Japan plans battery/​fuel cell powered tug

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 30 October 2019


Japanese tug operator Tokyo Kisen and electrification specialist e5 Lab have jointly developed a new concept design under the title e5 Tug of an electric propulsion harbour tugboat powered by large-capacity battery and a hydrogen fuel cell.

The e5 Tug is equipped with a propulsion system running on “e5 powertrain platform”, devised and planned by e5 Lab, utilising a large-capacity battery system as a main power source and a hydrogen fuel cell and generator as the auxiliary power source.


This system will ensure sufficient bollard pull and continuous cruising time necessary for a harbour tugb which requires a large-capacity power to function. CO2 emission is minimised by incorporating fuel cell. The tug would be equipped with two 1,500kW azimuthing thrusters and have a 50-tonne bollard pull.

As well as its main purpose as a harbour tug, the partners say that the vessel’s power system would allow it to provide power to shore in case of emergencies.

The parties said they will proceed with the project by seeking advice from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, ClassNK, and others for the regulatory compliance. After the final investment decision, they aim to launch the tug for commercial operations at Yokohama Port and Kawasaki Port in 2022.

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