As NYK Line's car carrier Auriga Leader, which is partly powered by solar energy, made an inaugural call at the Port of Long Beach last week, the company announced another environment project designed to extend the length of car carriers made in Japan.
Research is now being carried out with the Monohakobi Technology Institute and Japan Maritime Science, into the operational efficiency of using larger vessels to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions per car. Most vessels made in Japan are under 200 metres in length.
The project is one of three being carried out by NYK in conjunction with supporting institutions and is being subsidised by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). A second project will confirm the frictional-resistance reduction created by air lubrication on a vessel module to be completed in 2010, while a third will look at joint development, again with Monohakobi Technology Institute, of a worldwide time-reservation system for berth windows and canal passages.
NYK was recently awarded the Logistics Environmental Grand Prize from the Japan Federation of Freight Industries in recognition of its plan to develop and order a car carrier targeting approximately 50% energy efficiency improvement by 2010, as well as its achievements in generating 0.3% of total power with solar panels on the Auriga Leader.
The Auriga Leader is fitted with 328 solar panels designed to generate up to 40 kW, decreasing demand on the ship's diesel-powered auxiliary engines. The photovoltaic panels are part of a technology demonstration project by Toyota and NYK.
The 656-foot, 60,000-ton vessel can carry up to 6,200 cars and is used to transport Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles from Toyota’s factories in Japan to the Port of Long Beach.
"The Auriga Leader is a perfect example of how the maritime industry is voluntarily finding new and innovative ways to be responsible stewards of the environment," said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. "Our port is a regional economic engine and in order to stay competitive, we must ensure that our growth is sustainable. That means minimizing the impact of shipping operations on the environment."