Tug With Battery and Hydrogen Power Planned for Yokohama Port

Image courtesy Tokyo Kisen / e5 Lab

Published Oct 29, 2019 2:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japanese tug operator Tokyo Kisen Co. and the shipping research consortium e5 Lab Inc. have jointly developed a new electric harbor tug with battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell power, which they have named the “e5 Tug."
The e5 Tug is an all-electric tug designed to minimize environmental footprint. It will be equipped with a propulsion system based on the “e5 powertrain platform”, devised by e5 Lab, which uses a large-capacity battery system as the main power source and a hydrogen fuel cell and generator as auxiliary power sources. The tug will have two 1,500 kW azimuthing drives for its main propulsion. 
The partners say that this all-electric system will give the tug enough bollard pull and cruising time for harbor tug operations, which require large amounts of power. CO2 emission will be minimized by incorporating fuel cell power. In the future, with further development, it will be possible to achieve zero emissions.

The joint project draws on the experience of Tokyo Kisen as a tugboat operator, and e5 Lab is undertaking concept planning / development, design, and project management. e5 is a newly-founded joint venture between Asahi Tanker Co., Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, MOL and Mitsubishi Corporation, and it is tasked with designing an electric-vessel platform to share with all stakeholders in the shipping industry, among other research and standardization initiatives. 

Tokyo Kisen and e5 Lab will move forward with the e5 Tug by seeking advice from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, ClassNK, and others for regulatory compliance. After the final investment decision, the team plans to launch the tug for commercial operations at Yokohama Port and Kawasaki Port in 2022.

The tug has an additional desirable function for disaster preparedness. By essentially reversing the cold-ironing process, it can function as a power supply for shoreside needs in the event of an emergency.