"e-Oshima," an automatic ship powered only by a battery Photo: GS Yuasa

'Zero-emission' ship powered only by battery

By Sousuke Kudou

Nagasaki-based Oshima Shipbuilding Co Ltd has built an automatic ship powered only by a battery.

The ship, "e-Oshima," is a "zero-emission ship" that uses a storage battery not only to provide a driving power but also supply power to communication/navigation/wireless devices, lighting equipment, air-conditioning systems and all the other devices used at the time of sailing.

The propulsion system of the ship uses GS Yuasa Corp's large-capacity lithium-ion (Li-ion) storage battery as a main power-supply device and includes a control device that protects the Li-ion battery in multiple ways. The nominal voltage and rated capacity of the system are 622V and 590kWh (14 modules connected in series x 10 modules connected in parallel x 2, each module consists of 12 cells), respectively.

By employing a next-generation IoT technology, an automatic steering system that enables automatic evading navigation to prevent collisions and stranding was introduced.

The maximum capacity of the ship is 50 people, and the ship can carry a large-size bus and four passenger cars at the same time. Its length and weight are 35m and 340t, respectively.

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Fuel-cell engine for bus, truck, ship etc seems much better than such Li-ion battery. The battery must be large and heavy, but Fuel-cell hydrogen tank is not heavy as gas is light.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

While I applaud the innovation and recognize that, in a technical, narrow sense the ship is zero emission, it really is misleading.

I would be very interested to know how much power is required to charge the battery. And if the battery is charged from the power grid, what is carbon footprint associated with the power generation with this electricity?

Further, what is the carbon and environmental footprint of the manufacture of the lithium ion battery?

The truth is that electric powered vehicles just obfuscate the carbon footprint associated with the vehicle.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

but Fuel-cell hydrogen tank is not heavy as gas is light

Hydrogen tanks are very heavy. If the hydrogen is a gas the tanks have to be huge and/or under immense pressure because hydrogen has a very low energy density. At 1 atm it is 0.0119 MegaJoules/liter, at 680 atm it is 5.32 MJ/l. Compared to gasoline at 34.2 MJ/l or diesel at 38.6 MJ/l. So either a big heavy tank or a smaller heavy pressurized tank. Now if you liquefy it you get up to 10.04 MJ/l but then you need heavy insulation to keep it liquid. With the power and range needed for a ship, hydrogen in any form is a poor choice.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In the last 70 years the atmospheric average temperature, worldwide, went up by about 1 degree C, from 14 C to 15 C, although the polar regions saw a much larger increase. Most predictions are for another increase, of 2 degrees C, within a few decades, which would put the global average atmospheric temperature at 17 Celsius, with no reason to think that the increases will stop at that point.

So the question is, how high can the average global temperature go without destroying human society, how high must it go before humanity goes extinct, and how long will those two threshholds take to cross? Will an average global temperature of 30 C be enough to kill off most of humanity? The way things are going, how long will it take to get to 30 or 40 C?

How long will it take for the temperature to get high enough to melt both the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps? There is enough fresh water locked up in those two bodies to raise global sea levels by over 60 meters, inundating much of the world's croplands.

Carbon Dioxide has a half life in the atmosphere of about 100 years, at least as long as the ocean continues to be able to absord most of it. That means that the CO2 currently in the atmosphere is not going away anytime soon, and meanwhile, we are not only continueing to produce too much CO2 and methane, the amount that we are producing continues to increase every year.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Complete BS, it just shifts the problem because it needs nuclear or coal burning supplied power to run.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If using wind, solar, hydroelectric, wave, and/or geothermal, recharging is carbon neutral too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Please say why you disagree with the science facts in my comment. Or is it the way I phrase? Thank you.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Great idea a battery powered ship... I would also add compressed air and solar power as auxiliary battery chargers

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would also add compressed air and solar power as auxiliary battery chargers

Compressed air requires some power source to compress it, and it has a very low energy density. Better to use whatever you had planned to power the compressors to directly power the vehicle.

And solar power is so dilute that the time and area needed to charge the batteries of anything but the smallest dinghy is huge and impracticable.

Please say why you disagree with the science facts in my comment.

The facts are wrong. Wind and hydroelectric require huge amounts of steel and concrete, major sources of carbon emissions. Wave and solar are far to dilute to be practicable for large vessels. And all 4 use resources that are mined in ways that cause environmental damage as bad, if not worse, than carbon emissions.

Geothermal, although not requiring much that generates carbon, is another dilute source and only found in certain geographical areas often far from where power is needed. It is fine, in the areas it exists, for houses and small buildings but not a vessel of any size.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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