The news of a hybrid-powered car carrier will be music to the ears of many of our readers who commented about the lack of regulation of emissions from ocean-faring vessels in our latest editorial.
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Beginning this month, Toyota Prius vehicles and other hybrids from the Japanese manufacturer will be transported across the Pacific Ocean in a diesel-hybrid car carrier.

The Auriga Leader has been a pioneer in environmentally friendly shipping since 2009.

At the time, it was fitted with 328 solar cells in an attempt to reduce its dependence on oil. It saved an average of 13 tonnes of fuel and 40 tonnes of CO


per year, although that equated to just one percent of the ship’s electric equipment and 0.05 percent of its propulsion power.

According to environmental website Gas 2.0, the average car carrying ship uses 120 gallons of fuel per mile (28,225 litres/100km), which makes the emissions of the cars onboard seem largely insignificant.

The Auriga Leader has now been fitted with a number of massive nickel-hydrogen batteries. Its generator has also been retrofitted to run on low-sulphur diesel.

So far, no predictions of fuel or emissions savings have been released, although the hybrid system is expected to lead to significant reductions in consumption and emissions compared with the solar panels.

Like the solar panel experiment, the hybrid system will be tested over the coming years. If the system is effective, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and NYK line plan to commercialise the technology and implement it in more ocean-liners.