Ports and Marine
[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
UT Austin to lead $58M study of methane hydrate in Gulf of Mexico; $41M from DOE
October 22, 2014
A research team led by The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded approximately $58 million to analyze methane hydrate deposits under the Gulf of Mexico. The grant, one of the largest ever awarded to the university, will allow researchers to advance the scientific understanding of naturally occurring methane hydrate so that its resource potential and environmental implications can be fully understood.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $41,270,609, with the remainder funded by industry and the research partners. Methane hydrate—natural gas trapped in an ice-like cage of water molecules—occurs in both terrestrial and marine environments. Prior programs in Alaska have explored gas hydrate reservoir potential and alternative production strategies, and additional testing programs are in development. While not part of this new program, the DOE further intends to evaluate production methods on terrestrial methane hydrate deposits in Alaska.
ONR developing offensive autonomous swarming capability for unmanned surface vehicles; adapting JPL’s CARACaS
October 05, 2014
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is developing an autonomous offensive swarming capability for unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) not only to protect Navy ships, but also, for the first time, to attack hostile vessels.
The technology under development—based on the Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing (CARACaS) developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—can be put into a transportable kit and installed on almost any boat. It allows boats to operate autonomously, without a Sailor physically needing to be at the controls. Capabilities include operating in sync with other unmanned vessels; choosing their own routes; swarming to interdict enemy vessels; and escorting/protecting naval assets.
US MARAD study finds marine use of natural gas substantially reduces some air pollutants and slightly reduces GHG emissions
August 26, 2014
A recently released total fuel cycle analysis for maritime case studies shows that natural gas fuels reduce some air quality pollutants substantially, and reduce major greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions slightly, when compared to conventional petroleum-based marine fuels (low-sulfur and high-sulfur). The study was released by the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) and was conducted through a cooperative partnership with the Maritime Administration, the University of Delaware and The Rochester Institute of Technology.
They also found that the upstream configuration for natural gas supply matters in terms of minimizing GHG emissions on a total fuel cycle basis, and that the current infrastructure for marine fuels may produce fewer GHGs. Continued improvements to minimize downstream emissions of methane during vessel-engine operations will also contribute to lower GHG emissions from marine applications of natural gas fuels.
Rusatom Overseas and CNNC New Energy to partner on floating nuclear power plants
August 03, 2014
Rusatom Overseas, a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM, and CNNC New Energy (China) signed a Memorandum of Intent to cooperate in the development of floating nuclear power plants. The next step in the implementation of the project will be establishment of a joint Chinese-Russian working group. Rusatom is currently building its first floating nuclear plant, the Akademik Lomonosov; the second of the vessel’s two reactors was installed in February.
The Chinese delegation came to St. Petersburg and Moscow on 24-29 July. The delegation visited the Floating NPP Training Center and the Baltic Shipyard and met with the members of the team for the reference floating NPP construction project, and examined the floating power generating unit currently under construction.
Two new Wärtsilä JVs with CSSC: 2-stroke engine business and medium-speed diesel and dual-fuel engines
July 18, 2014
Wärtsilä and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC)—one of the largest shipbuilders in the world—will form two new joint ventures. The first will take over Wärtsilä’s 2-stroke engine business. Through the agreement, CSSC will own 70% of the business through its affiliate CSSC Investment and Development Co. Ltd, while Wärtsilä will hold a 30% ownership position.
Wärtsilä and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) also signed an agreement to establish a joint venture for manufacturing medium- and large-bore medium speed diesel and dual-fuel engines. The company will in particular target the growing offshore and LNG markets, as well as the market for very large container vessels. The Wärtsilä share of the joint venture is 49% and the size of Wärtsilä’s equity investment is approximately €12 million (US$16 million).
ABB: tests show up to 27% fuel savings on ship with Onboard DC Grid
June 16, 2014
|Dina Star with Onboard DC Grid. Click to enlarge.|
ABB, the power and automation technology group, released third-party testing results showing that ABB’s Onboard DC Grid helps vessels reduce their fuel consumption, cut noise and trim their environmental impact. The measurements and tests, conducted by Pon Power in collaboration with ABB on Myklebusthaug Offshore’s platform supply vessel Dina Star, identified reduction of specific fuel oil consumption of up to 27%. (Earlier post.)
Dina Star is powered by four Caterpillar 3516 engines in combination with a C32 in a variable speed application. These are the first documented results from a vessel outfitted with ABB’s Onboard DC Grid, which allows engines to run at variable speeds for top fuel efficiency at each load level.
SWASH pilot boat with Siemens diesel hybrid drive system; ELFA packaged in a tube
April 25, 2014
|The Explorer is a SWASH (Small Waterplane Area Single Hull) vessel with a torpedo-shaped float located centrally underneath the hull. The boat’s propulsion system is also located in this tube. Copyright: Abeking & Rasmussen AG. Click to enlarge.|
A diesel hybrid-electric pilot boat is under test on the Elbe River in Germany. The vessel, named Explorer, is a SWASH (Small Waterplane Area Single Hull) vessel with a torpedo-shaped float located centrally underneath the hull. The boat’s propulsion system is also located in this tube. The vessel remains stable in the water even in rough seas and is relatively light, thus reducing fuel consumption.
The tube contains a flexible and compact EcoProp Hybrid system, which is based on the ELFA drive system that was originally developed for buses. At the heart of the system is an electrical machine that can serve either as a motor or a generator. When the boat is being propelled by the diesel engine, the latter also supplies energy to the generator.
DOE to award up to $20M for further studies on methane hydrates; projects worth up to $80M
April 14, 2014
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a funding opportunity announcement for up to $20 million (DE-FOA-0001023) for applications for selection and award in FY 2014 that focus on the (1) methane hydrate reservoir-response field experiments in Alaska; and (2) field programs for marine gas hydrate characterization. DOE anticipates that individual total project values may be up to $80 million depending on the number of awards, complexity, duration, and level of recipient cost share.
These projects are to support program goals and represent a critical component of advancing several of the specific mandates previously established for the Methane Hydrate Program under the Methane Hydrate Act of 2000 (as amended by Section 968 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005).
FEV and Neander Motors AG showcasing double-crankshaft turbo-diesel outboard marine engine at SAE World Congress
April 04, 2014
FEV North America, Inc. a leading developer of advanced powertrain and vehicle system technologies, will showcase a turbo-diesel outboard marine engine developed in cooperation with Neander Motors AG at the upcoming SAE World Congress 8-10 April at COBO Center in Detroit.
Neander, based in Kiel, Germany, is a developer of high performance diesel engines and air compressors for a range of projected applications. The central aspect of Neander technology is a counter-rotating double crankshaft; the pistons act on the two opposing crankshafts via two connecting rods. The double crankshaft offers a number of benefits, according to Neander, including:
KAIST researchers develop box-shaped pressure vessel for storage and transportation of pressurized gases and fluids
March 25, 2014
|Scaled-down model of prismatic pressure vessel. Click to enlarge.|
Professors Pål G. Bergan and Daejun Chang and of Ocean Systems Engineering at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a box-type, large-size pressure vessel for the storage and transportation of liquids such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), or liquefied natural gas (LNG). The project was sponsored by POSCO, a multinational steel-making company based in Pohang, Republic of Korea.
Pressure vessels have many applications and are widely used within the petrochemical, energy, and other industrial sectors where the transport and storage of many types of pressurized gases and fluids are essential. Pressure vessels must be designed, manufactured, installed, and operated strictly in accordance with the appropriate codes and standards since they can, in cases of leak or rupture, pose considerable health and safety hazards.
Sandia Labs project team building fuel cell cold ironing system for deployment at Port of Honolulu in 2015
February 25, 2014
A Sandia National Laboratories project team, including a number of industry partners, is designing and building a cold-ironing fuel cell system that will be deployed in the Port of Honolulu in 2015. The work comes on the heels of last year’s study and analysis that confirmed the viability of hydrogen fuel cells to provide auxiliary power to docked or anchored ships. (Earlier post.)
Hydrogen researchers at Sandia National Laboratories joined with several partners in the follow-up project, which will result in a portable, self-contained hydrogen fuel cell unit that can float on a barge, sit on a dock or be transported to wherever it’s needed to provide electrical power. The unit will fit inside a 20-foot shipping container and will consist of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power conversion equipment.
DNV GL paper suggests near-term success for LNG in shipping; alternative fuel mix to diversify over time
January 29, 2014
|Well-to-Propeller GHG emissions results for marine alternative fuels. Source: DNV GL. Click to enlarge.|
DNV GL has released a position paper on the future alternative fuel mix for global shipping. While LNG is expected to be an early success, the picture becomes more diversified over time, as more than 20% of shipping could adopt hybrid propulsion solutions featuring batteries or other energy storage technologies, according to the paper.
DNV and GL merged in September 2013 to form DNV GL—the world’s largest ship and offshore classification society, the leading technical advisor to the global oil and gas industry, and a leading expert for the energy value chain including renewables and energy efficiency. According to DNV GL, the main drivers for the use of alternative fuels in shipping in the future can be classified in two broad categories: (a) Regulatory requirements and environmental concerns, and (b) availability of fossil fuels, cost and energy security.
Wärtsilä introduces new low pressure 2-stroke dual-fuel engine technology; economic and environmental benefits
November 13, 2013
Wärtsilä has successfully conducted full scale testing on gas of its low-speed 2-stroke dual-fuel engine and is now introducing a full new range of engines based on its established and well-proven low pressure technology. The first engine utilizing this technology, the Wärtsilä RT-flex50DF, will be available for delivery in the third quarter of 2014.
Other engines from the company’s new Generation X series will follow and will be available for delivery during 2015 and 2016. The entire portfolio of Wärtsilä 2-stroke engines will be available as low pressure dual-fuel (DF) versions. The economic and environmental benefits of this technology are significant, Wärtsilä notes.