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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Maritime Logistics Professional

Solar assisted power

Posted to Marine Propulsion Report (by on April 23, 2010

Now more than half way through a two-year experiment, the solar-power assisted vessel Auriga Leader has a two-stroke Mitsubishi 7UEC60LSII engine of 14,315 kW at 105 rpm for main propulsion. What’s new and makes this project so interesting is that she is also equipped with 328 solar panels to provide a contribution to the ship’s propulsion needs and electrical hotel needs. Aside from the electrical part of the experiment, the test is to investigate the reliability of the panels to the demanding marine environment, in particular salt-water damage, wind pressure, and vibration. Some interim results published after four voyages are optimistic. the power generated was about 1.4 times more than in tests on land with the same panels. An additional bonus is the improved generating efficiency thanks to the wind’s cooling effect. The total cost of the solar panel experiment is put at 1.6 million US dollars, on the plus side, the annual benefits to the environment are estimated to be a saving of 13 tons of fuel and the resultant non production of about 40 tons of CO2. At Lloyd's List 2009 Global Awards the Auriga Leader received the title of "Ship of the Year".

Now more than half way through a two-year experiment, the solar-power assisted vessel Auriga Leader  is a Pure Car Truck Carrier of  60,213 GT., jointly developed by NYK and Nippon Oil Corporation. For main propulsion there is a two-stroke Mitsubishi 7UEC60LSII engine of bore 600 mm and stroke 2300 mm developing up to 14,315 kW at 105 rpm.

What’s new and makes this project so interesting is that she is also equipped with 328 solar panels to provide a contribution of 0.05 per cent of the ship’s propulsion needs and one per cent of the electrical hotel needs such as pumps, cabin lighting, kitchen power etc. 

Aside from the electrical part of the experiment, the test is to investigate the reliability of the panels to the demanding marine environment, in particular salt-water damage, wind pressure, and vibration. To afford a certain amount of protection, the panels are not installed directly on the ship, but instead are mounted on a frame, then connected to the ship.

Some interim results published after four voyages are optimistic. Despite the vessel encountering demanding conditions such as heavy rain with thunder and lightning, prolonged strong winds of approximately 20 meters/sec and three to four meter seas, the power generated was about 1.4 times more than in tests on land with the same panels. Further testing is required to determine the exact reason but the postulation is that the stronger sunlight caused by the higher sun angle, longer daylight and reflected sunlight from the sea all contributed to the higher output. An additional bonus is the improved generating efficiency thanks to the wind’s cooling effect.

There is still some time to go until the trial is completed in December 2010. So far the total cost of the solar panel experiment is put at 1.6 million US dollars, which is obviously not commercially viable nor will be until the cost of solar panels reduces drastically. On the plus side, the annual benefits to the environment are estimated to be a saving of 13 tons of fuel and the resultant non production of about 40 tons of CO2. The testing continues and will assist in improving solar panels in the future. Last but not least is a benefit that is difficult to put a value on: at Lloyd's List 2009 Global Awards the Auriga Leader received the title of "Ship of the Year".

Tags: marine ocean research