Four Japanese companies are joining forces to develop and promote the infrastructure necessary to drive the use of electrically powered vessels.
Asahi Tanker, a pioneer in this field, has teamed with Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Mitsubishi Corporation to create e5 Lab, a joint venture designed to spur the development of electric ships.
“The new company will develop a platform to provide a lineup of services that takes advantage of electrically powered vessels and other cutting-edge technologies. The aim is to leverage this platform to encourage sustainable growth and development within the marine shipping industry,” the companies said in a joint statement.
The first objective for e5 Lab will be to build the world’s first zero-emission tanker by mid-2021. The tanker, likely to be based on earlier concept designs from Asahi Tanker, will be a coastal vessel powered by large-capacity batteries and will operate in Tokyo Bay. The company will also look to develop other kinds of electrically powered vessels.
Supporting companies to the initiative are heavyweight and from a variety of other sectors who can provide real know-how. They include Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT), Class NK, the Shipbuilding Research Centre of Japan, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Tokyo Electric Power Company and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Company.
Oshima Shipbuilding from Nagasaki has just delivered Japan’s first battery powered ship, a 35 m long ferry.