Power X is working on zero-emission container ships
Japanese battery startup Power X unveils the design of a large electric ship to be completed by 2025. Vessel ‘X’ will be the first in a line of “Battery Tankers” and is scheduled for field tests in 2026.
The zero-emission tanker measures 140 meters and will carry 96 containerised ship batteries with LFP cells on board, providing a total capacity of 241 MWh. The battery system is scalable, allowing the installation of additional batteries to build larger electric transport vessels, informs the startup. Power X also mentions the Power Ark 1000 or even larger sizes as examples to meet specific mission requirements.
However, rather than just powering large ships, these batteries are to serve as energy storage. Power X envisions the Battery Tanker acting as a carrier which may hold excess energy from renewables and deploy it in areas of high demand. The company here mentions wind power plants at sea, for example. The company further lists undersea cable failures, repairs, and the costs associated with ultra-high voltage connections and substations as issues its battery ships would overcome.
Once at the shore, Power X proposes repurposing decommissioned or idle thermal power plants near ports and transforming these into charge/discharge points for Battery Tankers, allowing for power transmission through land-based grid connections. The Battery Tankers would then serves for short-distance maritime power transfer between land areas, complementing existing inter-regional grid transmission lines, so the company.
This thinking is naturally derived from Japan, a country prone to earthquakes and with deep-sea surroundings. By leveraging Battery Tankers, power could be transported from regions with abundant renewable energy resources, such as Kyushu and Hokkaido, to high-demand areas like Honshu or for inter-island power transmission, writes Power X.
This is not just theory. Power X has signed a memorandum of understanding and a Partnership Agreement with Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd. and the City of Yokohama to pursue the maritime power transmission concept and achieve carbon-neutral ports.
As for the batteries, the company established its first ‘Power Base’ as a “home-grown” GW-scale battery assembly plant in June 2022. Situated in Tamano City, Okayama Prefecture, Power Base will begin pilot production this year, followed by product delivery for EV fast chargers and other battery energy storage systems in Spring 2024. Power Base has an annual production capacity of 5 GWh, equivalent to around 10,000 batteries per year.
Kazuyo Sejima, an architect known for works such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, which was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, signed up to design a “factory of the future” that coexists in harmony with Tamano City’s nature, according to Power X.
The inaugural ship X aims for completion by 2025, with Power X announcing plans for domestic and international field testing to commence in 2026.
The company’s portfolio includes charging stations and other energy storage solutions.