Toshiba’s SCiB Li-ion battery system Japan’s first recognized compliant with ClassNK guidline for marine vessels

The BB Green is the world’s fastest air supported vessel and the first electric vessel of its kind to be used as a passenger ferry

Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) on Tuesday announced that its SCiB™ lithium-ion battery modules and related components for building a battery system are the first to win approval for use in marine vessels from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (hereinafter “ClassNK”), the international ship classification society that promotes protection of life and property at sea, and protection of the marine environment.

Ships with the battery system can use renewable energy sources to charge the SCiB™ while at sea, allowing the system to power on-board equipment while the ship is at anchor and to provide power when entering or leaving port. At a time when pollution regulations are increasingly focused on the emissions ships generate*1, the SCiB™ will contribute to the protection of the marine and global environments.

The certification covers twelve storage battery system components, including SCiB™ lithium-ion rechargeable battery modules, current sensors, and the battery management unit (“BMU”) which monitors the voltage, temperature, and current of the battery module. Certified battery system components are exempt from tests ordinarily required for storage battery system components, and allow a battery system to be built in a relatively short period of time.

ClassNK is a global organization with over 120 survey offices worldwide, and offers a wide range of maritime services that ensure the security of human life and property and promote conservation of the marine environment. The certification is based on Class NK’s “Guidelines for Large-capacity Storage Batteries,” which requires use of a BMU in the system as a safety feature. Toshiba’s BMU has passed safety tests at the National LABoratory for advanced energy storage technologies (NLAB) of the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation, an independent administrative institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which confirmed it to be compliant with JIS C8715-2, the safety standard for lithium-ion battery cells and battery systems for industrial applications.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that ship exhaust gases contain greenhouse gases (GHG) consisting primarily of CO2, with significant levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx), and that international shipping accounted for approximately 2.2% of the world’s CO2 emissions in 2012. Ships are responsible for about 800 million metric tons of CO2 every year, roughly equivalent to the annual emission of Germany. In view of the growing global economy and increasing demands for international shipping, IMO aims as part of its GHG reduction strategy to reduce CO2 emission by at least 40% by 2030; cut GHG emissions by at least half by 2050, and to achieve zero emissions as soon as possible this century.

While increasing numbers of ships are phasing out heavy oil fuel in favor of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for its fewer CO2, NOx, and SOx emissions, storage battery technologies are attracting attention as a power supply for on-board equipment or as an auxiliary power source that will also help to reduce CO2 emissions.

Lead acid batteries have long dominated the use of on-board storage batteries on ships, but they are often criticized for their large size and heavy weight relative to available energy density. In contrast, lithium-ion batteries provide greater capacity and energy density despite their smaller size, but may pose a potentially greater safety threat. Preventing battery destruction or ignition due to thermal runway is of crucial importance in a ship’s confined space, with limited escape routes.

The lithium titanium oxide negative electrode of Toshiba’s SCiB™ is extremely low risk in respect of explosion or combustion even in case of an internal short-circuit caused by external shock. Fully functional at -30°C, and with a long life of over 20,000 charge cycles, the SCiB™ is suited to use in a wide range of automotive, industrial, and energy storage systems that require high levels of safety and reliability.

The SCiB™ has been selected for electric propulsion system for ships, coastal trading vessels, and also in other industries across the world. This includes the rail systems in Europe, where SCiB™ battery system components became the first lithium-ion battery system components to achieve compliance with the European Norm standards for rolling stock*2 in August 2018.

With ClassNK certification, Toshiba has strengthened its SCiB™ business in a new area, and will propose the SCiB™ battery module and components for a wide range of vessels, from small to large. Toshiba also continues to contribute to global environmental protection, including the marine environment.

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