Japanese Companies to Launch First Zero-Emission Electric Tanker

World’s first zero-emission electric tanker - courtesy Asahi Tanker

Published May 22, 2020 4:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

In the latest move to develop new green technologies for the shipping industry, seven Japanese companies announced the establishment of the “e5 Consortium” to develop, realize, and commercialize zero-emission electric vessels. e5 stands for the five core values of the project, which are: electrification, environment, evolution, efficiency, and economics.

The new consortium expands on the efforts of the e5 Lab, which had been established by four of the companies in August 2019. Its goal is to help Japan’s shipping industry address the challenge of curbing greenhouse gas emissions through the development of new technologies including electric vessels. Since its formation, e5 Lab has announced several initiatives, including jointly studying marine broadband services with SoftBank and a study on hydrogen hybrid PCC to develop electrically powered zero-emission vessels.

As the first phase of the project, the consortium will work with a previously announced plan to develop the world’s first zero-emission electric tanker, powered by large-capacity lithium-ion batteries. The goal is to launch the vessel in March 2022.

Working with designs developed by e5 Lab, Asahi Tanker, one of the members of the consortium, announced in March 2020 that it would build two of the world’s first zero-emission electric propulsion tankers for use in Tokyo Bay as a marine fuel supply vessel. The goal is to achieve zero emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxide), SOx (sulfur oxide), and smoke by completely electrify the ship’s core energy systems. In addition, the vessel will employ digital tools, including various automated equipment, to reduce the crew’s workload and improve operating efficiency.

The seven e5 Consortium corporate members are focusing their attention on fulfilling the potential of electric vessels to solve the urgent issues facing Japan’s coastal shipping industry, including an aging workforce that is contributing to a shortage of mariners, operating older vessels, and the need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases as one of Japan’s measures to address climate change. The consortium aims to establish a platform that offers innovative ocean shipping infrastructure services based on electric vessels bringing to bear the strength, technological know-how, networks, and other advantages of each member company.

e5 Lab will serve as the executive office of the e5 Consortium, which consists of  Asahi Tanker Co., Ltd., Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd., Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Mitsubishi Corporation.

Video supplied by e5 Labs