The world’s first pure battery-powered tanker has gone into operation delivering bunkers, Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines said on Wednesday.

The 1,500-dwt Asahi, completed this year by Koa Sangyo shipyard, operated completely on electric power to deliver bunker fuel to the MOL-operated car carrier 6,400-ceu Victorious Ace (built 2011) in the port of Yokohama.

A second ship will be built by Imura Shipbuilding in Japan, which is slated to deliver it next year to the MOL subsidiary Asahi Tanker.

Both yards specialise in the construction of coastal tankers.

The Asahi has large-capacity 3,480 KwH lithium-ion batteries able to power every phase of its operations, MOL said.

That means cargo handling, berthing and navigation all result in zero emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The tanker delivers outstanding environmental performance and is expected to reduce crewmembers’ workloads by reducing engine maintenance requirements,” the Japanese group added.

MOL has a target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and the shipping giant is engaged in several decarbonisation efforts, including developing wind-assisted propulsion, to achieve the aim.

Through an agreement with Tokyo Electrical Power Co, the ships will also make their battery power available to emergency services in the case of a natural disaster in Tokyo.

The newbuilding project is part of the e5 Lab Inc project involving several other companies from the Japanese maritime cluster interested in building zero-emission vessels.