Nichioh Maru – The First Car Carrier with Solar Power System


Nichioh Maru car carrier represents a major stride forward in the concept of eco-friendly ships. The green ship boasts of the unique distinction of being the first car carrier to be equipped with the solar-energy power generation systems.  Operating internally within Japan, the green ship has been in commercial service since 2012.

The Shin Kurushima Shipbuilding Company undertook the solar car carrier ship’s construction as per the specifications stated by its owners, Nissan. Presently, the Nichioh Maru is operated by the Nitto Kaiun Company.

Nichioh Maru Car Carrier: Characteristics and Singularity

Nichioh Maru

Mainly used to transport Nissan cars internally between the regions of Honshu (Yokohama and Kobe) to Kyushu, the car carrier is the first vessel to be operated on electronic-diesel power. The vessel’s construction follows Nissan’s initiative to come up with sustainable eco-friendly alternatives in its maritime ventures.

Almost 1,400 cars can be accommodated onto the solar ship which measures almost 170 meters lengthwise and a width of about 26 meters. The green ship’s constructional features also include a specially crafted hull that substantially reduces the vessel’s resistance against the incoming air currents while on water.

Nichioh Maru loading

This unique engineering system helps the vessel to reduce nearly 1,400 tonnes of exhaust discharges. This accounts for an estimated reduction in carbon dioxide discharges by over 4,000 tonnes, yearly. The car carrier is equipped with over 28 solar panels. These solar panels help to generate power to light the ship’s LED-based lighting systems.

Future Expectations

Nichioh Maru bow

The tremendous success of the Nichioh Maru car carrier has led to additional expectations of marine ecology preservation being placed on leading maritime companies of the world. Nissan has come up with a 2016 deadline as a part of its obligations towards preserving and sustaining the marine ecology. The launching of the Nichioh Maru solar ship is thus yet another step towards achieving this objective.

Other green ships with solar power generation system are Auriga Leader – The World’s First Partially Propelled Cargo Ship and PlanetSolar – The Largest Solar Boat in the World.






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