Startup Aims to Launch World's First Battery Tanker by 2025

The battery tanker, designed to transport renewable energy from rural to urban areas, would allow for distribution of surplus clean energy across oceans.

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PowerX, a Tokyo-based startup company, is working to develop a "battery tanker", a cargo ship to transport energy. When completed, it will be the first of its kind.

The vessel would store surplus electricity from solar, wind, and other renewable energy produced in rural areas in storage batteries installed on board. The energy could then be transported to urban areas.

battery tanker
Storage batteries on the deck of the battery tanker. (Image courtesy of PowerX)

The government's Basic Plan on Ocean Policy, approved by the Cabinet in April 2023, clearly states that it will consider supporting this project. Likewise, major trading and power companies are supporting the project with their investments.

Delivering Excess Energy to Where It's Needed

Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kyushu, and other regions where renewable energy is expanding have recently seen a sharp increase in "output power control." Electric power companies are instructing operators to temporarily halt power generation to avoid an excess supply of electricity.

Overhead image of the battery tanker. (Image courtesy of PowerX)

Battery tankers, if successfully developed and commercialized, are expected to lead to more effective utilization of renewable energy.

Imabari Shipbuilding (Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture), one of the investing companies, is designing the vessel and aiming to complete it by 2025. The ship would be capable of transporting approximately 240,000 kWh of electricity at a time. This is the equivalent of the daily power usage of 24,000 households.

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