MOL to Build "Wind Hunter"

MOL to Build "Wind Hunter"

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), a major Japanese shipping company, intends to start building Wind Hunter, a hydrogen-producing ship with several rigid sails, in 2024.

The building is a component of the company's Wind Hunter initiative, which looks for novel uses for wind energy and hydrogen fuel.

The project aims to create hydrogen for use during lower wind stages of the journey using MOL's rigid, collapsible sail technology developed under the Wind Challenger project on ships capable of capturing that power during high wind periods.

Specifically, the 60 to 70-meter-long zero-emission seagoing cargo ship would not require refueling because it would sail using hydrogen created onboard and wind-assisted power when there are strong winds.

Electricity produced by underwater turbines spinning in the water would be used to electrolyze pure seawater to produce hydrogen. The liquid form of methylcyclohexane (MCH), which can be stored and transported safely and affordably, would then store the hydrogen in a tank.

The ship would use the hydrogen it had stored to power a fuel cell that delivered electricity, then power electric propellers that propelled the boat forward when the wind was light.

In addition, the ship will be equipped with the newest digital technology to enable remote monitoring and control, allowing it to cruise independently without anyone onboard.

The vessel would also be fitted with route navigation equipment to locate the ideal wind conditions and optimize the ship's course.

"By 2030, we expect to construct a large zero-emissions hydrogen-producing cargo ship. There are still many challenges to be solved, but taking on challenges is what we do at Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and this is a journey that will chart a direct route to the future," MOL said in a statement.

MOL has already finished demonstration testing using a boat in Nagasaki Prefecture's Omura Bay.

The Wind Hunter project's zero-emission ship, which is powered by wind and hydrogen, successfully measured the 15-kilometer area's real-time and three-dimensional wind conditions while it was in motion.

In 2020, MOL joined the corporate-academic collaboration on a zero-emission project.

Participating organizations include Ouchi Ocean Consultant, the National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI) of the National Institute of Maritime, Port, and Aviation Technology (MPAT), Smart Design Co., the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences of The University of Tokyo, the West Japan Fluid Engineering Laboratory Co., Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), and Miraihene Planning.

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