ZERO-EMISSION CAR CARRIER PROPOSED

Vision of the future: Super Eco Ship 2050 (credit: Elomatic) Vision of the future: Super Eco Ship 2050 (credit: Elomatic)

Finnish technical consultancy Elomatic has developed a concept design for a zero-emission pure car/truck carrier (PCTC) in cooperation with the NYK Group and NYK’s research arm Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI) of Japan, writes David Tinsley.

The vessel proposed would provide an 8,000 car equivalent unit (CEU) capacity within the 200m length constraint typically set by Japanese vehicle handling terminals, but would be wider and of lower profile than existing PCTCs of comparable intake.

Instead of fossil fuels, the design envisaged under the so-called NYK Super Eco Ship 2050 initiative may potentially use hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources.

As any new or alternative type of fuel might be expected to impose extra space demands relative to conventional fuel, a key criterion was that the concept ship had to be energy efficient in the extreme. Elomatic claims that energy demand in the proposed design has been cut by two-thirds relative to a heavy fuel oil (HFO)-powered, 2014-built PCTC of 199.9m x 35.6m main dimensions.

The vessel’s topsides would have a 9,000m2 array of solar panels, meeting up to 15% of the vessel’s energy requirements.

Rather than carrying water ballast, a combination of active pontoons and gyro stabilisers on each side of the hull will maintain stability. In normal conditions, the pontoons will be stored above the sea level so as to minimise resistance. When encountering high seas or otherwise difficult or adverse conditions, the pontoons will be lowered to the waterline, to provide extra stability.

An under-hull air lubrication system, a field in which NYK ranks as one of the earliest practitioners, will confer further benefits in countering resistance and improving hydrodynamic efficiency.

Ship weight is markedly reduced through the adoption of durable, lightweight materials for hull construction, and what is described as a “bionic design” of hull that dispenses with traditional beam structures. Consideration is being given to the use of flapping foils in preference to propellers. These devices mimic the movement of dolphins, a solution which is claimed to deliver greater efficiency than conventional propellers.

The Super Eco Ship 2050 also embraces automated mooring and berthing arrangements, and new techniques for cargo handling so as to cut port time. While a crew will be carried, complement size will be less than that of existing vessels, and the future-orientated strategy built into the design will embrace increased automation and a degree of remote control.

COMPARISON of vessel particulars

2014-built car carrier

NYK Super Eco Ship 2050

Length

199.9m

199.9m

Breadth

35.6m

49.0m

Draught, design

9.0m

9.0m

Air draught

45.6m

31.0m

Main energy source

Diesel engine (heavy fuel oil)

Fuel cells (hydrogen)

Renewable energy

nil

Solar power

Source: NYK Group

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