Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No. 651: Japanese shipbuilding companies focus on eco-ships (November 20, 2012)

In a plant of Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding, a new environmental technology is being developed for practical application scheduled for next year. The new technology is to recover waste heat from the engine by the oil pump and use it as an aid to turn the crank axle of the propeller. The mechanism of this technology is like the mechanism used by a hybrid vehicle that uses regeneration energy of the break as a power source. The company reckons that this new technology will allow a bulker to save fuel cost by 20 million yen per year. The company is the front runner in building eco-ships that increase fuel consumption by 30% with improved design of ship and engine. Mitsubishi Heavy developed a technology to reduce frictional resistance by sending air bubbles to the ship bottom. This technology is expected to improve fuel efficiency by more than 10%.

The efforts of these shipbuilding companies are backed up material producers with advance technology. Nakashima Propeller has 3% share in the world ship propeller market with such advanced technology to build a propeller 12 m in diameter with an accuracy of one hundredth millimeter. The company is developing a propeller that uses carbon fiber reinforced plastic in alliance with the University of Tokyo and Class NK. A carbon fiber propeller has a specific gravity one fifth of a copper alloy propeller, and it is expected to save fuel cost by about 3%. A carbon fiber propeller is scheduled to make a debut in 2014.

Yanmar and Daihatsu Diesel are two of the four leading companies of ship diesel engines in the world market. Yanmar is one step ahead of the pack in the technology to cope with the regulation on emissions of nitrogen oxide. Nippon Paint has a technology to reduce the frictional resistance between the ship and seawater. This technology is based on the idea that the company got from a tuna swimming at 100 km/h in the sea. The company is scheduled to launch a new product that reduces fuel cost by 10% next year. Facing fierce competition with shipbuilding companies of Korea and China, Japanese shipbuilding companies focus on eco-ships with advanced energy saving technology. 
A ship propeller built by Nakashima Propeller 

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