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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Crew transfer boats, enlarging Houston Ship Channel, new electric thrusters

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. Flexible, green crew boats offer improved crew transfer solutions

  2. Balmoral's System Prevents Offshore Wind Cable Damage

  3. Project to Widen and Deepen Houston Ship Channel Breaks Ground

  4. EMP and F-WAVE to jointly develop solar power technology

  5. Tailoring thruster solutions for a new breed of hybrid and electric vessels

  6. Wind-Assisted Containership Receives Class Approval in Principle

Green and black crew transfer vessel being lowered into the water with two cranes

“Damen’s FCS 7011 can transport 122 people in a single voyage to offshore installations (source: Damen)”. Image from Riviera.

After almost 10 years of decreased investment in crew boats, owners are looking for faster, greener solutions to replace old ships. Some of the new vessels can accommodate more than 100 passengers and travel at speeds of 30 knots. The new vessels include the latest dynamic positioning systems and gangway designs, including a gyrostabiliser on the upcoming Aqua Helix. Check out the full specs of these new vessels in Riviera’s article.

Cable stability system on a cable

“Balmoral’s offshore wind cable stability system is designed to prevent long term damage / Credit: Balmoral”. Image from Offshore Engineer.

After some recent news of wind farm cable failures, Balmoral Comtec has come up with a cable protection and stability system. The weighted modules reduce cable movement up to 75% under normal conditions and 50% in extreme weather conditions, extending cable life by more than 100%. “Fraser Milne, engineering and projects director at Balmoral, says: ‘The integrated stability system delivers these important improvements without the requirement for expensive secondary activities such as placement of concrete mattresses or rock dumping which can involve the chartering of further vessels.’”

Houston Ship Channel

“File Photo: Port Houston”. Image from gCaptain.

Construction is underway to expand Houston’s 52-mile long ship channel. “The project, known Project 11, will widen the channel by 170 feet along the Galveston Bay reach, from 530 feet to 700 feet. It will also deepen upstream segments to 46.5 feet.” Port Houston will be working with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to widen and deepen the channel to support larger vessels that deliver 69% of container traffic on the Gulf Coast to Port Houston. This project also happens to coincide with the release of our recent article on how dredging works, which will give some insight on how the actual digging will be done to increase the channel size.

F-Wave flexible solar cells with connection diagram

“F-WAVE's flexible solar cell technology (Source: Eco Marine Power)”. Image from Riviera.

Eco Marine Power (EMP) and F-WAVE Company, Japan-based firms, are working together to develop “ship integrated photovoltaic technology”. The flexible solar cells use a series-connection, allowing a wireless connection to the electrodes. They can absorb a wide spectrum of light and work well in high-heat conditions, where typical crystalline cells would see a performance reduction. The new technology is planned to be added to the Energy Sail wind propulsion system.

Azimuth Thrusters with a woman standing next to it

“Van Oord’s new cable-layer will have two 2,500-kW Brunvoll azimuth thrusters (source: Brunvoll)”. Image from Riviera.

In the last five years, the size of the electric fleet has increased 3x to 331 vessels. 191 newbuilds are on order, and as more hybrid and all-electric ships hit the seas, companies are designing thrusters specifically for these vessels. Germany’s Schottel announced just last month a new thruster with an electric motor. Installation height is comparable to a standard thruster, even with the electric motor, and is more efficient due to its simplicity and elimination of the upper gearbox. It also reduces noise and vibration on board the vessel. These new thrusters will be a great addition to upcoming dynamically positioned vessels.

LNG and wind powered containership concept - Trade Wings 2500

“Image courtesy Bureau Veritas”. Image from gCaptain.

Classification society Bureau Veritas has awarded Approval in Principle for a wind-assisted containership design. Trade Winds 2500 will use LNG and wind power to reduce CO2 emissions up to 35%. It will have the capacity to hold 2,500 twenty-foot containers. “The basic design features hybrid propulsion with six retractable Oceanwings® wingsails and an LNG power plant designed with pure gas 4-stroke gensets. LNG storage will be based on GTT’s Mark III containment system. It will also come with a conversion upgrade option to future decarbonized fuels such as Ammonia or Hydrogen. Looking at the overall CO2 savings, the Oceanwings® wingsails will account for approximately 57% while the optimized LNG propulsion will deliver the remains 43% savings.”

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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