MOL building integrated wind-hydrogen-producing ship

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), a large Japanese shipping company, intends to start building Wind Hunter, a hydrogen-producing ship with several stiff sails, in 2024.

The building is a component of the company’s Wind Hunter initiative, which looks for novel uses for wind energy and hydrogen fuel.

The project aims to create hydrogen for use during lower wind stages of the journey using MOL’s rigid, collapsible sail technology developed under the Wind Challenger project on ships capable of capturing that power during high wind periods.

Specifically, the 60 to 70 meter long zero-emission seagoing cargo ship would not require refueling because it would sail using hydrogen created onboard and wind assisted power when there are strong winds.

Electricity produced by underwater turbines spinning in the water would be used to electrolyze pure seawater to produce hydrogen. The liquid form of methylcyclohexane (MCH), which can be stored and transported safely and affordably, would then be used to store the hydrogen in a tank.

The ship would use the hydrogen it had stored to power a fuel cell that delivered electricity, which would then power electric propellers that propelled the ship forward when the wind was light.

MOL has already finished demonstration testing using a boat in Nagasaki Prefecture’s Omura Bay. The Wind Hunter project’s zero-emission ship, which is powered by wind and hydrogen, successfully measured the 15-kilometer area’s real-time and three-dimensional wind conditions while it was in motion.