e5 Lab Inc., a Japanese joint venture consisting of Asahi Tanker, Exeno, MOL and Mitsubishi, announced it has started development of the ROBOSHIP, an electrically powered vessel with zero emissions, featuring also an integrated system called the “ROBOSHIP BOX,” which brings together telecommunications, Internet of Things (IoT), and software.
Launched in August 2019, e5 Lab seeks to address critical issues facing Japan’s ocean shipping and maritime industries, including a shortage of seafarers, environmental concerns, safety, and the sustainable growth of the shipbuilding/ship machinery sectors.
With strategic partners in Japan and overseas, the development project team targets the commercialization of electric-powered merchant vessels.
Namely, the team developed two types of electric vessels in the ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0, with standard gross tonnage specifications — 499 tons and 749 tons.
These will be able to achieve the same speed and sailing range as vessels currently in service, while achieving zero-emission operation in port, due to the large-capacity storage batteries in combination with a diesel-powered generator. In addition, the vessels will achieve higher energy efficiency than other vessels, as well as the world’s most efficient electric devices (DC grids, PM motors, AI technology), the company estimates.
The ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0 can significantly reduce not only the workload of seafarers, but also lower the risk of mechanical problems and decrease maintenance costs, because the motors are powered only by electricity. The team’s current target is to keep construction costs less than 5% above the cost of comparable existing vessels,
The ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0 is for delivery within 2022.