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NYK Successfully Undertakes Solar-Powered Voyage

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

09 July 2009


Tokyo-based shipping company NYK Line successfully undertook the debut international voyage of its revolutionary 665ft long car carrier ship, the M/V Auriga Leader, docking at the Port of Long Beach, Los Angeles. The environmentally-friendly carrier is a landmark project – the first major vessel to have all of its electronic functions partly-powered by solar panels, of which it has 328.

The panels, installed by Toyota as part of a joint venture, provide 10% of the energy needed to power Auriga Leader’s thrusters, hydraulics and steering gear – some feat on a 60,000-ton carrier which seldom transports less than 6,200 vehicles at a time. Toyota’s input was vital to the success of the project installing solar modules that are three times more efficient than those traditionally used elsewhere.

According to those involved with the project, the ship could have been equipped with more solar panels to provide a quarter of its energy needs, but capacity was limited as a precaution.

NYK’s work on improving the eco-friendliness of its vessels has been recognised by the Japan Federation of Freight Industries who awarded it the Logistics Environmental Grand Prize.

The prize, now in its tenth year, was created with a view to commending organizations, corporations and individuals for serving to promote the protection of the environment and promoting environment consciousness in the sphere of logistics.

NYK was recognised for its work not only for its recent work on the Auriga Leader M/V, but also for its commitment to improving its vessels’ energy efficiency by 50% by 2010.

Although NYK and Toyota have no plans to mass-produce the carrier at the moment, one representative noted that the ship ‘certainly will not be the last of its kind’, despite the USD1.8m price tag for its eco-friendly renovation.


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