Japanese battery company PowerX unveils world’s first Battery Tanker

Image credit: PowerX

PowerX, a Japanese battery startup, recently introduced the design of the first-ever “Battery Tanker” at the Bariship International Maritime Exhibition held in Imabari City, Japan

The ship, dubbed ‘X’, is expected to be completed in 2026, with domestic and international field testing planned for 2026. 

The Battery Tanker has a length of 140 m and will be equipped with 96 containerised marine batteries with a total capacity of 241 MWh. 

The onboard battery system is based on PowerX’s proprietary module design, leveraging lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells that are designed to ensure a lifespan of over 6,000 cycles. 

Furthermore, the battery is capable of handling scalability, allowing for the installation of additional batteries to create larger electric transport vessels, such as Power Ark 1000 or even larger sizes to meet specific mission requirements. 

The system includes dedicated gas emission control and fire suppression mechanisms to ensure safety. 

All batteries will be manufactured in-house in Okayama Prefecture and are scheduled to obtain international ship classification certifications and applicable standards, such as DNV and Class NK, undergoing rigorous testing to meet the strictest conditions. 

Delivery of the batteries is slated to begin in mid-2024. 

Onboard battery systems allow Battery Tankers to store and transport surplus electricity generated from renewable sources. Decommissioned or idle thermal power plants located near ports can be retrofitted into charge/discharge points for the Battery Tankers, where the power is transmitted to users via grid connections on the land, enabling further effective use of renewable energy.

Battery Tankers are expected to establish new power transmission networks across the sea, promoting renewable energy storage, supply, and utilisation. The technology is intended to enable the installation of offshore wind farms in areas where undersea cable deployment was once challenging. 

PowerX has signed a memorandum of understanding and partnership agreement with Kyushu Electric Power and the city of Yokohama to further develop the novel maritime power transmission concept and achieve carbon-neutral ports. 

The first Battery Tanker is scheduled for domestic and international field testing starting in 2026.