Eco Marine Power (EMP) has invited other companies to join its ongoing low-emissions design project, Aquarius Eco Ship, in order to expand the development’s scope.

As part of the expansion, the project will study various technologies such as fuel cells, air lubrication systems and electrical propulsion.

The expansion will also see the direct participation of ship owners currently indirectly involved with the project.

In addition, EMP will reach out to equipment vendors, classification societies and shipyards to expand the project. The company also plans to seek additional investors and strategic partners to help support sea trials and commercialise various technologies.

Currently, Teramoto Iron Works, The Furukawa Battery Company and KEI System are involved in the Aquarius Eco Ship project.

“We wish to extend the project’s reach further outside Japan and bring in additional investors so that we can help other start-ups in the maritime clean technology field.”

Eco Marine Power chief technology officer Greg Atkinson said: “A primary aim of opening up and widening the Aquarius Eco Ship project is to help develop further practical fuel and emission reduction technologies beyond our current focus on wind and solar power.

“We also wish to extend the project’s reach further outside Japan and bring in additional investors so that we can help other start-ups in the maritime clean technology field.”

The Aquarius Eco Ship project was launched by EMP in May 2011 with an aim to optimise the design of large ocean-going ships, including a bulk carrier, oil tanker, RoRo vessel or cruise ship, to harness wind and solar power using Aquarius MRE.

Aquarius MRE is a patented fuel saving and emission reduction system that features various elements including solar panels, energy storage modules, computer control systems and an advanced rigid sail design called EnergySail.

EMP has already commercialised various elements of Aquarius MRE and expects to incorporate the new solution into the system to further reduce fuel and emission with the newly announced expansion.