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China's First Smart Ecological Bulk Carrier Sails in Yangtze River

By RAN ZHENGICHONGQING|Sep 18,2022

Chongqing- Loaded with over 9,000 tons of aluminum ore, the first intelligent green 130-meter Three Gorges bulk carrier, Lihang Yujian No. 1, was officially put into operation on September 13, completing its maiden voyage from Jiangsu Province to Wanzhou Tongziyuan Wharf on the Yangtze River, according to Chongqing Municipal Transportation Bureau.

Lihang Yujian No. 1, the first smart green Three Gorges bulk carrier supported by oil-gas-electric hybrid power.

Lihang Yujian No. 1, the first smart green Three Gorges bulk carrier supported by oil-gas-electric hybrid power. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

As the world’s largest one of its kind, the Three Gorges Dam ship, with a large aspect ratio, a length of 130 meters, and a width of 16.2 meters, was specially designed for the shipping environment of the Yangtze River Three Gorges Reservoir region.

The Lihang Yujian No. 1 is called a green ship because it is the first one with oil-gas-electric hybrid propulsion in the Yangtze River. It has two 990KW dual-fuel engines and 200KWH lithium batteries, and a 50-cubic-meter liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tank.

Compared with the traditional Three Gorges ship, Lihang Yujian No. 1 has excellent advantages in energy-saving, efficiency, and economy.

During sailing, it can intelligently switch to the power mode according to the sailing state. For example, the engine drives the propeller to charge the lithium battery through the shaft generator when it sails into the water. When cruising during floods, the engine and the motor jointly drive the propeller to generate electricity.

In addition, the ship is equipped with a large-capacity oily sewage collection device and a ship sewage onshore treatment system to achieve zero discharge of domestic and oily sewage.

Data shows that the hybrid power consumption of the ship is 20% lower than that of diesel alone, and the carbon dioxide emission is reduced by 30%.

China has attached great importance to improving the Yangtze River golden waterway. The smoothness and efficiency of the Three Gorges Dam’s ship lock are the keys to the benefit of the golden waterway.

Pei Zhiyong, a doctoral supervisor in naval and ocean engineering at the Wuhan University of Technology, believes that launching Lihang Yujian No.1 is significant to the Yangtze River’s golden waterway and has vast application scenes.

Pei continued that 100,000 ships are sailing in the Yangtze River, and the scale of upgrading the shipping market reached one trillion yuan. The benefits become apparent in saving labor costs and reducing fuel consumption. A ship’s yearly operating cost can be saved by about 800,000 yuan.

(Zhu Qinzhuo, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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