US energy major Chevron announced that is chartering its first hybrid electric bunker tanker, a vessel which fuels other ships. Chevron is chartering the barge from V-Bunkers, the company that owns and operates the vessel.

This hybrid ship arrived at Singapore facilities last summer and will provide maritime customers in the region with Chevron fuel.

The bunker tanker is expected to consume approximately 20% less fuel compared to a conventional tanker as it goes about its operations, which can reduce emissions and costs.

Nayab Karimi, trading manager for fuels in Asia Pacific, said: “It’s also helping us take a step forward in our objective to deliver lower carbon and higher returns.”

The barge also provides an opportunity to assess wider adoption of hybrid vessels, commented Jennifer Chao, Chevron’s Asia Pacific commercial marine manager.

Similar to a hybrid electric car, the vessel has an electric power system as well as an engine that runs on fuel. It will supplement with electricity during periods of high consumption to allow the engines to reduce fuel use.

Instead of three auxiliary engines, as a conventional fueling barge this size would have, the barge has two auxiliary engines and an electric power distribution system.

Varun Kohli, Chevron’s term charterer in Asia Pacific, pointed out that “Current technology doesn’t allow barges to run completely on electricity, and among other challenges, the batteries would take up too much space.”

A battery pack is just slightly smaller than a 20-foot shipping container.

It’s worth noting that the hybrid vessel has the potential to use onshore charging facilities included in Singapore’s electrification plans.

“Powering up batteries without the need for fuel could further reduce fossil fuel consumption in this hard-to-abate sector,” Chevron noted.