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Hard Sail Employed to Cut Greenhouse Emissions From Coal Carrier

2019/10/21 21:26
Sousuke Kudou, technical writer
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A simulated image of the coal carrier equipped with the Wind Challenger (source: MOL)

Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL) and Tohoku-Electric Power Co Inc announced Oct 15, 2019, that they will seriously consider the introduction of a coal carrier equipped with a hard sail-type wind propulsion unit.

The unit is called "Wind Challenger." The two companies will examine its effects on loading/unloading, port arrival/departure, etc as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions during sailing. And they will have discussions, aiming to start operation of the ship in or after fiscal 2022.

The Wind Challenger uses an extendable hard sail to convert wind energy into propelling force. The ship equipped with one hard sail is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 5% on the Japan-Australia route and about 8% on the Japan-North America West Coast route, compared with the same ship without the hard sail. And it is expected to reduce environmental load and improve economic efficiency at the same time, according to MOL and Tohoku-Electric.

It is a technology researched and developed in the "Wind Challenger Project," which is led by MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding Co Ltd (Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture). They announced Oct 3, 2019, that they had acquired Approval in Principle (AIP) for its design from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK, general incorporated foundation).

MOL and Tohoku-Electric have long been considering equipping a coal carrier transporting coal to Tohoku-Electric's thermal power plants with the Wind Challenger. This time, they confirmed that it is possible to accept a ship equipped with the Wind Challenger at the port facilities of Tohoku-Electric's coal-fired power plants and, therefore, decided to jointly consider it.

The coal carrier equipped with the Wind Challenger is expected to carry up to 98,000t of coal and have a size of 235 (L) x 40 (W) x 20m (H, from the bottom to the deck). And the hard sail will be up to 52m in height (22m when folded) and 15m in width.