"M/V Belgrano" is one of the candidate ships for the Aquarius MRE (source: EMP)
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The Aquarius MRE solution (source: EMP)
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Eco Marine Power Co Ltd (EMP) (Fukuoka City) announced July 26, 2017, that it has started to prepare for the offshore trial operation of the "Aquarius MRE" renewable energy solution for ships in cooperation with Hisafuku Kisen KK (Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture), which is EMP's strategic parter and a ship owner.

The Aquarius MRE is an integrated system consisting of hard sails, solar panels, energy storage modules and a computer for ships. By using renewable energy (wind and solar power) for propulsion, it reduces fuel consumption, air pollusion and CO2 emissions, according to EMP.

An array of hard sails is optimally arranged in accordance with weather conditions automatically. And they can be stored in a bad weather or when not in use.

Based on the "EnergySail" technology, for which EMP obtained a patent, it is possible to mount various sensors, solar panels and other power generation devices. The EnergySail to be used for the offshore trial operation is manufactured at Teramoto Iron Works Co Ltd (Onomichi City), which has been engaged in the production of hard sails since 1980s.

Currently, EMP is evaluating business feasibility with several large-size bulk carriers including Belgrano, Nord Gemini and Bulk Chile. The estimated value of prolusion realized by the array of the EnergySail is calculated based on the route of each ship, and the total capacity of solar panels that can be installed in each ship is decided. The company also performs tests on a ship and collects data as necessary.

After the completion of the business feasibility evaluation, one of the ships will be selected for the offshore test operation phase. In this phase, EMP will make evaluations by including all the elements of the Aquarius MRE for about 12-18 months.

Because of the phase, it will become possible to apply the system to a wider variety of ships including freight vessels along the shore, bulk ore carriers and cruise ships in the future, the company said.