Zero-emissions bulk carrier concept uses sails, fuel cells and solar power

Handymax bulk concept uses sails, solar, fuel cells and more to become zero emissions (Eco Marine Power)

Posted on 27 April 2022 13:09 by

The Maritime Executive

Japanese company Eco Marine Power has expanded on its earlier research by presenting its first design concept for a zero-emissions Handymax bulk carrier building on the previous design of a low-emissions vessel. The design is being developed under the Eco Marine Power Research Institute, which includes participation from StarBulk and ZEABORN Ship Management, among others.

Known as the Aquarius Eco Handymax II, the design incorporates a range of renewable energy solutions, energy saving devices, electric propulsion and fuel cells. According to Eco Marine, all technologies included in the design are currently available or under development. Additionally, they plan to test elements of the design on a Handymax bulk carrier in service later this year.

“The Aquarius Eco Handymax is the result of years of research and development, including onshore and vessel testing,” said Greg Atkinson, president and chief technology officer of Eco Marine Power. “The focus is not on the design of any particular solution or technology, but rather on how various alternative power sources and energy-saving devices can work together to achieve the zero-emission operation of a large ship.”

The Aquarius Eco Handymax II vessel design incorporates the integrated sail-assisted propulsion and solar energy system known as Aquarius Marine Renewable Energy, previously developed by Eco Marine. The system, which received approval in principle from ClassNK in 2021, incorporates rigid sails, marine-grade solar panels, energy storage modules, a charging system and marine computers that allow the vessel to Harnessing renewable energy by harnessing the power provided by the wind and sun. The rigid sail array is automatically positioned by a computer system to best suit weather conditions and can be lowered and stored when not in use or in bad weather. Eco Marine has recently applied for additional patents on this system.

The first model Aquarius Eco Handymax presented previously is a low-emission vessel. It combines low-emission prime movers with the Aquarius MRE and other energy-saving devices. Eco Marine has added a new range of energy saving devices including an air lubrication system as well as electric propulsion and fuel cells to create the zero emissions bulk carrier concept.

Further sea trials will be undertaken later this year. The objective is to evaluate the performance of energy-saving devices in collaboration with the shipowner and other strategic partners of the institute.