Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, in collaboration with Kyushu University and Taiyo Sangyo Co., is progressing with the next phase of its Wind Hunter Project, a plan to develop a zero-emission ship powered by wind and manufacturing hydrogen from seawater. With the help of a Japanese subsidy programme, the project will progress on the development of technologies to purify water for the creation of hydrogen.

The Wind Hunter’s concept is that the vessel would utilise sails for some of its propulsion and would also create hydrogen, which would be stored in tanks on board. When the wind is feeble, the ship will use the hydrogen as a fuel cell, delivering energy and thereby powering the ship’s electric propellers. MOL unveiled the concept in 2020.

They say that hydrogen generation necessitates a greater level of water cleanliness, much more than drinking water. Seawater would be purified first during the Wind Hunter hydrogen production process by passing it through a filter to remove impurities such as organic matter (carbon content, microplastics, etc.), inorganic matter (iron, magnesium, sodium), and sludge, but they note that the filters currently in use require frequent replacement.

MOL states that by comparing saltwater to fresh water from Lake Biwa, it will examine the consequences of changes in water quality and develop a flexible clean water manufacturing method.

MOL stated that the project aims to create a larger-scale, approximately 195-foot-long vessel by 2024 as the second stage of testing after completing tests on a small ship in Nagasaki in 2021. A much larger zero-emission vessel should be developed and built by 2030, according to the Wind Hunter project plan.

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