Hybrid ships to take Japan's hybrid cars to the world

June 26, 2012

By YOSHIHIRO YASUKAWA/ Staff Writer

KOBE--Even the vessels shipping Japanese cars around the world are now becoming hybrids.

The Emerald Ace, a 60,200-ton car carrier that combines solar power panels with a diesel engine, was shown to the media on June 25 at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Kobe Shipyard and Machinery Works.

A ceremony to mark the official completion of construction is set for June 29.

The ship is expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 4 percent on a two-month voyage to Europe, officials said.

The 199-meter-long vessel can carry 6,400 passenger cars. The 768 solar power panels installed on its deck have an output capacity of 160 kilowatts, enough to power 50 average households.

Energy is stored in 324,000 lithium-ion batteries in the ship’s hold and fed through to the engine. Excess energy is used to power the ship’s radar instruments, lighting, air conditioning and other equipment.

The Emerald Ace shuts down its diesel engine and relies totally on batteries when in port. It is the first ship in the world to produce no emissions while not at sea, according to shipowner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.

Panasonic Corp. developed the system that integrates the solar panels with the ship's batteries. The Emerald Ace will be loaded at several ports in Japan before heading for Europe.

By YOSHIHIRO YASUKAWA/ Staff Writer
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The Emerald Ace hybrid car carrier has 768 solar panels on its deck. (Provided by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.)

The Emerald Ace hybrid car carrier has 768 solar panels on its deck. (Provided by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.)

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  • The Emerald Ace hybrid car carrier has 768 solar panels on its deck. (Provided by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.)
  • Solar panels on the deck of the Emerald Ace (Yoshihiro Yasukawa)

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