A new partnership between Eco Marine Power (EMP) and the Japanese ship owner Hisafuku Kisen K.K. of Onomichi will test the world’s first integrated rigid sail and solar power system for ships.
Eco Marine Power is a technology-focused company working on ways to introduce renewable energy to the shipping industry. The new solution under development is called Aquarius Marine Renewable Energy, and it will allow ships to make use of solar energy both while in port and while they sail.
The company will combine its EnergySails technology, which includes solar panels mounted on the covers of large bulk carrier ships, with energy storage applications controlled with a computer-based monitoring system.
The rigid sails can be configured with a mix of sensors, not limited to photovoltaic panels. The company states that “other power generation devices” can be applied including wind turbines.
During 2018, the two partners will conduct feasibility studies using multiple large bulk carrier ships in order to estimate the share of energy needs that can be met through solar power during each trip, and the number of solar arrays that can be installed.
Depending on the results of the testing, one ship will be selected for the complete installation of the new system. This specific ship will be monitored for 12 to 18 months to identify the benefits and measure the cost reductions the technology can achieve.
In 2016, European Union figures showed that the maritime transport industry is responsible for more than 1000 million tonnes of carbon annually, accounting for approximately 2.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
However, a ship’s energy consumption could be reduced by up to 75 percent if shipping companies applied existing technologies and operational measures.
This is why the main argument is whether the energy savings renewable energy technologies can offer can attract the industry’s attention- which is what the new innovative system will test.
Greg Atkinson, Chief Technology Officer and Founder of Eco Marine Power, said: “We believe Aquarius MRE will pave the way towards the widespread adoption of renewable energy on ships”.