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Wednesday, March 4, 2020 

Eco Marine Power (EMP) has opened an EnergySail demonstration and test unit at the Onomichi Marine Tech Test Centre (MTTC) in Japan, incorporating a full scale post-prototype version of one of the smaller types of EnergySail that will be put into commercial service.

The demonstration sail was manufactured by EMP’s strategic partner Teramoto Iron Works and will be used for customer demonstrations for potential and preparations for sea trials. EnergySail can be fitted with marine-grade photovoltaic (PV) panels to provide a zero emissions source of supplementary propulsive and electrical power. Currently EMP is evaluating a number of (PV) panel types at the Onomichi MTTC in order to determine the optimum panel type to be used in sea trials later in 2020. The demonstration and test unit has an overall height of about 6m when raised and can be lowered and stored when not in use.

The flexible design of the EnergySail enables it to be upgraded so that newer technologies can be incorporated as developed, as well as to require little maintenance and withstand harsh sea conditions. These features of the design will be evaluated during further shore-based testing. The EnergySail is a core sub-system of EMP’s Aquarius MRE (marine renewable energy) system, which combines wind, PV, energy storage and marine computer technologies into a scalable clean energy system for a wide range of ship types. The PV power sub-system of Aquarius MRE has been installed on ships and the next step will be to combine this with EnergySail. A complete Aquarius MRE solution is scheduled for installation this year.

Representatives from Zeaborn Ship Management of Singapore recently inspected the EnergySail and other equipment at the Onomichi MTTC including marine solar panels and the TM-600 jack-up rig system. Zeaborn manages more than 130 vessels, and has embarked upon a drive towards digitalization and marine innovation projects. Zeaborn is participating in sustainable energy projects together with EMP and its partners.

Greg Atkinson, CTO EMP said: “We have spent some years now working towards the commercial deployment of our EnergySail rather than simply installing a prototype onto a ship. This is because we have been focused on getting a class-approved and cost effective sail-assisted propulsion system ready that can also be integrated with other systems via our Aquarius MRE solution. Installing an integrated class-approved renewable energy system with the EnergySail’s as a source of zero emissions power will be a major step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.”

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