China launches electric cargo ship to carry…coal ?!!


China Daily announced that “the world’s first 2,000-metric-ton all-electric cargo ship has been launched in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.”

It is the first cargo ship in the world to use lithium-ion batteries. It

The ship is 70 metres long (about 225 feet) with battery energy of 2,400 kilowatt hours, the equivalent of about 40 electric cars.  It takes about 2 hours to charge up for a run of 80 kms with a top speed of 12.8 kmh (7 knots), according to its builder, Guangzhou Shipyard International.

Huang Jialin, chairman and general manager of the ship’s designer, Hangzhou Modern Ship Design & Research Co., somehow convinced himself to give this quote: “As the ship is fully electric powered, it poses no threats to the environment.”

Unfortunately, the ship’s task is delivering coal to run China’s power plants to generate the electricity for the ‘no threat to the environment’ ship.

In even more ‘good news’ Chen went on to enthuse about how much more coal the ship could carry. “Theoretically, the fully electric-powered ship could have more capacity in cargo loading. If it is equipped with larger energy batteries, it will carry goods of more than 2,000 tons.”

And Chen said  the other great benefit of the ship’s technology is that “use of the new-energy cargo vessel would help greatly reduce shipping costs for electric power operators.” So they wouldn’t have to spend so much money to, you know, burn coal.

Read the full article at China Daily
Photo Credit:  Xia Shiyani/China Daily

Jaguar-Vector smashes decade-old electric boat speed record

Back in 2008 an upstart company called Tesla was just introducing an electric car it called The Roadster.

Electric cars were a novelty at the time, and electric powered boats even more so. But out on the water that year, a maritime speed record of 76.8 MPH (122 kmh) was being set. And it wasn’t until last week, a full decade later, that the record was broken when Jaguar took some of the learning from their Formula E car racing experiences and teamed up with boat manufacturer Vector to create a boat that hit 88.6 MPH (142 kmh) over a 1 mile stretch on the tranquil waters of England’s Coniston Water lake.

Vector has been involved in powerboat racing since 2012, and is the most watched powerboat racing team in the world, with 600K social media followers.

Jaguar, of course, is Jaguar, and only got back into auto racing in 2016 when it became the first premium manufacturer to join the Formula E series. Its Panasonic Jaguar team with drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. and Mitch Evans sits in 5th place coming in to the last race of the season in New York on July 14 and 15.

The SeaBubble electric boatThe Jaguar V20E boat that set the record was piloted by Jaguar/Vector co-founder Peter Dredge and everyone is pretty tight lipped about the specifics of the motor, battery and controller, which was developed in concert with Williams Advanced Engineering. Check out the video below for as many details as can be gleaned.

In a press release last October the team made it clear that they would be pushing the boundaries of marine speed records, so we probably have not seen the last of this.

As for electric boats in general, there has not been a lot of companies jumping into the water, but the German company Torqueedo has a range of e-motors and announced they have teamed up with BMW on an entry in sailing’s Vendée Globe solo, around-the-world race in 2020. The SeaBubble battery powered hydroplane  (photo above) was launched on the Seine river in Paris in early June.

Jaguar’s all electric I-Pace car made its own debut at the Berlin Formula E race this year and the company has announced that it will be getting out of fossil fuel burning cars by 2020.

Luxury boats go all-electric

Electrification is starting to surge through the automotive industry as countries implement emission regulations and the cost of batteries and associated technology drops.

While the automotive sector will clearly affect a larger group of people, numerous companies have shown that boats too can go all-electric.

The Hinckley Dasher uses two 60-kilowatt (80-horsepower) electric motors and a waterproof variant of the lithium-ion battery pack found in the BMW i3 electric car.

Read more at Green Car Reports

Norway leads an electric ferry revolution

Back in 2014 one of Norway’s major ferry companies, Norled, announced the world’s first fully electric battery powered car ferry. Now electric ferries are becoming the latest must-have for one of the world’s most maritime-travel intense nations.

If you’ve ever seen a map of Norway, you’ll know that ferries are a big deal. It’s coastline has thousands of fjord inlets, and if you take into account all of them, it has 25,148 km of coastline – the 8th longest in the world. Just behind Australia (25,760) and well ahead of The U.S. (19,924) and China (14,500). 

Named ‘Ampere’ after the unit of electric current, it went into service in June of 2015 and in its first two years sailed a distance equivalent to 4 times around the Equator, racking it up 6 km at a time by shuttling back and forth between two little ports called Lavik and Oppedal.

The boat stops for only 10 minutes at each end, and using a charger from Corvus Energy it gets an electric top up in those 10 minutes and a full re-charge overnight. It makes 34 crossings a day. With no fossil fuel expenses. No wonder Norled’s competitors want one. 

Others are jumping in on the electric ferry future

The largest ferry operator in Norway – Fjord 1 – ordered en electric ferry from the same class as Ampere – ZeroCat – but of course it boasts higher speeds and carries more cars and people. Ferries and passenger boats run by Fjord1 carry 10.5 million vehicles and 21.5 million passengers a year.

And these aren’t the only electric ferries in the country:

  • in late January Fjord 1 received a delivery of two Turkey-manufactured electric ferries
  • the country’s public transport provider Boreal has one on order
  • on the scenic touring side of things a 400 passenger catamaran “Future of the Fjords” will start cruising the waters of the country’s famously majestic fjords in April (see video below)
  • and Siemens sees the market as so promising that it is moving its battery production for electric marine vessels to Norway this spring

Beyond that, they also look pretty neat.

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We sometimes forget that the path to batteries and chargers and other systems that can get us to a drastically reduced carbon future are being built and tested every day in applications like these.

They get better and better with each iteration, and the learning and technology is used not just in other boats but in both personal items like car chargers and mega-sized industrial items like electric storage for wind and solar farms.

On Norway!! (and they’re also leading the medal count at the Winter Olympics!)

Sails with solar panels could help cut cargo ship use of the world’s dirtiest fuels

The bunker fuel used in ocean going cargo ships is pretty well the dirtiest on the planet. And each one uses a lot of it, nearly 289 million tons a year according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, quoting an analysis by Chris Wade in an ENFOS article, says “only 15 cargo ships can produce the same amount of pollution as all of the cars in the world (our emphasis).“

Now Japan’s Eco Marine Power (EMP) has signed a patent license agreement with Teramoto Iron Works to bring to life their EnergySail, enabling ships to use solar and wind energy at the same time. The EMP automated rigid sails assist in propelling a ship and can also be fitted with flexible marine-grade solar panels. These provide electrical power fed into a ship’s power system (which is currently run by the engines) or charge batteries.

Teramoto’s experience in the production of rigid sails goes back to JAMDA sails in Japan in the 1980’s which in turn led to them being chosen to manufacture the first production version of EMP’s EnergySail in 2016. This latest agreement with EMP paves the way for full commercial production once sea trials have been completed.

Last year a feasibility study was conducted with ship owner Hisafuku Kisen K.K. of Onomichi, Japan involving several large bulk carriers. For each ship the propulsive power provided by an EnergySail array was measured along with the total amount of solar power that could be installed on each type of vessel.

futurism reports that “once the testing is over, one ship from the fleet will be chosen for a 12 to 18 month trial. The selected ship will be fitted with an array of EnergySails, solar panels on deck, and the hardware necessary to monitor and control every part of the system.”

The final optimized version is expected to be ready in 2019. Greg Atkinson, EMP’s Director & Chief Technology Officer said ”We believe this will pave the way towards the widespread adoption of renewable energy on ships.”

Anything that can be done to reduce the emissions from ocean going ships is by its very nature a good thing. This is a major step forward to a more sustainable future for shipping and is expected to result in the wider deployment of EMP’s solutions on ships ranging from coastal cargo vessels to bulk ore carriers and cruise ships.