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Thursday, February 29, 2024

PowerX Unveils 'First-ever' Battery Tanker

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 29, 2023

PowerX's Battery Tanker

PowerX's Battery Tanker

Japan-based company PowerX has unveiled the detailed design of the first-ever ‘Battery Tanker’ at an exhibition in Imabari City, Japan. 

The inaugural ship “X” aims for completion by 2025, with domestic and international field testing planned to start in 2026. This electric propulsion vessel will be 140 meters long and will be equipped with 96 containerized marine batteries, providing a total capacity of 241MWh. 

"The onboard battery system is based on our proprietary module design, featuring safe and reliable lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells that ensure a lifespan over 6,000 cycles. 

Additionally, the battery system is highly scalable, allowing for the installation of additional batteries to create larger electric transport vessels such as Power Ark 1000 or even larger sizes to meet specific mission requirements. The system includes dedicated gas emission control and fire suppression mechanisms to ensure safety. Real-time monitoring of the battery system, charging controllers, and power conversion systems further enhances safety measures," PowerX said.

All batteries will be manufactured in-house in Okayama Prefecture and are scheduled to obtain international ship classification certifications and applicable standards such as DNV and Class NK, undergoing rigorous testing to meet the strictest conditions. Delivery of the batteries is scheduled to start by mid-2024. 

Furthermore, PowerX said that a new company called ‘Ocean Power Grid Inc.’ will be established in the third quarter of 2023 to advance the maritime power transmission business utilizing Battery Tankers. 

This company will be responsible for owning, selling, and operating the battery tankers both in Japan and abroad. PowerX said it was actively seeking business partners from around the world for this new technology and business endeavor. 

Also, PowerX has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and a Partnership agreement with Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd. and the City of Yokohama to pursue the novel concept of maritime power transmission and achieving carbon-neutral ports.

According to PowerX, with its onboard battery systems, Battery Tankers can be leveraged to store and transport surplus electricity generated from renewable sources. 

"Decommissioned or idle thermal power plants located near ports can be retrofitted into charge/discharge points for the Battery Tankers, where the power is transmitted to users via grid connections on the land, enabling further effective use of renewable energy," PowerX said.

"Moreover, areas with high potential for renewable energy generation are often distant from urban areas and other regions with high power demand. Strengthening transmission infrastructure becomes essential in such cases. Given the current energy density of lithium-ion battery cells, the Battery Tanker is an optimal solution for short-distance maritime power transmission from land to land, complementing existing inter-regional grid transmission lines. For instance, in Japan, a Battery Tanker can carry power from regions with high renewable energy supply potential, such as Kyushu and Hokkaido, to high-demand areas of Honshu or for inter-island power transmission," PowerX said.

"Battery Tankers will establish the new power transmission networks across the sea, promoting the storage, supply, and utilization of renewable energy. As the energy density of batteries improves and their cost decreases, it is expected that longer-distance maritime transmission from offshore wind power plants to the land will become feasible," the company said.

"Battery Tankers offer an effective solution, especially in Japan, which is prone to earthquakes and has deep-sea surroundings. The ship-based solution resolves issues such as long downtime from undersea cable malfunctions and repairs, as well as the high costs associated with ultra-high voltage connections and substations. As a result, the Battery Tankers will enable installation of offshore wind farms in areas where undersea cable deployment was once challenging. The utilization of maritime power transmission via Battery Tankers can address various challenges associated with offshore wind power, not only in Japan but also contribute to the widespread adoption of renewable energy worldwide," PowerX said.

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