The Emerald Ace: (Sort Of) Prius’ing Up The Shipping Industry

The Emerald Ace - Mitsui O.S.K. LinesThe Emerald Ace is a 199m x 36m cargo ship that when fully loaded, can carry up to 6,400 cars and travel at 20 knots. All of these specs are pretty standard for cargo ships but what separates the Emerald Ace from the others is that it’s a hybrid engine running, solar power generating, treehugger of a ship. Built by the Mitsui OSK Lines shipping company, the Emerald Ace has a 160kW solar generation system and its lithium-ion batteries, that also act as ballast for the ship, can store 2.2MWh of electricity. It runs off diesel power while out to sea and then is powered by solar-charged batteries during the berthing process and while in port, producing zero-emissions.

Until I read about the Emerald Ace, I never thought about the big cargo, cruise and container ships running their massive diesel engines while docked but they have to in order to keep the lights on. It’s estimated that one large container ship annually outputs the emissions equal to 50 million cars because they run on low-grade diesel, bunker fuel. While in port, closer to cities, it’s estimated that idling cargo ship emissions produce the pollution equivalent of 12,000 cars. Getting that number to zero is good goal.

So thank you Emerald Ace for being a treehugging, hippy-dippy cargo ship that will hopefully become the norm in the shipping industry. Running off batteries during the berthing process and while docked is a start and I hope you get a big bumper sticker proclaiming “I Produce Zero-Emissions (while in port) that’ll make you the envy of other cargo ships. Every bit counts. [Gizmodo]