A group of Japanese companies announced an agreement to create a strategic partnership to develop electrically powered vessels. The first objective will be to build the world's first zero-emission tanker by mid 2021. The tanker will be a coastal vessel powered by large-capacity batteries and will operate in Tokyo Bay. The partners are Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation.
Their newly established company, named e5 Lab (delivering “Electrification," "Environment," "Evolution," "Efficiency," "Economics”), will work to develop and promote the greater use of these relatively clean modes of marine transport. The company will work to link up the technologies, know-how and networks of its four major shareholders. Aims include to control greenhouse gas emissions and help to combat the adverse impacts of climate change by converting vessels to electric propulsion. E5 Lab will seek to improve crew working environments and mitigate crew shortages by upgrading onboard communications systems.
Plans are to offer an electric-vessel platform to all stakeholders in the marine shipping industry including shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers, shipowners and operators, and cargo owners. The Japanese company group will also seek to standardise vessels and otherwise help to develop a sustainable growth model within the industry. It will also develop other kinds of electrically powered vessels to address these challenges. In addition, e5 Lab will actively promote the electrification of both coastal and ocean-going vessels, and pool the technologies, human resources and operational know-how needed to achieve the 50% greenhouse gas reduction target of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as soon as possible.