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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

James Webb telescope ships out; Aker, DeepOcean, and Solstad form alliance; Investing in future fuel

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. High And Heavy: NASA's Most Powerful Space Telescope Ships Out

  2. Bay Houston Towing invests in tug fleet

  3. Chevron Eyes Net Zero Operational Emissions by 2050

  4. Aker Solutions, DeepOcean and Solstad Offshore create offshore renewables alliance

  5. Shipping’s Future Fuels Could Prove a Lucrative Bet for Investors

James Webb Space Telescope in its custom container being loaded onto a Ro-ro vessel

“The highly-engineered shipping container for the James Webb Space Telescope is prepped for loading onto a ro/ro (NASA)”. Image from The Maritime Executive.

NASA shipped the new James Webb Space Telescope from California to French Guiana, the port for Europe’s Spaceport launch site. The new telescope is the most powerful space telescope in the world and successor to Hubble. It uses infrared to examine heat signatures from galaxies far away, looking at the earliest era of the universe, while looking at newer solar systems closer and earlier in their stages. NASA built a custom container that’s been in the works for 15 years: a double box system suspending the telescope inside a box inside an environmental-containment trailer. The Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road, and Sea (STTARS) is 100 feet long, 15 feet wide, 17 feet tall, and 165,000 pounds before the cargo was fitted, or about ten times the mass of the actual telescope. The telescope will be unpacked and tested before being loaded onto an Ariane 5 rocket to make it to its orbit between the Earth and the Sun, about 4 times farther from Earth than the Moon.

Bay Houston Towing tug render

“Design of tugs ordered by Bay Houston Towing for Gulf coast ports (source: MBB)”. Image from Riviera.

Texas company Bay Houston Towing Co ordered two new tugs for Gulf Coast operation. They will be built by Master Boat Builders and are expected to be finished by mid 2022. The tugs are a 26 m design by Robert Allan Ltd with ABS classification. They are expected to meet Tier 4 emissions requirements with two Caterpillar 3512E engines for a total of 3,300 kW of power going to two Schottel Z-drive thrusters for a bollard pull of 52 tons. Master Boat Builders has completed more than 430 vessels since 1979.

Chevron offshore oil platform

“Illustration only - A Chevron platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico - (File photo: Chevron; cropped)”. Image from Offshore Engineer.

Chevron said Monday that they plan to cut operational emissions to net zero by 2050 as they move to reduce upstream emissions and indirect emissions. The change comes as pressure grows on energy companies to fight climate change. Chevron plans to pivot to low carbon businesses like renewables, carbon capture, and hydrogen. They are also tripling their investments to reduce their carbon footprint to $10 billion.

Solstad Normand Maximus vessel on the ocean

“Solstad Offshore has already supported offshore wind installation projects and has 3,600 employees and a fleet of 90 vessels (source: Solstad Offshore)”. Image from Riviera.

“Aker Solutions, DeepOcean Norway and Solstad Offshore have joined forces to create the ‘Windstaller Alliance,’ a partnership that aims to provide supply, fabrication and marine services to the offshore wind industry and pursue opportunities in other segments of the offshore renewables market”. The new alliance will bring together the strengths of all the companies to offer products, services, and marine operations. The alliance is non-incorporated with no ownership or liability. Aker Solutions has engineering, project management, and fabrication capabilities; DeepOcean has engineering and project management as well as experience in offshore renewables; Solstad Offshore has been supporting offshore wind since 2009 with a fleet of 90 vessels and 3,600 employees. The plan is to cooperate on market opportunities and make decisions on a case-by-case basis depending on the project and client.

Two cargo ships on the ocean

“Photo: VladSV /”. Image from gCaptain.

Worldwide goals to move from oil to cleaner fuels is drawing attention from big investors, including fund managers, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Ammonia, biofuel, methanol, hydrogen, and others will require a transition that includes a lot of spending on infrastructure and supporting technologies. The shipping sector handles over 80% of all goods while using approximately 5,000,000 barrels of oil per day and wants to achieve net zero by 2050. Given the 20-30 year service life of a vessel, new ships need to be ready for new fuels quickly. BCG estimates $2.4 trillion to get shipping to net zero CO2 with more than two-thirds of that going into clean fuels. These clean fuels are seen as the best solution to shipping due to long distances and days or weeks spent in transit.

We just covered biofuels for shipping in our last Fun Fact Friday: Biofuel: a renewable, drop-in fuel for shipping?

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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