NYK introduces eco-design for PCTC

Artist’s impression of an eco-ship. Credit: NYK Line
Artist’s impression of an eco-ship. Credit: NYK Line

Nippon Yusen Kaisha has teamed with Finnish engineering consultancy Elomatic to design a pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) that claims to be emission-free.

Labelled NYK Super Eco Ship 2050, the project is part of the Japanese shipping group’s medium-term management plan, which includes integrating environmental, social, and governance initiatives.

The design is an update from the previous concept, NYK Super Eco Ship 2030, which was created in 2009.

In NYK Super Eco Ship 2050, the power needed to operate the ship has been cut by 70% by remodelling the hull to decrease water friction, reducing the weight of the hull, introducing fuel cells for electric propulsion, and relying on other highly efficient propulsion devices. Instead of fossil fuels, power for the ship would come from solar energy and hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources, all of which would mean zero CO2 emissions.

The ship is powered by hydrogen fuel cells produced from renewable energy sources. Waste heat recovered from the fuel cells is also used. On long voyages, the ship can run on solar power.

The hull’s dynamic, mathematical design uses lightweight materials for the superstructure. In addition, computer-controlled devices, such as gyro stabilisers, are installed to provide active stability for the lightweight hull.

An air-lubrication system cuts the frictional resistance between the vessel’s bottom and seawater by means of bubbles generated from the supply of air to the vessel’s bottom. An automatic hull-cleaning during port stays prevents any negative affect on efficiency.

Finally, propulsion efficiency is increased by replacing conventional propellers with flapping foils that mimic the movements of dolphins.