Solar power assisted car carrier to test hybrid power system

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gigacellmicroNYK Line’s solar-power-assisted car carrier Auriga Leader (60,213 gross tons) will in June be used for shipboard tests of a newly developed hybrid power supply. The car carrier will also be fitted with a ballast-water management system and adapted to use low-sulfur fuel.


The power generation and endurance of the photovoltaic panels on Auriga Leader have been undergoing shipboard tests since the completion of the vessel on December 19, 2008. The tests have shown that providing a stable power supply from the photovoltaic panels is difficult because even a slight change in the weather has a significant influence on the amount of power generated. It was also found that attempting to make the solar power system bigger to gain more output and to increase its dependibilty could present problems with regard to stable operations because of fluctuations in the power supply.

The hybrid power supply system which is mow being installed has been studied since fiscal 2009. It has been jointly developed  by NYK Line, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., the Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI) and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) and was was selected as a subsidized project by Japan’s  Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) under its “Support for Technology Development for Curtailing CO2 from Marine Vessels” program.


Aiming to cut CO2 emissions, NYK Line and MTI have been seeking to develop a stable onboard power supply for use should an unstable renewable energy source such as solar power be adopted. KHI has been working to develop a hybrid power supply system for vessels through the use of its self-developed large nickel hydrogen batteries known as Gigacell. ClassNK is supporting these projects as part of assistance provided through a joint research scheme based on industry demands.

Charging and discharging a fluctuating amount of solar power generated by this hybrid power supply system will stabilize the supply to the vessel’s electrical power system. This will also minimize output fluctuations from the diesel power generator and secure a stable power supply.

Shipboard tests on Auriga Leader will aim to attain a stable power supply under harsh marine conditions through the combination of solar power generation and the hybrid power supply system, and the effects will be verified. Based on the experiment results, NYK Line and MTI will aim to develop an even larger solar power generation system for vessels, while KHI will seek to commercialize the hybrid power supply system for vessels.

NYK Line, KHI, MTI, and ClassNK will continue to respond proactively to environmental issues through further innovations in technology.

Particulars of Auriga Leader
Length Overall: 199.99 meters
Breadth: 32.26 meters
Depth: 34.52 meters
Capacity: 6,200 cars
Deadweight Tonnage: 18,758 tons
Gross Tonnage: 60,213 tons
Builder: Kobe Shipyard,
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

May 31, 2011

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