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Giant oil tanker goes electric with massive 3.5 MWh battery pack

Fred Lambert


The project to build the first all-electric oil tanker is moving forward, and it is going to be equipped with a massive 3.5 MWh battery pack. Oil tankers and cargo ships are some of the biggest and most polluting vehicles on the planet. Some of the world’s largest cargo ships emit pollution comparable to millions of passenger cars combined. The heavy fuel oil that they burn has high sulphur content, and therefore it is an important part of the world’s transportation industry that needs to transition to being battery-powered. Last year, a consortium of Japanese companies announced that they were teaming up to develop the world’s first all-electric tanker. One of the companies, Asahi Tanker, announced that they ordered two of the new electric tankers and they plan to put them in operations as soon as March 2022 and March 2023.

Asahi commented: The two tankers will achieve zero emissions of CO2, NOx, SOx, and particulates thanks to their all- electric core energy system, dramatic- ally reducing environmental impact. In addition, their reduced noise and vibration will create a more comfortable work environment for the crew members and limit noise pollution in the bay and its surroundings.

Recently, Corvus Energy was chosen as the battery pack supplier for the project, and it is one of the most interesting parts of this new vessel.

It takes a lot of energy to move a 62- meter-long ship. Corvus’s battery pack will have a capacity of almost 3.5 MWh: Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) was awarded the contract for the ship’s propulsion system on Sept 2020 and will integrate the 3,480 kWh Orca ESS from Corvus to power the vessel.

Ironically, the all-electric vessels will be used to carry fuels for other vessels.

Interestingly, the vessel will also have a secondary use. Since its battery pack is so big, it will make its battery power available to emergency services in the case of a natural disaster in Tokyo.

We have recently seen an acceleration of the electrification of larger ships, starting with the ferry industry, but the transition is slower for cargo ships. We have seen a new all-electric cargo ship with a massive 2.4 MWh battery pack launch in China a few years ago, and now these new electric tankers are also leading the way.

Elektrek 16 Feb 2021

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