Japanese Firm to Build World’s 1st Power Transfer Vessel

Highlights :

  • PowerX plans to innovate power storage and transmission by developing an automated Power Transfer Vessel to carry electricity from offshore wind farms to shore.
  • The very first model of such vessels is “Power ARK 100” – a 100TEU trimaran specially designed for transferring renewable energy in Japan’s coastal waters.
  • The company also aims to build a large-scale battery packing facility in Japan to produce EV fast-charging, grid, and marine batteries.

PowerX, a Japanese company, plans to innovate power storage and transmission by developing an automated Power Transfer Vessel to carry electricity from offshore wind farms to shore. The very first model of such vessels is “Power ARK 100” – a 100TEU trimaran specially designed for transferring renewable energy in Japan’s coastal waters.

The company also aims to build a large-scale battery packing facility in Japan to produce EV fast-charging, grid, and marine batteries.

The Japanese government targets for renewable energy to generate 36-38% of the country’s power production in fiscal 2030, a major upgrade from its previous plan of 22-24%. This will require a boost of offshore wind power from the current 20 MW to 10 GW by fiscal 2030 and to 30-45GW by fiscal 2040. Japan is surrounded by deep coastal waters, which limit the potential range for setting up offshore wind farms.

PowerX was founded with a vision to change how the world consumes and transfers renewable energy by providing a unique solution that can lift the restriction on power generation location, which will allow a greater flexibility for offshore wind farm locations, especially for an island country like Japan.

The company will design and build an automated Power Transfer Vessel with a massive battery payload that is integrated with the ship’s controls to transport offshore wind power to shore. An undersea power cable typically requires expensive construction that comes with substantial environmental impacts. Comparatively, the Power Transfer Vessel stands out as it is resilient to natural disasters, requires less time and cost for development, leaves minimal impact on the environment, and therefore is able to expand the potential of offshore wind power significantly, says the firm.

Most of the world’s energy is transported by ships, in the form of fuel such as oil, gas, and coal. 84.9% of Japan’s power is generated by burning carbon-based fuels imported by ships. As the world shifts away from fossil fuels, the energy ship of the future is expected to carry electricity from clean and renewable sources, replacing the fuel-carrying carbon ships of today.

Project ARK: Power Transfer Vessels

The very first model of the Power ARK series, “Power ARK 100” is a 100TEU trimaran specially designed for transferring renewable energy in Japan’s coastal waters. Upon its completion in 2025, Power ARK 100 will likely carry 100 grid batteries, hence 200MWh of power (equivalent to the total electricity consumption by 22,000 Japanese households in a day). The vessel can travel up to 300km when running only on electricity and will be able to unlock long-distance, intercontinental clean power transmission when it is powered by both electricity and sustainable biodiesel fuels, says PowerX.

Project MAX: In-house Battery Manufacturing

To realize its vision, PowerX will also be building a giga-scale battery assembly facility in Japan to mass-produce batteries for the Power Transfer Vessel. With an acceleration toward decarbonization across the globe, the demand for large energy storage is soaring. Off-the-shelf battery cells will be packaged based on the use case, which includes EV fast-charging, grid, and marine batteries. The factory’s annual production capacity will achieve 1 GWh by 2024, and will eventually reach 5 GWh by 2028, added the firm. Productions lines will be automated to mass-produce at a low cost.

By driving innovation in the way the world storages and transports energy, PowerX aims to enable an unprecedented energy transmission between any two ports on the planet, and thus accelerates the adoption of renewable energy, said the company in a statement.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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