The first of its type, the all-electric cargo ship has been launched by China as reported by the China Daily. It is designed by Hangzhou Modern Ship Design & Research Co. The 230-foot long vessel is equipped with a 2,400 kWh lithium-ion battery that stores enough electrical energy to transport 2200 tons of cargo a distance of 50 miles on a single charge at a top speed of about 8 miles per hour. It requires about 2,400 KWh of energy to get charged which would take approximately 2 hours and after getting charged for two hours it can travel 80 Kms.
As noted, two hours would be the time to unload the cargo, so the ship wouldn’t be down at any time of service. Since the ship is fully electric, it does not have any threat to the environment, which is a bonus. It is assumed that this technology will soon be used in passenger or engineering ships.
Although the cargo ship is environment-friendly, the aim was not to create an environmental-friendly ship but related to monetary. Hopefully, China’s aim to utilize more solar energy will eventually allow the ship to transfer its energy generating needs from coal to the sun.
For now, the electric ship will haul coal mainly via the Pearl River. In Beijing and Singapore, there are high-end solar projects planned which could eventually make the need for coal and other fossil fuels a moot point. Coal provides 70 percent of the country’s energy and fuels China’s economic miracle. But it’s also the biggest source of air pollution and the government war on pollution, now in its third year, has not delivered results.
The new cargo ship has mainly two major benefits, first, it emits no carbon emissions, since cargo vessels are considered to be a major source of pollution in the entire transportation sector. Secondly, it will decrease the cost of transformation, since the price of electricity is lower than diesel and fossil fuels. This kind of ship takes into consideration the harmony between humans and nature and can protect water quality and marine life, and should be copied by other ships sailing on local rivers.
Running on electricity is way better than burning tons of fuel oil, but using clean energy to deliver coal brings us to the same starting point. Just hoping that the cargo ship won’t be carrying coal for long.
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