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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

It's Good News Monday! Air bp and Neste SAF, wind kites, maritime tech helps pandemic, eco-bulkers

It's Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. Air bp and Neste increase sustainable aviation fuel volume

  2. Japanese wind kite propulsion

  3. Maritime tech startups provide first response in global pandemic efforts

  4. Air liquid for grid storage and maritime power

  5. Marine autonomous vehicles continue to grow rapidly

  6. New eco-friendly bulkers built in Sri Lanka

Image Credit: bp

“Air bp, the international aviation fuel products and services supplier and Neste, the world’s ‎largest producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), have signed an ‎agreement to offer an increased volume of sustainable aviation fuel to airport customers in ‎‎2020 and 2021.” This is five times more volume than 2019. They are meeting rising demand for SAF, with Norway requiring 0.5% of jet fuel to be sustainable.

Neste SAF is made from 100% renewable waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 80% over the fuel creation process versus normal jet fuel. Blends of up to 50% are possible and Neste currently has the only drop in solution. This partnership with Neste will help bp advance their net zero by 2050 mandate. Thorsten Lange, Executive Vice ‎President, Renewable Aviation at Neste says COVID-19 has not hampered their plans to combat climate change through sustainable aviation.

Neste’s current annual fuel capacity for aviation is 100,000 tons. With a Singapore refinery expansion and possible new refinery in Rotterdam, SAF capacity could be 1.5 million tons by 2023. Air bp and Neste have been working together since 2018 to develop the supply chain for sustainable aviation fuels.

K line seawing wind kite

Image Credit: The Maritime Executive

An "Approval in Principle” (AIP) has been made for a new wind kite system from Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line) and Airseas SAS in France. Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) granted the approval under its Wind Assisted Propulsion Systems guidelines. The “Seawing” converts wind energy into propulsion. After two years of work, K Line concluded the kite system “could contribute to the reduction of the environmental load associated with the ship's operation.” Bulk carrier emissions could be reduced by more than 20%.

The Seawing kite system was designed by Airseas, a spin-off of Airbus. It mounts to the bow of the vessel and is deployed and retracted with a single switch. It also collects meteorological and oceanic data in real-time to optimize performance and safety.

COVID-19 Dashboard

Image Credit: gCaptain

The Royal Navy, IGP&I, the US Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center, and others have been partnering with startups like Geollect and MIT based blkSAIL to create maritime COVID tracking dashboards, maps, and AI algorithms. The US Navy is also joining with new programs, seeking relationships with new “non-traditional industry partners” to solve problems.

Last year, the Department of Navy’s Tech Bridges was created for collaboration and creativity. Success has been so high, they are doubling the number of Tech Bridge locations from 6 to 12. “A partnership between the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and NavalX, Tech Bridges are regional innovation hubs where warfare centers, government, academia, and industry can team up and work together on technology research, evaluation, and commercialization—as well as economic and workforce development.” They act as acceleration ecosystems with colleges, small and large business, research institutions, and non-profits. Successes over the last year include almost $80M of funds and prizes awarded and more than $800,000 in COVID-19 response.

Image Credit: The Maritime Executive

Grid scale liquid air energy storage is being developed in the UK, with the potential to power marine vessels. High pressure storage tanks could provide bursts of air into low pressure tanks, which could then power a vessel. Heat from storage could pre-heat the air prior to entering the turbine engine. Air could also be pre-heated by LNG.

With this kind of propulsion and a grid-scale solution, energy from wind, solar, and even nuclear could be stored. With these areas near ports, air power could be used on renewable energy ships. Liquid air energy storage could be the solution to the problem of not having enough batteries for electric power.

Autonomous vessel in the ocean

Image Credit: gCaptain

During this pandemic, one industry has been expanding rapidly: Marine Autonomy. “With companies like the MIT startup, BlkSAIL completing autonomous trials remotely, autonomous inland shipping companies like ZULU Associates preparing to enter the New York market, and larger scaleups like Sea Machines closing large strategic investment deals, the rapid growth of autonomous solution providers is impressive.” As mentioned in another article above, the U.S. Navy is working with private companies on new technology, with marine autonomy as part of that focus. Unmanned systems are being expanded in government, private, and academic uses. The goal for BlkSAIL is not full autonomy, but using their AI and Decision Support tools to increase safety and sustainability, while reducing costs.

Image Credit: The Maritime Executive

In Sri Lanka, at the Colombo Shipyard, a new class of eco-friendly bulk carriers with electric power are about to be produced for Misje Eco Bulk AS in Norway. They will have lower emissions than similarly-sized vessels. At 293 feet long, power will come through a 4-stroke diesel engine and electric hybrid technology battery system. Load capacity will be 5000 DWT for a variety of cargoes.

Six eco bulk carriers are planned, with the option for four more. The first vessel should be operational in 18 months, with more vessels every 4 months after. “A month ago, India’s Cochin Shipyard also announced that it signed contracts for the construction of two autonomous electric ferries for ASKO Maritime AS, Norway with an option to build two additional vessels. These autonomous electrical vessels are part of a project funded by the Norwegian Government aimed at emission-free transport of goods across the Oslo fjord. The 220-foot vessels will be Full-Electric Transport Ferries, each powered by 1846 kWh capacity battery. After commissioning of autonomous equipment and field trials in Norway, it will operate as a fully autonomous ferry that can transport 16 fully loaded Standard EU trailers on each trip.”

Smile, its Good News Monday! :)

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