A consortium consisting of Nippon Steel Corporation, NS United Naiko Kaiun Kaisha (NSU Naiko), Nippon Steel Cement, Japan Petroleum Exploration, Tsuneishi Shipbuilding and Kawasaki Heavy Industries has agreed to the construction of a new vessel with a hybrid propulsion system in Japan.
Upon its completion, the vessel will be Japan’s first to feature a gas-only engine and will feature a 2,847kWh lithium-ion battery. Furthermore, an LNG fuel tank produced using 7% nickel steel plate will be developed by the Nippon Steel Corporation.
During sailing, propulsion power and onboard electric power will be generated by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries-developed gas-only engine. And, when carrying out long-distance, long-duration and high-power sailing, only natural gas will be used for fuel. When maneuvering into or out of ports and berthing, battery power only will be utilized to ensure zero-emission operation.
By opting to use this type of propulsion system, it is estimated CO2 emissions from the new-build will be reduced by 23.56% (or 30% at normal load operation) when compared with vessels of the same type with traditional ICEs. The exhaust gas emissions from the new ship will contain barely any SOx, and the NOx emissions are said to be below Tier III standards.
In addition to its main routes, the vessel will carry out zero-emission operations in the loading port in Shiriyamisaki, Aomori Prefecture, and the unloading port in Muroran, Hokkaido.
A host of contracts have been signed by partners of the project and the new ship will replace the NSU Naiko-owned limestone carrier Shimokita Maru. The vessel is scheduled to begin serving routes and carrying out operations in February 2024.