motors.
The adoption of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding’s twin skeg ship design lowers propulsion horsepower by more than 20%, reducing CO2 emissions during cruising, and allowing the ship to navigate completely CO2-free during port operations such as freight loading and unloading, pier docking and undocking, and entering or leaving port. The generators are capable of switching between fuels including liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, ammonia, biofuel, and synthetic fuel, allowing all operations, including navigation, to be CO2-free.