The Japan Patent Office has granted a patent to Eco Marine Power (EMP) for its innovative EnergySail technology, an advanced rigid sail device that can be fitted with a range of renewable energy technologies such as solar panels or wind power devices. With the patent in place, EMP can now begin licensing the technology to proceed so that commercial production of the sail and associated technologies can begin in 2018.
A unique renewable energy platform, EnergySail has been designed specifically for shipping and is suitable for a variety of vessels ranging from cargo ships and RoRo vessels to passenger ferries and coastguard ships. The design was developed to provide a source of clean power that will aid in the reduction of CO2 emissions in the shipping sector.
The patent covers the main design elements incorporated into the EnergySail including its grid structure, functional panels and device for reducing sudden wind loads. These elements can be applied to a sail type device or used as a platform for wind power and solar power devices.
“This is another important milestone for Eco Marine Power, and the granting of this patent illustrates the innovative nature of the fuel and emission reduction solutions we are developing for shipping,” said Greg Atkinson, Chief Technology Officer at EMP, a developer of fuel and emission reduction solutions for ships. “The technologies associated with this patent have applications across shipping and could also be incorporated into coastal or offshore renewable energy projects.”
An example of how an EnergySail array and other associated technologies could be incorporated into a modern low emission, sustainable ship design concept is the the Aquarius Eco Ship from EMP. The vessel leverages solar and wind power together to reduce fuel consumption and lower noxious gas emissions.
The EnergySail’s flexible nature allows for it to be upgraded during theship’s lifecycle so that newer technologies can be incorporated as they become available, EMP noted.
According to EMP, several shipping companies have expressed interest in the EnergySail and the first production version has been manufactured by Teramoto Iron Works of Onomichi, Japan, who was also involved in the production of rigid sails in Japan during the 1980s.
Earlier this year EMP was granted a patent in Japan and the U.S. for another concept related to the use of wind and solar power from ships.