Energy / Climate Change

June 9, 2004


MOL Launches World's First Test of Shipboard Windpower Generator

Keywords: Environmental Technology Manufacturing industry Non-manufacturing industry Renewable Energy Transportation / Mobility University / Research institute 

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), one of Japan's major shipping firms, has developed a prototype of a shipboard windpower generator, and on March 10, 2004, launched a field test of the system installed in a 40,322-ton woodchip carrier named Taiho Maru. Since 2002, MOL has been involved in this joint project with the Tokai University Research Institute of Science and Technology and Nishishiba Electric Co., a Japanese manufacturer of marine electric equipment. This is the world's first windpower generator operating on a vessel at sea.

This system consists of four units: a generator unit; a battery unit; a control unit that controls the output and braking according to the wind speed; and a data acquisition unit to collect data useful for future development. The wind turbine adopted in the system is a small-size straight wing vertical axis model which operates regardless of wind direction, and can be redesigned to be larger for practical use in the future.

The generator unit incorporates a permanent magnet type synchronous generator that has high resistance to salt water, vibration, rolling and pitching in accordance with marine specifications. This type of generator uses a permanent magnet as its rotor, which reduce£ó the power loss and significantly stabilizes the power output and voltage. The quiet high-efficiency generator also has variable speed control, is easy to control, and is resistant to the elements.

The electricity generated by the generator unit is temporarily stored in the battery unit, then fed to an air conditioner installed on the bridge for testing the system. Power output and other data are automatically recorded by the data acquisition unit. According to estimates, the system will be able to generate 7,000 to 9,000 kWh a year.

MOL intends to continue collecting and analyzing data on the generating capacity of this system to improve it as a supplementary power supply for the accommodation of a vessel.

Posted: 2004/06/09 10:34:52 AM
Japanese version