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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Good News Monday! – Floating energy innovation lab, new mooring rope design, staying safe at Shell

Image Credit: The Maritime Executive

A new innovation lab has been started by part of Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry: The Energy Market Authority and Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M). The goal of the $10 million partnership is to “develop distributed energy resources, digitalization and emerging low carbon energy alternatives.”

They will be seeking solutions for energy storage and smart grids for marine and offshore applications. Reducing carbon footprint and energy usage are also high priority. Expected completion date is the end of 2021. A few of the features of the new lab:

  • LNG bunkering facilities

  • LNG tanks and cargo system

  • Smart grid and power generation systems with energy storage

  • IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) and predictive analytics

  • Dedicated area for biofuels, hydrogen, and other power solutions

The vessel will stay near Keppel O&M's shipyard and can route excess power to Singapore’s national power grid. Proof of concept for small scale LNG solutions will be tested, with future hopes for using LNG as an alternative to diesel.

Image Credit: The Maritime Executive

Mooring can be one of the most dangerous parts of operations for vessels and ports. If lines break, they can whip back at up to 500 MPH. Data shows that more than half of injuries happen at mooring and 40 percent of serious accidents were caused by lines tightening unexpectedly or breaking.

With these dangers top of mind, Maersk is moving to Snap Back Arrestor (SBA) ropes on mooring lines that will hold vessels in place during docking and loading. TIMM ROPES is a Norwegian manufacturer that developed this technology. The ropes have a core that is elongated and absorbs the energy from the ropes when they break. Instead of a whip effect, the rope just drops. New ropes have a Maersk blue stripe to identify them as the new rope. The stripe also acts as a visual inspector to make sure no damage or twisting has occurred.

Maersk replaces 1,000 mooring ropes per year at almost $2 million in cost. Over the next 5 years of rope life, they expect to fully replace all of their standard ropes with SBA enhanced units, greatly increasing safety.

You can see a short video of the ropes being tested below – if the suspense is too much, fast forward to 55 seconds in!

Video Credit: TIMM

Image Credit: Shell

“The wind is blowing nearly a gale as Captain Abdul Sami talks from the bridge of the fuel tanker, Silver Eburna.

The waves are six metres tall. Every movable object on board has been tied down, but it is not the storm that worries the crew. It is the port.

“We are heading for the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak,” says Captain Sami. “New York.”

Hazardous conditions at sea are a normal part of life for countless crew members. Seafarers expect challenge like storms and sickness, but COVID-19 presents a new challenge. With some ports refusing to let people leave their ships, emergencies beyond the reach of a helicopter evacuation can cause problems.

Despite these new strains, workers keep going. Supply chains can’t stop, and the people who support the world’s energy won’t either. With over 8.2 million cases around the world, COVID brought radical shifts in the way business is done, and the infrastructure of hospitals, vehicles, homes, and businesses need to keep going. Tankers and LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) carriers deliver to ports all over the world, even those areas with high infection rates.

When they come into New York, the pilot who comes on board to guide them into harbor will follow one crew member, with another following behind sanitizing everything. No one on board the ship will be able to go ashore in order to keep them safe. Even celebrating birthdays on board has to be done at a safe distance from other crew members.

“Full anti-coronavirus personal protective equipment: coverall, goggles, gloves and face mask” has become the new normal. The crews are away from family and friends and have to stay isolated. Plants that use LNG and other fuels are essential to provide heat, electricity, and the ability to cook food for people around the world.

With all the good the crews are doing, they are keeping high spirits during the crisis. They are doing more than just a job, they are supplying energy to the world. In a time of unknowns, energy workers are providing consistency people need to stay safe, and they would like more ice cream.

For more detailed stories, please check out the original article here.

Happy Good News Monday! :)

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