Japan's First (Barely) Solar Powered Cargo Ship Takes to the Waves
Not the solar powered ship itself, but a car carrier from Nippon Yusen KK, who developed the ship. Photo: NYK
Although it’s being billed as Japan’s first solar powered cargo ship the amount of renewable energy onboard is so small that I frankly find it laughable. Although the Auriga Leader, a freighter capable of carrying 6,400 automobiles, does have 328 solar panels on board they produce only 40 kilowatts of power, a figure which is a mere 0.2% of the ships overall energy usage. Here are some more details:Solar Power Runs Lighting Onboard
According to the original ENN piece (sourced as AFP), company officials have said that the solar power on the 200 meter long ship currently runs the supporting lighting onboard as well as the crew living quarters. Which then makes it odd that they also say that the ship is the first in the world with a solar-based propulsion system.
Though company officials say they hope to generate a greater proportion of the ship’s energy from solar power in the future, with such a small percentage of power usage generated from solar (I imagine they could probably have reduced energy usage by a similar amount through simply swapping the regular lightbulbs with CFLs), they clearly have their work cut out for them.
The Auriga Leader has been developed by shipping company Nippon Yusen K.K. and the Nippon Oil Corporation.