Japan to America – a bright spark for Prius

We’ve already looked at the how the power of the sun is used to fuel the factory where Prius is made and to keep it cool on a hot day. But news from America this week has alerted us to how solar power is helping reduce the environmental impact of shipping the hybrid cars across the Pacific.

The Auriga Leader, the world’s first car carrier to use solar power, has docked for the first time in Long Beach, California, loaded with Prius and other Toyota and Lexus models exported to the North American market from Kobe, Japan.

Auriga Leader

The top deck of the ship is fitted with 328 photovoltaic solar panels that can generate up to 40 kilowatts of electrical power, reducing demand on the diesel engines and thus cutting emissions and fuel costs.

The technology is being demonstrated in a joint project by Toyota and NYK Line, the ship’s owner and operator. By 2010, NYK Line aims to halve its car carrier energy consumption through a combination of green-focused measures including solar power, redesigned hulls for its ships, propulsion systems and improved shipping operations and cargo handling.

The 60,000-ton (54,400-tonne) vessel is 656 feet (200 metres) long and can carry up to 6,200 cars. Launched in December last year, it is a joint venture by NYK Line and Nippon Oil Corporation.

Comments (2)

  1. Don’t forget those solar panels are normally very heavy and thus will consume more fuel to move them, or the ship has to carry less cars so the CO2 emmission per vehicle moved will be higher!!

  2. Ever the pesimist i’d like to make a point here because in the intrests of good reporting it has to be made solar power is a wonderfull thing in the correct application. But for consideration
    40KW = 40,000 Watts
    1 hp = 750 Watts
    so it is producing 53 hp

    i know nothing about shipping motors but i would be suprised if something that size doesn’t have 2 or more 10,000+hp motors.

    would that really be that much extra load on the motors? or would those solar pannels have gone to better use say on the backs of mobile phones or running an air conditioner somewhere (i believe this to be the ideal application).

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