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Power China Earth Transportation

China Has Launched the World's First All-Electric Cargo Ship (futurism.com) 150

slash.jit writes: China has launched the world's first all-electric cargo ship. It can travel 80 kilometers (approximately 50 miles) after being charged for 2 hours. As noted by Clean Technica, 2 hours is roughly the amount of time it would take to unload the ship's cargo while docked. Oh...and Ironically, the world's first all-electric cargo ship is being used to move coal.
China Daily reports that the 230 foot long vessel is equipped with a 2,400 kWh lithium-ion battery, a cheaper and cleaner power supply. And Clean Technica notes that that battery is comprised of 1,000 individual lithium-ion packs, while "Adding enough power to carry more cargo is simply a matter of adding more battery packs."
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China Has Launched the World's First All-Electric Cargo Ship

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  • next we'll have (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2017 @06:43PM (#55708375)

    Wind powered ships with sails and shit

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "instead of using a turbine to charge the batteries, we've saved tons in conversion losses by using the innovative technique of powering the ship directly by wind"

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Too little power density for modern cargo transport needs - even with modern techniques such as rotosails and kite sails (although they can reduce ship consumption.

      A much more plausible approach would be deepwater wind turbines and floating solar, both of which exist (but aren't currently as cheap as their onshore equivalents). Floating "gigachargers", if you will, across major sea lanes. As XKCD put it... [xkcd.com]

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Well the point of kite sails and Flettner Rotors isn't to replace traditional propulsion, but to harness free assist to traditional propulsion to reduce fuel consumption -- physically savings of 15-20% seem feasible.

        The problem is that there isn't a lot of practical experience with such systems, and fuel prices have been too low for private companies to gamble on unproven tech.

    • e retards.

    • Wind powered ships with sails and shit

      Next? There are wind powered ships with sails and shit under development as we speak. The concepts range anywhere from augmenting normal diesel propulsion with computer controlled sail to a ships with a super light shape optimised hull, a battery-electric propulsion and a combination of solar panels and computer controlled sails. Some of these things look like something straight out of the 5th element's Fhloston paradise. The shipping companies have expressed interest because of the potential fuel savings.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They actually do already. Rather than big cloth sails they use vertical spinning ones now, which reduce the load on the engines. They have also experimented with kites.

      • They actually do already. Rather than big cloth sails they use vertical spinning ones now, which reduce the load on the engines. They have also experimented with kites.

        Like this bad boy - interestingly enough, used to transport wind turbine blades https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        It's been out since 2010.

    • It's a container ship. Now, if only someone could think of a way to install and uninstall battery capacity quickly and easily, and what to do with those batteries while they're sitting there in the sun not being used...

      • It's a container ship. Now, if only someone could think of a way to install and uninstall battery capacity quickly and easily, and what to do with those batteries while they're sitting there in the sun not being used...

        It's a bulker, don't look at that picture at the top of the article. (For one thing, the ship is only 200-something feet long, isn't a standard cointainer 53'?)

        I'm sure the batteries are below her belt, (indirectly) cooled by the water. And why would you need to change battery capacity quickly? She'll be doing the same route her entire life. They can probably change out a faulty group of cells very quickly and easily any time she's in port, and probably even while she's under way.

        • It's a bulker, don't look at that picture at the top of the article. (For one thing, the ship is only 200-something feet long, isn't a standard cointainer 53'?)

          I'm sure the batteries are below her belt, (indirectly) cooled by the water. And why would you need to change battery capacity quickly? She'll be doing the same route her entire life. They can probably change out a faulty group of cells very quickly and easily any time she's in port, and probably even while she's under way.

          Ah, you are right. Fooled by a damned stock photo :(

          You'll have to apply my facetious idea to a future electric container ship. Then it will make more sense. In that scenario, you might change battery capacity to suit the route to next be embarked on. More importantly, you might change battery charge quickly rather then charging the batteries in place; you would charge the batteries on shore using the cheapest power source available, when available, and install them on the next ship to arrive.

  • by Noishkel ( 3464121 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:01PM (#55708423)

    Because at least check China produces about 80% of it's power generation from burning coal.

    http://www.chinafaqs.org/issue/coal-electricity

    Remember: never trust some bullshit click bail green washing headline when you can easily check the facts for yourself.

    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:11PM (#55708455) Homepage

      As of 2016, it was down to 2/3rds [nrdc.org]. Like everywhere else, China's grid is changing fast.

      • And BTW.... (Score:2, Troll)

        by Noishkel ( 3464121 )
        I did notice that your graph mentions that only about 4% of that power comes from Wind and only 1.1% comes from solar. The next biggest chuck of it is coming from hydroelectric at 19.7% I guess you think building a shit load of new dams doesn't come with it's own serious problems. And that's before we get into the major issue that Chinese construction techniques and poor safety records.
        • Re:And BTW.... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:52PM (#55708605) Homepage

          I did notice that your graph mentions that only about 4% of that power comes from Wind and only 1.1% comes from solar

          That's because A) they've been undergoing an exponential scaleup, meaning the quantities didn't become meaningful until recently, and B) it takes time to replace an entire electrical generation system. In 2016 alone China installed 35GW of solar capacity, for example, nearly doubling their total (coal is 943GW currently installed). It's clear that it's only a matter of time.

          • And also I guess we're just supposed to forget that China has rampant problems with air quality and particular matter. All of which really fucks with solar power efficient. And you're just not going to ramp up one enough to displace the other.

            Of course at all assumes that the Chinese government isn't just lying about their plans and capability to even do this. Something that the government of that nation has systemic problems with doing both historically and today. yeah that whole 'Great Leap Forward' t

            • by Rei ( 128717 )

              A large portion of China's solar power deployment is west of the industrial heartland, in the high deserts, connected to cities by HVDC lines. Furthermore, solar panels don't "breathe"; most pollutants don't affect them, and nor do they care about whether PM is fine/health effecting, or natural coarse PM blown up from the ground. Solar farms are cleaned regularly for a reason.

              Whether you like it or not, this is happening. Already is happening, continues happening, the rate keeps accelerating, and the fun

              • Okay now your just flat out lying. And as such I'm not going to response to anything you say beyond this.

                ALL solar systems are very much affected by particulate matter in the air, that shit does NOT just 'blow off'. In fact most of them require large amount of water to constantly clean the fucking things. There's also the problem that Solar panels are not eternal. In fact temperature changes in them is why the eventually start to fail. And then you also have the nice problem with disposing of large amo

                • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by Rei ( 128717 )

                  ALL solar systems are very much affected by particulate matter in the air. fact most of them require large amount of water to constantly clean the fucking things.

                  Re-read and try again.

                • ALL solar systems are very much affected by particulate matter in the air

                  Are you really pointing out the fact that solar panels are adversely affected by the very air borne particulate matter that they help to eliminate? Really?

                • Yeh, its not like water ever just falls from the sky, and cleans the panels.
                  3 years in im still getting full output from my panels, which have never been cleaned other than by nature.
                  They produce all my power needs, including Air cond.
                  Hoe are thing back in the 20th century?

                • You are just an idiot who knows nothing about the topic ... e.g. like to explain what toxic stuff is produced and deposed?

      • So has China, like the rest of the world, stopped building coal-fired power generators?

        • the route to a safe and clean renewable future is not an overnight one. Your expectations are too high for an overnight replacement of dirty fossil fuel power. They didn't have fossil fuel power in place overnight to supply the whole nation either when they built the first coal fired power station.
    • by swell ( 195815 )

      They're not stupid, you know.

      They probably have a windmill generator on the roof, so as they speed through the ocean the wind recharges the batteries. If they go super fast, the extra generated power is used to create bitcoin, which in turn pays for the cost of the batteries and windmill.

      Very clever those Chinese!

      • Run the propeller with waste heat from the bitcoin miners.

      • They're not stupid, you know.

        They probably have a windmill generator on the roof, so as they speed through the ocean the wind recharges the batteries. If they go super fast, the extra generated power is used to create bitcoin, which in turn pays for the cost of the batteries and windmill.

        Very clever those Chinese!

        Good to see that someone figured it out!

        Anyhow, I'm impressed with the high dudgeon humor - well played, sir.

    • Thankfully, electric motors powered 100% by coal power plants still produce far less CO2 than diesel engines on board ship.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Remember: never trust some bullshit click bail green washing headline when you can easily check the facts for yourself.

      Yeah, about that... Let's look at this "China FAQs" site you linked to. If you just go to the front page we see a series of stories...

      Chinaâ(TM)s Decline in Coal Consumption Drives Global Slowdown in Emissions
      China is Leaving the U.S. Behind on Clean Energy Investment

      So according to those two (literally the two most recent headlines) China is actually doing quite a lot to stop using coal (its consumption actually peaked a few years ago and is in decline), more so than the world's other big polluter in

      • Remember: never trust some bullshit click bail green washing headline when you can easily check the facts for yourself.

        Yeah, about that... Let's look at this "China FAQs" site you linked to. If you just go to the front page we see a series of stories...

        Chinaâ(TM)s Decline in Coal Consumption Drives Global Slowdown in Emissions China is Leaving the U.S. Behind on Clean Energy Investment

        At least at this point in history, China, whatever else thy are understands the issues with coal. The dangers of mining it, using it, and understanding that it will not last forever.

        Here in America, we have political truths that trump physics. Coal is clean, and safe, and will last forever, so there is no need to explore other alternatives, as supply side jeebuz will provide.

    • Because at least check China produces about 80% of it's power generation from burning coal.

      So what's your point? That China can never experiment with new motive power sources because coal?

      That the laws of physics tell us that only coal generated electricity can run this ship?

    • Because at least check China produces about 80% of it's power generation from burning coal.

      Your own link says 69%.

      Remember: never trust some bullshit click bail green washing headline when you can easily check the facts for yourself.

      Heh ironic...

  • by greenwow ( 3635575 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:07PM (#55708439)

    The article should have mentioned that.

    • Well, if the batteries ever catch fire - that's going to be quite a spectacle, what with the coal and all.

  • Not only do batteries need charging but they also wear out. Li are no exception.

    • Wait until you find out that engines need maintenance. Then I'm sure you'll campaign for the complete cessation of movement of people and cargo because it would never work right?

    • Not only do batteries need charging but they also wear out. Li are no exception.

      This! Mechanical engines all last forever. Mechanical Internal combustion engines use no fuel either, they are powered by the tears of liberals guess. Finally, they are free.

  • And Clean Technica notes that that battery is comprised of 1,000 individual lithium-ion packs, while "Adding enough power to carry more cargo is simply a matter of adding more battery packs."

    Adding more battery packs also leaves less space to carry cargo, though.

    • Adding more battery packs also leaves less space to carry cargo, though.

      Quick, list the modes of transportation which do not suffer from this exact same problem.

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        Rail. Adding greater fuel capacity has no impact on freight capacity. Up to the practical limit on length of the train, of course.

  • If it's within 50 kilometers build railroad track, possibly with overhead wires for powers. Seems to me it would be much more efficient, and cheaper.

    Then again, I write low level software like device drivers, so WTF do I know about hauling cargo anywhere?
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Not everything fits into a container for rail transport, onto the back of a truck.
      Tourism in nice quaint lake area with new gov regulations about not having more pollution.
      Buy a ship from China and impress local regulators with no more local pollution.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Probably because building a railroad is uneconomical for the quantity of coal they're planning to move. Not because the *track* is expensive, but obtaining the land for 50 km of railroad could be pretty expensive in some places compared to building what is in effect a very *tiny* bulk carrier that operates on the existing river channels.

      Also because the operation of this particular ship is a step toward gaining the experience they need to build more capable vessels. State supported Chinese industries ofte

    • And if you are island hopping to deliver? Seems like their solution for a particular problem they have otherwise they'd use existing tech.
    • It is easier to load and unload a cargo ship than a train with same amount of cargo.
      That actually should be a no brainer.

    • The reason is that it boat will deliver coal to seven current coal plants and probably more on the way and those coal plants are on different sides of the water. A train would require bridges and other infrastructure, hilly area, so the boat is the easiest way.
  • While the electricity to charge the ship might be from coal at the moment there are three huge advantages to an electric shipping vessel.

    First being that an electric ship doesn't care where it gets the electricity from so it can be charged from what ever source is available, be it solar, wind, nuclear, petroleum diesel, gas or coal. with the alternatives being switched into service as available without needing to refit the ship.

    The second, and in my view best, advantage of an electric ship is that it moves

  • This just in... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by kenh ( 9056 )

    China built a coal ship that runs on batteries for FIFTY while miles before needing a recharge!

    That means it can go a whopping 25 miles away from port unless the destination also has a suitable charging station.

    Color me under-whelmed.

    Was it cheaper to build? Operate? Staff?

    Aside from a puny range of operation, what is the benefit? Oh yeah, it runs on electricity, which, in China is probably from coal-fired plant, so what we have is a "new" coal-fired ship, difference is, the coal is burned elsewhere.

    Big who

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      1) It's not even remotely close to the limit of what's possible. Within orders of magnitude.

      2) It's designed for a specific, 50mi trip, not go to on arbitrary routes. Most coliers are.

      3) It probably was pretty darn cheap. The battery should be around $300k, which for a collier... that's nothing.

      4) Staffing should be the same or less. There's not much really to operate.

      5) It should be significantly cheaper per unit distance traveled; electricity is cheaper than oil, by a good margin. It should also be m

    • The chances are each port it docks to unload will have a charger. The Orkney Islands in the UK are starting out along this route. They produce excess renewables so they use it to create hydrogen. Its early days so baby steps at the moment http://www.surfnturf.org.uk/ [surfnturf.org.uk]
      You can watch this and it will give you an overview of what the EV ship idea is all about (its the Orkney solution). https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      Someone should stuff your face in a coal chute and hold it there while someone else lights a match and tosses it in. You are stupid, bigoted, and generally worth less than the shit you made in your underpants.

  • I wonder why they did not put solar panels on it. That may not provide all required energy, but it would reduce the frequency of battery recharge.
    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      Harvesting energy from waves also seems an obvious charging mechanism for a cargo ship. Though with a range of 50 miles, this particular one is probably limited to use on inland waterways.
    • by catprog ( 849688 )

      Solar is not even close to the required energy density

  • How is this better? They will use a lot of fossil fuel produce the batteries. It is a nightmare to dispose of the batteries when they go bad. .And they are recharged with power made with fossil fuel. Beyond Stupid.
    • The battery creation is a one off job and its a reusable product and are you sure they don't run their battery production off renewables ,even at my home i can tell the utility to only provide me with power from renewables.
  • Cargo ships are the most efficient way to move cargo. They are four times as efficient as rail, and 15x as efficient as trucks.
    Using oil to power them is pretty sensible, and furthermore the pollution is emitted at sea, where the concentration of such pollution is low. It's hard to imagine that any non-solar/wind way of powering these rechargeable ships would be more efficient than simply using oil.

    So this sounds like a stupid idea.

    We need to solve the problems of
    * pollution in built up areas - this doesn't

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      It sounds stupid to you because you're an ignorant piece of filth that wouldn't know a smart idea if it ripped your penis off.

    • "furthermore the pollution is emitted at sea, where the concentration of such pollution is low. " for how long and why is "out of sight, out of mind" a good idea? Plastic is already an ocean problem and its getting onto the food chain.
      "* pollution in built up areas - this doesn't do that" - it does do that, ever looked at the water quality in a harbour?
      "* overall emission of greenhouse gases - the effect would be marginal" - true, if it was ever going to be one ship - think bigger
      "But offshore bulk car
    • They aren't at sea. They are in a river where the pollution matters quite a bit more.

      And using electricity to haul coal _is_ ironic, owever, it's still a good idea because the coal is going to be delivered regardless.

      Kind of like selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. The real choice isn't between them buying or not buying weapons; it is whether they buy weapons systems from the US or from China or from Russia (which is different from the US at least for the time being).
    • Perhaps you want to look at an actual sea traffic route.
      Close to shore you see hundrets of ships at the same time.
      I mean: you take your camera, make 360 degrees panorama picture, and you literraly see 100 or more ships.

      Then again, ocean going ships don't just burn oil or diesel, they burn basically the stuff we use to plaster our streets with. Not sure if you call it tar.
      That oil is so heavy it has to be melted before you can pump it into an Diesel engine.
      And it cotains so much sulfur that running them in

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