The Japanese consortium e5 Lab has designed Roboship, a biomass fuel carrier, powered by a fully standardised, electric propulsion system to attain zero-emission operations in port. Honda Heavy Industries will build the ship while ABB will supply the modularised electrical propulsion package.

The Japanese shipping industry wants to achive net zero GHG by 2050. One of its most significant initiatives is e5 Lab Inc., a consortium comprising Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Mitsubishi Corporation, with the purpose of developing renewably powered commercial ships.

E5 Lab’s Roboship is 70 metres long with a gross tonnage of 499. Its electrical propulsion package enables it to utilise multiple energy sources for optimised operational efficiency and emissions-free operations. Additional benefits of the system include reduced noise and vibration, lower maintenance costs, and improved steering capabilities that make pier docking and undocking operations easier.

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DC Grid power distribution system

ABB’s Onboard DC Grid power distribution system is modular and can be built to suit various vessel types – from the largest ocean-going ships to smaller lower-power vessels operating over shorter distances and on inland waterways. The solution future-proofs ships to draw on clean energy sources for zero-emissions operations – without compromising speed or sailing range.

Onboard DC Grid also reduces the footprint of the electrical equipment by eliminating the need for bulky transformers and main switchboards. This creates more space for cargo, provides greater flexibility in the positioning of system components on board the vessel and increases payload capacity.

ABB’s full scope of supply includes a standard sytem package comprising the hardware for electric propulsion, including propulsion motors, DSC switchboards, energy storage batteries and generators, and ABB Ability Marine Remote Diagnostic System for continuous monitoring and remote support.

Picture: Conceptual graphic image of Roboship (courtesy e5 Lab, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding).

Also read: e5 Lab to develop zero-emission electric vessels