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Masterbulk “MV Panama” undergoes renewable energy upgrade

27 May 2019

Fukuoka-based maritime technology firm Eco Marine Power (EMP) on Friday (24 May) announced its Aquarius MAS + Solar solution has been installed by the crew of the general cargo ship MV Panamana with remote support provided by Zeaborn Ship Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. and EMP from Japan.

Over the next few weeks the solar power equipment will be integrated with EMP’s Aquarius Management & Automation System (MAS) and then put into service on the 54,694 metric tonne (mt) open hatch general cargo/container carrier with 2 x 70 MT gantry cranes.

The ship is owned by Masterbulk Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) and was built by Oshima Shipbuilding Co. Ltd in Japan.

According to EMP, MV Pananama has been the focus of a ship renewable energy study for a couple of years and the installation of the ship solar power equipment is a major milestone for the project.

The equipment installed on the ship so far includes a class-approved hybrid battery pack, battery charging equipment, flexible marine-grade photovoltaic (PV) panels with special mounting frames and a computer automation and management system.

Of particular note is that for this project the complete system was sent as installation kits and this allowed for the crew to install the equipment without the need of specialized tools and with technical support provided mainly online or via e-mail.

“Masterbulk is very interested to be part of these trials, made with the target to find out how green energy resources can contribute to reduce usage of fossil fuel,” stated Lars Modin, CEO at Masterbulk.

“We have a very good working relationship with Eco Marine Power and the promotion of alternative solutions for tangible fuel savings. Therefore, we are keen to see the results of those latest developments and what it can bring to shipping.”

“As a ship manager, it is our top priority to ensure safe and trouble-free vessel operations for the owner,” added Charan Singh, Managing Director of Zeaborn Ship Management (Singapore).

“The high level of technical know-how of our crews in combination with the well-prepared EMP installation kit allowed the implementation of the solar panel without interrupting the voyage vessel’s schedule.

“We hope that this success will help to promote the use of solar power in shipping to save fuel and reduce emissions".

“We are very appreciative of the support provided by the crew of MV Panamana and I’ve been impressed by the skill and dedication they have shown during the entire project,” commented Greg Atkinson, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Eco Marine Power.

“This has allowed us to achieve what I believe is a world first – the installation of a ship solar power system entirely by the crew while the ship operated normally. The solar panel array on the ship for example was installed whilst the ship was at sea.

“This project also dismisses the myth that solar power is difficult to install on ships or requires the ship to spend days alongside. Yes there were challenges, but thanks to years of R&D including ship solar power trials we were able to deal with these and this also allowed us to further fine tune our installation kits.

“If shipping companies are serious about reducing emissions then solar power is an option that can help achieve this and it’s ready now for use on almost any type of ship.”

Photo credit: Eco Marine Power
Published: 28 May, 2019


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