NYK Steps into the Future with Super Eco Ship 2050

Japanese shipping major NYK Group has given the maritime world a taste of things to come as it unveils a new concept of an emission-free ship dubbed the NYK Super Eco Ship 2050.

The concept is part of company’s Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green management plan and incorporated the latest green and digital technologies. The design fits well the industry decarbonization efforts aimed at halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

                                                                Image Courtesy: NYK Group

The concept ship has been crafted as a 2050-model pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) in cooperation with MTI and Elomatic, an engineering and consulting company based in Finland.

NYK said the power needed to operate the ship has been cut by 70 percent by remodeling 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, the ship would be powered by solar energy and hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources, all of which would lead to a reduction of CO2 by 100 percent and thus result in a zero-emission vessel.

Main Features

a. Hull

The weight of the hull is reduced by optimization through a dynamic, mathematical design that uses lightweight materials for the superstructure. In addition, computer-controlled devices, such as gyro stabilizers, are installed to provide active stability for the lightweight vessel hull.

An air-lubrication system is used to reduce the frictional resistance between the vessel’s bottom and the seawater by means of bubbles generated by supplying air to the vessel’s bottom. And automatic hull cleaning during port stays prevents any negative impact on vessel efficiency.

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

b. Energy

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, solar power can be utilized.

c. Maintenance

Maintenance is managed through use of digital twins, a technology that realizes physical conditions digitally and enables real-time analyses from land offices, accident prevention, and optimal maintenance.

d. Port and Cargo Handling

Optimization of route planning is no longer a ship-level activity. It will be done at port and on a fleet level, which will enable just-in-time arrival throughout the supply chain. Automatic mooring and efficient ship-to-ship cargo handling will minimize port stays.

                                                                                      Image by NYK Group

NYK’s reduction targets for GHG emissions are 30% per ton-kilometer by 2030 compared with a 2015 base year, and 50% per ton-kilometer by 2050 compared with the same base year. In order to do so the company plans to increase the efficiency of fleet allocation, vessel operation, and cargo handling, the ultimate goal being zero downtime; and realizing visualization and optimization through hardware innovation and digitalization.

Image Courtesy: NYK, Video Courtesy: Elomatic Oy