The Battery Tanker can transport clean electricity overseas

A Japanese startup called PowerX is proposing a maritime method to move clean energy from regions rich in renewable resources to regions lacking in green energy sources. The company unveiled a detailed design of the first-ever “Battery Tanker,” dubbed Ship X, with the goal of completing it by 2025, in order to facilitate such transport.

According to the company, these battery tankers can store and deliver extra electricity generated from renewable sources. Such transportation options are required since areas with a high potential for producing renewable energy are frequently located far away from urban areas and other places with significant power demand. To do this, energy transmission infrastructure is needed.

“Decommissioned or idle thermal power plants located near ports can be retrofitted into charge/discharge points for the Battery Tankers, where the power is transmitted to users via grid connections on the land, enabling further effective use of renewable energy,” said a statement from PowerX.

Ship X’s modular design allows versatility and adaptability

The electric-powered vessel will have 96 containerized marine batteries with a combined capacity of 241MWh, measuring 459 feet (140 meters) in length. The vessel has a maximum cruise range of 186 miles (300 km).

The PowerX patented module design underpins the onboard battery system, which uses tried-and-true lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells to assure a lifespan of over 6,000 cycles. Additionally, the battery system is extensible, making it possible to build larger electric transport vessels to meet a variety of requirements by adding additional batteries. The system contains unique gas emission control and fire suppression components to ensure safety. Additional safety measures include real-time monitoring of the battery system, charging controllers, and power conversion devices.

“Given the current energy density of lithium-ion battery cells, the Battery Tanker is an optimal solution for short-distance maritime power transmission from land to land, complementing existing inter-regional grid transmission lines,” the statement said.

All batteries will be made onsite at its manufacturing plant in Japan, according to PowerX. These batteries will likely go through stringent testing to meet the strictest requirements, and they will hopefully get international ship classification certifications and related standards like DNV and Class NK. By the middle of 2024, deliveries of the batteries should begin.

The company aspires to use battery tankers to build new maritime power transmission networks, advancing the supply, storage, and usage of renewable energy. PowerX claims that its approach will enable the establishment of offshore wind farms in areas where running undersea cables previously created challenges.

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