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Nippon Yusen is Japan's largest shipper, with many 60,000 ton freighters. One of its largest customers is Toyota, known for its fuel efficient vehicles.  (Source: PhysOrg)

NY plans to have a test system finished by the end of the year which uses solar to provide 0.2% of the ships power from solar. They want to have a finished commercial system that produces 2% by 2010, at similar costs.  (Source: Nippon Yusen KK)
The shipper says solar will save on its energy costs, plans to deploy first finished ship in December

One of the most energy intensive and costly efforts is the shipping of goods around the world.  However, shipping remains the tried and true method that supports the vast majority of global trade. 

In efforts to reduce costs, some shipping companies are turning to alternative energy.  One key advantage the shippers have in adopting such technologies is that most shipping companies have some capital, which they can use to cover the upfront costs in exchange for long term savings.

Shipping companies have already had success with wind power.  In Germany, a windsail company, developed a sail which cuts fuel costs by as much as $1,500/day, recouping the investment on the sail in as little as 3.5 years.  Now Japanese companies are turning to solar to provide similar benefits.

Japan's biggest shipping corporation,
Nippon Yusen KK, announced plans to spend a modest 150 million yen ($1.37 million USD) to have Nippon Oil Corp develop a solar panel system for its ships.  The solar panel system, when finished will have 328 panels and will have an installed power capacity of 40 kilowatts (an average home panel system produces 3.5 kw).

The 60,000 ton carriers, big enough to carry 6,400 Toyota automobiles, will initially receive approximately 0.2 percent of their total energy from the solar panels.  Initially the energy will go exclusively to onboard electrical systems like lighting in the crew quarters.  These systems are typically powered by onboard fuel based generators.  By 2010, they hope to have a second ship with an installed system that raises this capacity to 1 or 2 percent, at a similar cost.

Officials with Nippon Yusen say the installation presents unique challenges.  They state, "Conditions are very different from land transport due to the risk of (the system) getting wet with sea water or being subjected to constant shaking."

To complete some simple economic estimates on the savings provided by the project, it’s useful to look at the document windsail runs.  In tests, the 10,000 ton Beluga Skysail ship typically consumed $7,500/day in fuel costs without the sail and with the sail got 20 percent of its energy from the skysail, saving it $1,500/day.  A 60,000 ton freighter like the Nippon Yusen freighters could thus reasonably be estimated to have around $45,000/day in fuel costs.  Thus the solar system, in its current state could save the shipper about $90/day. 

Assuming continuous operation this would be about $32,000/yr., which means that the project would take 42 years to recoup its profits, well beyond how long the panels can be expected to last.  Still, if the company can achieve its goal of 2 percent savings, that would be a $900/day savings, cutting the number of years to about 4 years to recoup, a much more reasonable scenario.

Obviously this tech has a ways to go to reach profitability, but it’s headed in the right direction.  In the meantime,
Hideyuki Dohi, general manager at Nippon Oil’s energy system development department says the new panels will release the ships carbon dioxide output by as much as 2 percent, equal to 20 tons a year.  This will help Nippon Yusen reach its goals of cutting emissions and fuel consumption each in half by 2010.

Nippon Oil Executive Vice President Ikutoshi Matsumura made it clear that once the more efficient version of the system was developed, Nippon Oil and Nippon Yusen plan for a full scale deployment.  He states, "If it’s possible, we want to aim for the full commercialization of the system in the next three to five years."





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Who am I to argue?
By therealnickdanger on 8/28/2008 10:52:13 AM , Rating: 2
I'll start out the onslaught of typical PV-related posts:

Clearly, if they HAVE the money to throw away, good for them. It's still hard to believe that these panels only generate 0.02% of the ships' power. Even 2% doesn't sound worth it!




RE: Who am I to argue?
By FITCamaro on 8/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: Who am I to argue?
By arazok on 8/28/2008 11:17:44 AM , Rating: 3
Trying to ‘look green’ is a fool’s game the government, and consumer focused businesses employ to gain votes/sales from the dimwits in society.

Shipping is not a business in the public eye, so they don’t typically engage in PR stunts. If they are trying this, it’s because they are looking for ways to cut costs.

The proof is in the pudding. The government will ban plastic bags and mandate zero emission cars (or whatever) to save the planet, meanwhile a single ship burns $7,500 in fuel a day and nobody says boo.


RE: Who am I to argue?
By masher2 (blog) on 8/28/2008 11:36:59 AM , Rating: 3
> "If they are trying this, it’s because they are looking for ways to cut costs."

The source article says it's part of a plan to cut CO2 emissions, and says nothing whatsoever about cutting costs.

Still, it may be possible. As impractical as solar is on land, on sea the economics are different. Ship-mounted marine generators are, on a per-KWh basis, up to 10X as expensive to run and maintain than terrestrial power sources.


RE: Who am I to argue?
By SiN on 8/28/2008 11:47:57 AM , Rating: 1
CO2 emmisions are taxed. cutting the emmisions cuts costs.


RE: Who am I to argue?
By codeThug on 8/28/2008 9:16:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Ship-mounted marine generators are, on a per-KWh basis, up to 10X as expensive to run and maintain than terrestrial power sources.


why?? Diesel is diesel isn't it?

just wondering...


RE: Who am I to argue?
By svenkesd on 8/29/2008 7:49:51 AM , Rating: 2
Terrestrial power sources meaning things like coal power plants.

Relatively small diesel generators are not as efficient at producing power as large power plants.


RE: Who am I to argue?
By hadifa on 8/28/2008 9:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
Could the panels provide enough power to even justify their added weight.

I'm just interested to see if the setup can provide more power than needed to move the panels themselves. From my understanding, the panels are relatively heavy. Granted, they might not need batteries in this case but still.


RE: Who am I to argue?
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/28/2008 11:04:46 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
It's still hard to believe that these panels only generate 0.02% of the ships' power. Even 2% doesn't sound worth it!


It is hard to believe, as they generate 0.2%, not 0.02%. Yes this is still pretty pathetic. It is a lot of power, but these ships require massive amounts of power.

While panels that generate 0.2% at these costs are indeed throwing away money or paying towards R&D costs, depending on how you look at it, a 2% system could turn a profit within 4 years, making it very attractive.

Obviously this is why the company is holding off from deploying solar to all its fleet.

Don't mistake this for something that its not -- this is a one ship R&D project, to be FOLLOWED by a commercial deployment of a optimized system.


RE: Who am I to argue?
By masher2 (blog) on 8/28/2008 11:47:27 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
While panels that generate 0.2% at these costs are indeed throwing away money or paying towards R&D costs, depending on how you look at it, a 2% system could turn a profit within 4 years
Only if that upgraded system outputs 10X as much power and doesn't cost any more than the current system. I find that quite unlikely; what about you?


RE: Who am I to argue?
By nah on 8/28/2008 12:12:58 PM , Rating: 3
what are the costs involved here ? Allowing for average solar insolation in the seas at 800 KW-hr per year at a cost of USD 5000/KWpeak--the average costs for running are at 62.5 cents over 20 years--what exactly is the average cost of running a ship generator? Any ideas, masher ?


RE: Who am I to argue?
By roastmules on 8/28/2008 2:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
A large-scale 10MW, land-based diesel generator is about 20-25 cents per kwh http://topkwh.50webs.com/ for fuel.
For a building backup power generator (250 apartments), we pay about double that for fuel costs. (personal experience).
I would guess that on the sea, it is somewhere between 2x - 4x the large-scale efficient generator - i.e. $0.50 - $1.00 per kwh. Remember they have to haul all their fuel with them as they travel.
Is the weight of the generators and fuel saved by solar power better than the weight added by solar power? I'd bet that it is. At sea, ships generally avoid storms (clouds), and get direct and reflected sunlight.
I wonder if they are going to use PV, stirling engines, mirror/liquid/turbine, or something else...
I've also seen ships with wind turbines to power the ship's propulsion -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbosail.
There is energy other than dead dinorsaurs...


RE: Who am I to argue?
By Spuke on 8/28/2008 4:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is energy other than dead dinorsaurs...
I didn't know that. Thanks.


RE: Who am I to argue?
By JustTom on 8/28/2008 1:03:34 PM , Rating: 3
If it is an one ship R&D project shouldn't the headline be ship and not ships. And whether it is followed by more ships is conjecture; the purpose of testing it on one ship is to determine if wide scale implementation is cost effective.


RE: Who am I to argue?
By OxBow on 8/28/2008 4:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
.02% doesn't sound like a lot, but can still add up to some significant money over time, especially given how much power they have to burn to operate.

The straight cost outlay/amortization ratio doesn't take into account carbon trading, however. That's where they'll be able to quickly see a return. Since they are obviously interested in reducing their carbon output, they are probably invested in a carbon trading market. By reducing the amount of fuel they have to burn for ancillary systems (lights, electronics) they can save a lot in terms of carbon output for a relatively modest investment. They have probably optimized their engines and hull design to the Nth degree, but this is a system that can be converted easily and relatively simply.

On top of that, there are probably some subsidies available from the government, or tax breaks, that make this even more worthwhile.


lol...
By spluurfg on 8/28/2008 10:59:00 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
One of the most energy intensive and costly efforts is the shipping of goods around the world.


Energy intensive and costly compared to what? Planes? Hot air balloons? Swimming?

quote:
However, shipping remains the tried and true method that supports the vast majority of global trade.


Yes, shipping is the 'tried and true method [of transporting goods]' because of the complete opposite of the first sentence of the article.




RE: lol...
By danrien on 8/28/2008 11:38:11 AM , Rating: 3
energy intensive in that it takes a lot of ENERGY. As in it costs a lot of money to pay for the energy to ship the goods. Compared to other methods, it's much cheaper. that doesn't make it expensive nor energy intensive.


RE: lol...
By danrien on 8/28/2008 11:52:11 AM , Rating: 2
sorry meant for that least sentence to read:
"that doesn't make it inexpensive nor not energy intensive"


RE: lol...
By spluurfg on 8/28/2008 12:47:58 PM , Rating: 3
First of all I hope you don't mind that I pasted your edit in.

quote:
energy intensive in that it takes a lot of ENERGY. As in it costs a lot of money to pay for the energy to ship the goods. Compared to other methods, it's much cheaper. that doesn't make it inexpensive nor not energy intensive.


I see what is meant here, but my point was that the author's first two sentences were either unrelated or wrong.

1. Shipping is absolutely energy intensive
2. Despite this, there is a lot of shipping

-or-

1. Shipping is relatively energy intensive
2. Despite this, there is a lot of shipping

The first makes no actual point. For example, I could just say 'Food production is among the most energy intensive efforts in the world. However, it is still the tried and true method of sustaining humanity.'

The second is just wrong. Shipping is cheap compared to alternatives (rail might be cheaper in some cases, but obviously doesn't work when it comes to things like oceans).


RE: lol...
By Solandri on 8/28/2008 3:19:31 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, shipping (by cargo ship) is one of the least energy intensive activities. That's why it costs less to ship products here from China than to build it here - the shipping cost doesn't add appreciably to the total cost. Last time I looked it, it took less energy to ship a ton of goods from China to the U.S. than it took to truck it from Denver to Los Angeles.

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/71...


PLEASE LEARN SOME BASIC GRAMMAR!!!!!!!!!!
By ggordonliddy on 8/28/2008 2:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
How can you write for a living and not know the most basic usage of commas?! If it was just once I'd understand, but I see it in almost every article. Here is your daily lesson to replace the knowledge that you must have missed when you were skipping grade school classes:

In paragraph 3, you wrote:
quote:
In Germany, a windsail company , developed a sail which cuts fuel costs by as much as $1,500/day, recouping the investment on the sail in as little as 3.5 years.


You should not use a comma after the word "company" because a pause there does not make sense.




RE: PLEASE LEARN SOME BASIC GRAMMAR!!!!!!!!!!
By rcc on 8/28/2008 2:46:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You should not use a comma after the word "company" because a pause there does not make sense.


Unless, of course, the section between the comas is a clarification or expansion of the beginning of the sentence. For example. In Germany, a country in Europe, they drink beer. The sentence would still be complete if you removed the comas and everything in between.

In this case, it would have been much more to the point to say "A windsail company in Germany developed.........". Because in this sentence we really care about the windsail company and what they do, where it is located is just supplementary information.

Are we having fun?


By ggordonliddy on 8/28/2008 7:19:53 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Unless, of course, the section between the comas is a clarification or expansion of the beginning of the sentence.


Yeah, I didn't mean to say that a pause was the only reason to use a comma. But the following statement from the article would actually mean that the country of Germany is in fact a windsail company(!):

"In Germany, a windsail company, developed a sail"


By Guttersnipe on 8/28/2008 11:38:34 AM , Rating: 2
no need to ship at all.

:P or is that too obvious. this is just greenwash.

solar might work on some ships, but on container ships the deck is used already. sails work on some ships but on container ships losing deckspace=lost efficiency.
one has to wonder how long solar lasts in sea conditions. if its not long then it could have its efficiency wiped out by short lifespan.




By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/28/2008 12:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
Salt water is extremely rough and corrosive, this is not going to be easy. Lifespan on the panels is bound to be horrid unless they can come up with something to protect them from the salt water.


Kinetic Watch Winders
By rcc on 8/28/2008 3:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't there just a blurb on DT about a company implementing a kinetic charger for joggers, etc.

They should look into those instead. Ships at sea are in constant motion.




By phxfreddy on 8/30/2008 11:15:26 AM , Rating: 2
.....we need to get to the part where human intellect can be increased 10,000X PRONTO !!! ... because working with what we have so far only makes us look like chimps when we collectively believe this Dr. FeelGood alternative energy hype.

These are the same types of people who were Elvis' Doctors proscribing uppers and downers at the same time. ( among others )




The power saving costs are ridiculously low...
By daftrok on 8/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: The power saving costs are ridiculously low...
By Mithan on 8/28/2008 11:01:50 AM , Rating: 5
That will all happen, it just takes time.

The problem is that Oil basically jumped in value in a very short time, catching everybody with their pants down.

It takes years to put all these energy savings measures into production, but it WILL happen.

While many idiots are no doubt crying doom and gloom, there are trillions of dollars worth of new industries just waiting to explode, and millions of jobs to be created because of it.


By BladeVenom on 8/28/2008 12:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's only just getting 0.2% of it's power from solar, maybe we should just drill for more oil.


By FITCamaro on 8/28/2008 11:03:42 AM , Rating: 3
Things coming off the ship and submerged in the water would add drag thus negating any benefit they provide. Either the power generated would go to maintaining speed or extra fuel would have to be used.


RE: The power saving costs are ridiculously low...
By dnd728 on 8/28/2008 11:16:06 AM , Rating: 2
Very true.
Adding sorts of a sails however is whole different story, and has been tested.


By maverick85wd on 8/28/2008 2:38:56 PM , Rating: 2
the only problem with the sails is they only help when the wind is blowing in the direction you want to go. Definitely great for when it is as they apparently save up to 20% on fuel costs... so I guess you could say 10% overall?

Either way, it's just good to see someone trying to make their equipment a little more efficient. What most people seem to not realize is that the less fuel everyone's equipment uses the lower the demand for fuel... and so it becomes cheaper.


By FITCamaro on 8/28/2008 11:06:23 AM , Rating: 2
And engines in ships like that are extremely efficient compared to automotive engines. Over 50%. The only thing that's going to best that is a power plant.


By theapparition on 8/28/2008 11:08:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Stick a couple windmill's partially submerged on the side and get some hydro/wind power going. I'll bet you you'll save a hellova lot more money and energy in the process.

Err.........not qutite.
The added drag would necessitate that the engines work harder, thus using more fuel. Assuming those mythical hydro/wind power turbines are 50% efficient, that means you've netted a full 50% less energy than you think you've gained.

Nothing is free.


By s12033722 on 8/28/2008 11:23:50 AM , Rating: 1
Changing the bulbs to LEDs is a reasonable suggestion, but making the engines more efficient really isn't. Ship powerplants are already fairly well optimized. See that $45k a day in fuel number - if they could lower that number without prohibitive costs they would do so. Also, the idea of putting turbines in the water to generate power from the motion of the ship is a very bad idea. First, the ship motion is derived from the action of the main engines of the ship in the first place, so really what you are talking about is a very inefficient engine-driven generator. Second, a tremendous amount of hydrodynamic modeling goes into making the ship hulls as low-friction as possible. Dropping turbines into the water to create power would seriously diminish the overall efficiency of the ship.


By SiN on 8/28/2008 11:45:25 AM , Rating: 2
sticking those hydro/wind power generators would increase drag, and decrease the efficancy of the engines, requiring more fuel, costing more to run, maintain, and increase CO2 emmisions defeating their intended purpose.

they use flourescent lamps typically indoors on ships, but you also have to understand that there is lighting regulations and lumen levels need to be met for different situations. Im sure they could use LEDs instead is some cases, but i assume the installation cost for that outweighs the savings over the lifetime of the ship.


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