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]


Thank You Toyota Prius: My Kids Now Think I’m A Hypermiling, Eco-Hipster.

Hybrid Driving Lessons Toyota PriusBefore I go any further, I want to point out that I’ve been called much worse than a hypermiling, eco-hipster. Even when it comes from my kids, the name doesn’t bother me. That’s because I know the problem is with the Prius. The car pushes me each time I drive it to improve my driving technique by informing me of my MPGs at the end of each trip. Stepping on the gas too firmly and I activate the gas engine; ease into motion and I can stay electric.

Another thing I know is that the name calling will not be limited to inside our car – it’s sure to come from outside too. The Prius is kind of a lightning rod vehicle that is viewed with the same, but bizarro, contempt as the Hummer. The South Park episode, Smug Alert, is a perfect example and pokes fun at self-righteous Prius/hybrid drivers. And as much as I tell people “I’m not one of them,” it’s still guilt by ownership.

So kids, keep working on new material. I’ve got thick skin. I promise not to embarrass you by holding up traffic but I am still more apt to drive like a retiree than a teen. By the way: calling me a “hipster” anything only encourages me.


Decided What Car To Get By First Asking Ourselves, WWABD (What Would Andy Bernard Drive)? Got A Prius.

Andy Bernard - The OfficeAs of 3pm on Sunday April 15th, we became proud Toyota Prius owners. It sure is a nice ride and the user interface tells you more than everything you’d want to know about how your car is performing. The UI can be a bit overwhelming but it does help the driver adjust their technique to maximize fuel economy in real time. My kids sitting in the back calling us out every time we switched to using the gas engine wasn’t ordered but could be an option on future models.

Being a new Prius owner does come with responsibility.Pious - Toyota Prius vanity license One big one is that we will not put any smug, pro-Prius bumper stickers on our car. Our motivation to get the Toyota Prius wasn’t to be better than anyone; it was simply a decision borne out of cheapness. Compared to our 2002 Honda Odyssey, the Prius gets nearly 3 times the gas mileage and that’s basically all it took. And ours isn’t a plugin model so we won’t be attending any National Plug In Day events but then again, we wouldn’t go even if it was.

So thank you Andy Bernard, the Nard-Dog, for inspiring us to act. We un-piously love our Prius so much that we can’t wait to not drive it!


Fisker Releases Sketch Of New Plug-In Hybrid Model – The Fisker Nina

Fisker Nina Plugin Hybrid Sketch The above sketch of the upcoming Fisker Automotive Nina plug-in hybrid was just released and according to an article on Inhabitat, the sketch was meant to tease attendees of next month’s New York Auto Show. The plug-in hybrid Fisker Nina is expected to go into production in middle of 2013.

Below, is a sketch of my reaction to the Fisker Nina sketch:
Fisker Nina reaction


The Dumbest Smart Guy In Germany Is Piloting e-volo’s Battery Powered Multicopter.

[youtube width=”425″ height=”239″][/youtube]German company e-volo demonstrated their battery powered Multicopter by having one of its creators, Thomas Senkel, pilot it. The Multicopter is very Macgyverish and e-volo’s hopes it will become a battery/hybrid powered device anyone can purchase and that piloting it would be “as simple as a car.” Besides the music, the craziest part in the video is when Mr. Senkel puts on a helmet as his sole protection from the 16 spinning propellers. Obviously, having an open casket funeral is important to him. [Gizmag]


Are Hybrid Tanks In Our Near Future?

Hybrid Tank - Rear ViewThe website has an interesting article, BAE Systems’ Bid to Design a Greener, Next-Gen ‘Tank’, about BAE Systems’ efforts to build military vehicles of the future and they’re looking to go hybrid. Not because the military is getting soft but for the efficiency advantages a hybrid fuel/battery powered vehicle brings to the battlefield. From the article:

“I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 percent of the casualties that were incurred in Iraq were from convoys that were delivering fuel and supplies. It’s one of the more vulnerable points on a battlefield, so anything you can do to reduce the exposure of soldiers in that environment helps save lives.” – Mark Signorelli, BAE VP and GM of Weapon Systems

According to the Mr. Signorelli, switching to a hybrid system would reduce the amount of fuel needed by 20-25% over a standard drive system without sacrificing range.