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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.]

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).

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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:

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KAIST researchers develop box-shaped pressure vessel for storage and transportation of pressurized gases and fluids

March 25, 2014

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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.

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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.

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DNV GL paper suggests near-term success for LNG in shipping; alternative fuel mix to diversify over time

January 29, 2014

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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.

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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.

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Kawasaki Heavy to build first ocean-going liquid hydrogen tanker with demo in 2017; H2 for transport, industry, power in Japan

September 28, 2013

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KHI’s view of a “CO2-free hydrogen chain”. Source: KHI. Click to enlarge.

The Nikkei reports that Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI) will build the first ocean-going ships to carry liquefied hydrogen (LH2), with plans for a demonstration test by 2017 in which liquefied hydrogen will be shipped from the state of Victoria in Australia to Japan. The project will cost ¥60 billion (US$610 million), according to the report.

As part of Japan’s WE-NET (World Energy Network) research program of the New Sunshine Project begun in 1993, Kawasaki and its other industrial colleagues in Japan have been considering the large-scale marine transportation of liquid hydrogen for some time (e.g., Abe et al., 1998). KHI has previously discussed the concept of such a hydrogen-carrying vessel as part of its Business Vision 2020.

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Royal Academy of Engineering study examines future lower-carbon ship powering options

July 26, 2013

International shipping contributes an estimated 3% of global emissions of CO2. Although the industry has reduced its consumption of fossil fuels by a number of measures such as using increasingly thermally efficient diesel engines in recent decades, the current total fuel oil consumption is in excess of 350 million tonnes per year (about 98.5 billion gallons US).

A new study by an expert working group at the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering examines a wide range of possibilities for future, lower-emitting and cost-effective ship powering options. The report reviews a range of short-, medium- and long-term technologies and examines the advantages and limitations of systems from solar and wind power, through fuel cells to nuclear propulsion. One of the key takeaways is that an integrated systems engineering approach is required to achieve effective improvements in efficiency and reductions in emissions for ships. This integrated approach must embrace all of the elements of naval architecture, marine and control engineering alongside operation practices.

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Gevo supplies US Coast Guard with isobutanol-blended gasoline for testing in marine applications

July 24, 2013

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Coast Guard crewmembers train aboard a 38-foot Special Purpose Craft – Training Boat. Source: USCG. Click to enlarge.

Biobutanol producer Gevo, Inc. has begun supplying the U.S. Coast Guard R&D Center with initial quantities of finished 16.1% renewable isobutanol-blended gasoline for engine testing.

The US Coast Guard R&D Center is using the Gevo-blended fuel as part of a 12-month, long-term operational study on marine engines that began during June. The testing is being performed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the US Coast Guard, Honda, and Mercury and will focus on two of the Coast Guard’s platform boats: 38-foot Special Purpose Craft - Training Boat and the 25-foot Response Boat - Small.

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Caterpillar Marine Power Systems introduces Marine Hybrid System

July 15, 2013

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The Cat marine hybrid power system uses AKA’s XeroPoint Hybrid system. Source: AKA. Click to enlarge.

Caterpillar Marine Power Systems has introduced the the Cat Powered Marine Hybrid System, a complete hybrid propulsion package applicable to all engine platforms. Developed with systems integrator Aspin Kemp & Associates (AKA), the package utilizes AKA’s XeroPoint Hybrid marine propulsion system and provides fuel savings of up to 25% and corresponding emissions reductions.

The XeroPoint Hybrid system consists of a diesel engine and an electric motor that independently or simultaneously drive a propulsion shaft. The system is targeted to vessels that have a duty cycle profile with extended periods of low- to medium-power requirements, as diesel engines are least efficient at these load levels. Application examples are workboats; platform supply vessels and offshore supply vessels; research and scientific vessels; fishing boats; and leisure and eco-tourism boats (e.g., whale-watching.)

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MAN Diesel & Turbo announces new ME-LGI dual-fuel engine for methanol and LPG; Waterfront Shipping signs LOI for four units

July 12, 2013

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New fuel booster valve for ME-LGI engine showing the main constituent parts. Click to enlarge.

On 1 July MAN Diesel & Turbo announced the development of a new ME-LGI dual fuel engine. The new engine expands the company’s dual-fuel portfolio, enabling the use of more sustainable fuels such as methanol and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

MAN has now signed a Letter of Intent with Vancouver-based Waterfront Shipping for the use of four MAN ME-LGI engines on its ships. The engines will run on a blend of 95% methanol and 5% diesel fuel.

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BASF and Samsung Heavy develop new anti-sloshing, anti-boil-off solution for LNG tankers

July 08, 2013

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The BASF/SHI anti-sloshing solution consists of a blanket of blocks of Basotect foam with buoys, which are stitched into Vectran textile covers and connected with Vectran belts. Click to enlarge.

BASF and the South Korean company Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) have developed a new concept to prevent the sloshing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) during its transport in tankers. The anti-sloshing solution is a kind of blanket consisting of cubes with a volume of one cubic meter, made of the BASF foam Basotect. The open-cell foam made from melamine resin stays flexible even under cryogenic conditions; the ship’s steel tanks must remain cooled to -162 ° C to keep the gas liquid.

More than a quarter of the global production of natural gas in 2011—nearly 331 billion cubic meters—was liquefied and shipped throughout the world in ocean-going tankers. In preparation for transport, the gas is cleaned, liquefied at -162 °C, and then loaded onto tankers that carry liquid cargo. This process reduces 600 cubic meters of gas to one cubic meter of LNG (liquefied natural gas).

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Sandia study finds fuel cell barges may be attractive lower-cost cold-ironing solution for some types of vessels at some ports

June 28, 2013

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Basic concept of a fuel cell barge. Although two containers are shown here, the actual number of containers would depend on the power and energy requirements of the vessel to be powered. Credit: Pratt and Harris (2013). Click to enlarge.

A study by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories found that hydrogen fuel cell barges may be both technically feasible and commercially attractive as a clean, quiet and efficient power source to provide electrical power for some types of vessels at berth or at anchorage. This practice in which a vessel at berth connects to a source of electricity on the shore is called “cold-ironing”, shore power or Alternative Maritime Power (AMP).

Vessels that are not likely to be technically feasible are cruise ships, refrigerated bulk carriers (reefer vessels), and some types of liquid bulk tankers, according to the study. This, the Sandia team said, is because their multi-megawatt power requirements and potentially long run times would necessitate multiple MW-class fuel cell units and impractically-large stores of hydrogen. Container ships are likely to be feasible, but their power demand depends primarily on the number of refrigerated containers (reefers) on-board.

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US Maritime Administration to fund projects on reducing emissions from marine vessels, study on LNG bunkering

June 15, 2013

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) Office of the Environment has issued two funding opportunities; the first (DTMA-91-R-2013-0020) will award up to an estimated $900,000 for up to 2 projects that demonstrate criteria pollutant emissions of carbon emissions reductions from marine vessels through repowering, re-engining, or using alternative fuel/energy.

The second (DTMA-91-R-2013-0009) will award up to $500,000 for a comprehensive study on the issues associated with the bunkering (supplying a ship with fuel) of LNG for marine vessels. One of the largest obstacles to widespread take-up of LNG as ship fuel—and hence its viability as an option to meet ECA (Emission Control Areas) requirements—is the lack of a bunkering infrastructure, according to Lloyd’s Register. (Earlier post.)

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US DOE to award nearly $18M to 4 biorefinery projects for mil-spec renewable hydrocarbon fuels

April 22, 2013

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award nearly $18 million to four innovative pilot-scale biorefineries in California, Iowa and Washington that will produce and test drop-in renewable biofuels that meet military specifications for jet fuel and shipboard diesel.

The pilot-scale biorefinery projects selected today will use a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials, and algae in innovative conversion processes. The projects will demonstrate technologies to cost-effectively convert biomass into advanced drop-in biofuels and assist these organizations to scale up the processes to commercial levels. Recipients are required to contribute a minimum of 50% matching funds for these projects.

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