An agreement between Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and e5 Lab has been announced through which the companies will provide the design for Roboship, a standard hybrid electric propulsion vessel, which they are seeking to promote as a future vision for clean shipping. The design is for a 499-metric ton biomass fuel carrier, to be built by Honda Heavy Industries.
The Roboship will utilize a hybrid system consisting of propellers, motors, switchboards, large-capacity storage batteries, generators and the software needed for efficient operation. The vessel’s generators will be capable of switching between liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, ammonia, biofuel and synthetic fuels, and the electric propulsion system capable of propelling a cargo ship weighing up to 749 tons.
Roboship’s propulsion system will provide additional advantages such as lower noise levels, less vibration and a reduced amount of maintenance required when compared with conventionally used diesel engines. The ship’s steering capabilities will also be improved, resulting in easier pier docking and undocking operations.
The vessel will also benefit from Mitsubishi Shipbuilding’s high-performance twin skeg ship design which lowers propulsion horsepower by more than 20%. This enables a further reduction in CO2 emissions when cruising and zero emission operations when entering or leaving ports.
Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and e5 Lab predict that by mass producing ships equipped with this standardized system, the adoption of electric propulsion vessels will be faster due to lower overall costs.
The vessel is being built by Honda Heavy Industries for Asahi Tanker and is scheduled for delivery in April 2023. Following the handover, the ship is expected to be utilized as a biomass carrier for Aioi Bioenergy.