PV on shipping

As we aim to reduce our carbon emissions from transport, the problem of fuel for shipping presents an interesting dilemma. How do we transport material across the world in a time efficient, cost effective and low emission way?

Emissions from the global shipping industry amount to around 1 billion tonnes a year, accounting for 3% of the world’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 4% of the EU’s total emissions.

Due to increasing concerns over this emission level from shipping, more stringent legislation and the need to become more cost competitive through reducing fuel consumption, there is a growing demand for more energy efficient ships.

The INOvative energy MANagement System for cargo SHIP (INOMANS²HIP) project is investigating these problems.  INOMANS2HIP aims to explore and develop smart energy management strategies to reduce on-board CO2 emissions.

One element of this project is investigating the opportunity to integrate clean energy generation utilising solar photovoltaics (PV). Over the last 4 years, PV has been become a very successful technology on land and now accounts for more than 1% of global electricity supply even in this short space of time.  But how practical is this technology at sea on moving vessels?

The Sun on the Sea

Historically, we have been interested only on landfall solar irradiation as we plan our electricity generation near to the place of use e.g. on buildings or land. However, due to the nature of solar irradiation on the Earth, the sun continues to shine as we move offshore and we can utilise available solar irradiation mapping to gauge the intensity of incident solar irradiation we can expect on the seas.

Global irradiance map Adapted from Source, WWF. 2010. The Energy Report – 100% Renewable Energy by 2050. www.panda.org/energyreport

The Ship on the Sea

The INOMANS2HIP project has research access to a confidential cargo ships, which historically ran between Harwich and Europort Rotterdam. This journey is 99 nautical miles and takes approximately 5 hours.

Route of hypothetical cargo ship

PV on the side of the ship

In addition to PV on the main surface of the ship, PV can be places on the side of the ship. Although this may not perform as efficiently as that on-board, it is still a good use of area.

Based roughly on the dimensions and design of the Carrier, a to-scale computer model was produced. The approximate surface areas suitable for covering with PV (ie within freeboard area) were established. These were then covered with industry standards-sized modules. Even a conservative tessellation allowed space for 900 modules on both the port and starboard.

Assuming a module rating of 250Wp this gives a combined installed capacity of (900 x 2 x 250) 450kWp of solar PV.

Photovoltaic array on the side of the example carrier


Energy Generation from PV on the Ship on the Sea – see Blog part 2





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>