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JAPAN TESTS TECHNOLOGY TO LIFT FISHING INDUSTRY
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By MARTIN FACKLER ⓒ 2008 New York Times News Service OTOSHIBE, Japan -- The Shinei Maru No. 66 looks like the dozens of other fishing boats moored in this Japanese harbor. But its builders say it is the world's first hybrid fishing trawler. By switching between oil and electric-powered propulsion, it uses up to a third less fuel than conventional boats. 오토시베(일본) – 신에이 마루 66호는 얼핏 보기에는 이 일본 항구에 정박 중인 다른 수십 척의 배들과 다를 것이 없다. 그러나 이 배를 만든 사람들은 이것이 세계 최초의 ‘하이브리드’ (에너지 혼용) 트롤어선이라고 말한다. 기름과 전력을 추진력 소스로 번갈아 사용함으로써 이 배는 재래식 어선들보다 연료를 최고 3분의 1덜 쓴다. "It's like a Prius for the sea," said Tadatoshi Ikeuchi, 62, the boat's owner and captain. “바다의 ‘프리어스’(도요타 회사의 에너지 혼용 승용차)라고 볼 수 있지요”라고 이 배의 선주이며 선장인 다다토시 이케우치(62세)는 말한다. Until recently, commercial fishermen around the world have been laboring under the weight of high fuel prices. In Europe earlier this year, fishermen expressed their frustration by blockading ports to protest prices and taxes. In the United States, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, has called for low-interest loans to help Alaskan fishermen buy fuel-efficient engines. Japan, meanwhile, is searching for high-technology solutions. In fact, the hybrid boat engine, which is still just a prototype, is part of a multimillion-dollar government-led effort to rescue Japan's fishing industry from rising energy costs, which are likely to return to rise again once the global recession ends and demand comes back. As part of the 2-year-old program, the Japanese are also testing biofuel-powered marine engines, computer-engineered propeller designs and low-energy LED lights on squid boats, which use bright lights to lure their catch. There is a vast international market for such solutions. Many Japanese boat engines that use computers to raise fuel efficiency are already popular among American fishermen. And Yamanaka, the Tokyo-based maker of the hybrid engine for the trawler, which is called the Fish Eco, says the United States and Europe are large potential markets. Japan's Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, which has led development of the new technologies, will subsidize their introduction as part of a $700 million aid package announced in July to help the fishing industry. The $700 million aid package that promised to pay 90 percent of fuel price increases since December, but only to fishermen who found ways to reduce their consumption. The package also contained subsidies to help fishermen buy efficient new engines, like the hybrid. A $250,000 subsidy from the Agriculture Ministry, for example, meant that Ikeuchi, the hybrid boat's captain, paid only $650,000 for the trawler, the same price as a conventional boat. Ikeuchi said his fuel use had dropped to about 75 gallons a day, cutting his daily bill by about $100. The propulsion system switches between a 650-horsepower heavy oil motor, which powers the main engine, and a 150-horsepower heavy oil motor, which turns a generator that runs a smaller electric engine for use when the boat moves slowly. (ⓒ 2008 The New York Times) (ⓒ 2008 www.usabriefing.net)
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