Japanese Firms Join Forces To Commercialize Electric Vessels

By Jack Burke21 May 2020

Seven Japanese companies announced the establishment of the e5 Consortium, with the goal of establishing new ocean shipping infrastructure services through various initiatives to develop, realize, and commercialize zero-emission electric vessels.

Asahi Tanker Co., petroleum company Idemitsu Kosan Co., marine transportation company Exeno Yamamizu Corp., Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Tokyo Electric Power Co., and Mitsubishi Corp. joined forces in part because coastal shipping in Japan faces structural issues such as a shortage of mariners due to the aging of the seagoing workforce, not to mention the aging of the vessels. In addition, the ocean shipping industry has urged the coastal shipping industry to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) as one of Japan’s measures to address climate change. The seven e5 Consortium corporate members are focusing their attention on fulfilling the potential of electric vessels to solve these urgent issues. The consortium aims to establish a platform that offers innovative ocean shipping infrastructure services based on electric vessels bringing to bear the strength, technological know-how, networks, and other advantages of each member company.

As the first phase of the project, the consortium plans to launch the world’s first zero-emission electric tanker, powered by large-capacity lithium-ion batteries, in March 2022. Asahi Tanker announced earlier this year that it will build two electric tankers powered by lithium-ion batteries.

e5 Lab Inc. will serve as the executive office of the e5 Consortium. The e5 Consortium will promote the sustainable growth of coastal shipping in Japan and contribute to the nation’s social and economic development by providing added value to the coastal shipping industry through the development and introduction of advanced vessels.

e5 stands for electrification, environment, evolution, efficiency and economics.

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