Portable Fuel Cell Battery can provide Electricity for up to 5 Days

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In co-operation with Furukawa Battery and several ship owners, Eco Marine Power (EMP) is conducting an evaluation trial using the MgBOX fuel cell or air battery. These trials will help determine how this innovative emergency battery can be best stored and used on ships. Once this work is completed it is planned to make the MgBOX available for use worldwide on a variety of vessels, offshore platforms & other marine applications.

The MgBOX is a small and portable emergency magnesium (Mg) air battery developed by Furukawa Battery. The MgBOX can be stored for long periods and is activated by simply adding fresh or salt water. Once activated, an MgBOX will provide a source of electricity for up to five days via a USB adaptor box or hub. Devices that can be connected to the USB adaptor box include small lights, mobile phones and smartphones. The USB adaptor box is included inside the MgBOX and can also be used to recharge small portable devices multiple times.

On a ship, multiple MgBOX units could be stored in various locations including the wheelhouse, engine control room (ECR), crew accommodation areas & areas where passengers may gather during an emergency. Before adding water, the MgBOX weighs only 1.6 kg and therefore it can be stored in a variety of locations including on shelves and then moved easily to where it is needed.

The MgBOX was developed by Furukawa Battery as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. During that time one of the company’s factories in Iwaki City, Fukushima, was affected and people in the area were left without power. In response Furukawa Battery developed the MgBOX and it was first released in Japan in 2014.

EMP began to investigate a range of emergency power options after an incident on a ferry in Europe in 2014 resulted in passengers being stranded on the vessel without any lights at night. “Our Aquarius Marine Solar Power is a solution that can provide a significant amount of supplementary and emergency electrical power, but we also wanted a lightweight portable option” commented Greg Atkinson, Chief Technology Officer at Eco Marine Power. “It soon became clear after talking with Furukawa Battery that the MgBOX was the ideal solution and the fact that it could be activated by water including sea water made it a good fit for use on ships.”

It is expected that after feedback from ship owners and further study that the MgBOX will become available worldwide by mid 2019

Sea News, March 7