Japanese ships fitted with solar panels

Energy Matters0

From Physorg.com

A huge freighter capable of carrying 6,400 automobiles will be equipped with 328 solar panels at a cost of 150 million yen (1.37 million dollars), said the official at shipping line Nippon Yusen.

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The ship, which is expected to be completed in December, will be used to transport vehicles for Toyota Motor Corp. as part of trials by Nippon Yusen and energy distributor Nippon Oil Corp.

It will be the world’s first attempt to use solar energy to help power a large ship’s propulsion system, the official said. So far its use has been limited to lighting and by crew in living quarters.

“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” by the wind and the waves, the official said.

The companies aimed to build a 40-kilowatt solar power system, which would initially cover 0.2 percent of the ship’s energy consumption for propulsion.

They hope to raise the ratio to one percent by 2010, when they are considering ordering a ship with a new solar system.

The experiment is part of Nippon Yusen’s plan to halve fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions for marine transport by 2010, the official said.

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