Japanese transport company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) announced that the Shofu Maru, the world’s first coal carrier partially powered by wind, has made its maiden voyage from Japan to Newcastle, Australia.
The Australian government has set a decarbonization policy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Local port officials in Newcastle have high expectations and interest in the SHOFU MARU, which contributes to decarbonization while transporting energy resources that support people’s lives.
The ship received a warm welcome to the port from concerned parties representing both Australia and Japan to take on its first cargo.
MOL works closely with the Australian energy industry and port authorities to achieve both stable fuel transport and a reduction in environmental impact. Its latest creation, Shofu Maru, is a pioneering coal carrier equipped with the Wind Challenger, a hard sail wind power propulsion system, in order to reduce toxic emissions. The coal carrier can carry 80,000 tonnes of coal and boasts new technology in the form of a telescopic fiberglass sail that can extend to 55 meters.
Based on early trials, Shofu Maru was expected to use 5% less fuel between Australia and Japan, the company says. That may not seem like a lot, but the reduction equated to 25,000 liters of fuel, with the vessel normally using 500,000L for a trip of that length.
The Wind Challenger could help reduce fuel consumption even by 8% on an average trip between Japan and the United States due to stronger winds in the northern hemisphere.