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Japanese consortium e5 Lab initiates development of electrically powered ROBOSHIP

25 Aug 2020

Japanese shipping consortium e5 Lab Inc said it has started developing the ROBOSHIP – standard models of electrically powered vessels to realize zero emissions, as well as an integrated system called the “ROBOSHIP BOX,” which brings together telecommunications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and software. 

Through this initiative, e5 Lab noted it  is working to address critical issues facing Japan’s ocean shipping and maritime industries, including a shortage of seafarers, environmental concerns, safety, and the sustainable growth of the shipbuilding/ship machinery sectors. 

With strategic partners in Japan and overseas, the development project team will target the commercialization of electric-powered merchant vessels that adopt world-class propulsion systems at the most competitive price in the global market.

The team developed two types of electric vessels in the ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0, with standard gross tonnage specifications — 499 tons and 749 tons. 

The company said the ships will be able to achieve the same speed and sailing range as vessels currently in service, while achieving zero-emission operation in port, due to the large-capacity storage batteries in combination with a diesel-powered generator. 

The ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0 can significantly reduce not only the workload of seafarers, but also lower the risk of mechanical problems and decrease maintenance costs, as the motors are powered solely by electricity. 

The team’s current target is to keep construction costs less than 5% above the cost of comparable existing vessels and it is slated for delivery within 2022.

Together with its partners, e5 Lab added that it will promote the ROBOSHIP and accelerate maritime digital transformation (DX) by offering the ROBOSHIP BOX as well as the EV powertrain, which is a key technology of the ROBOSHIP, to all interested shipyards and shipowners. 

The ROBOSHIP BOX is the foundation that connects the vessel and shore and enables shore-side support using digital technology. 

Related: Newly formed ‘e5 Consortium’ to boost use of zero-emission electric vessels in Japan
Related: Asahi Tanker orders world’s first zero-emission electric propulsion bunker tankers

Photo credit: e5 Lab Inc
Published: 25 August, 2020

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