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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Shell uses solar against COVID-19, Ammonia fuel, Port traffic picks up, Offshore scarecrows

It's Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. Shell is harnessing the sun in the fight against COVID-19

  2. NYK and China Merchants launch initiatives to commercialize ammonia

  3. Port of Long Beach reports best month ever in July amid pent-up consumer demand

  4. Offshore scarecrow could make helidecks safer

Image Credit: Shell

In Nigeria, half of the population doesn’t have reliable electricity. “A World Health Organisation review found that in 11 sub-Saharan countries, only 28% of health facilities and 34% of hospitals had reliable access to electricity.” Power outages can be a daily occurrence but for a hospital, that’s unacceptable. When power goes out, alarms go off, and staff have to hurry to set up diesel generators to keep critical equipment running (hopefully undamaged by the outage). The isolation unit is now solar powered, beds, lights, and monitoring equipment can all run on the solar panels on the roof.

All On, an investment company founded and funded by Shell, used part of its $500,000 COVID-19 Solar Relief Fund to install solar at eight medical facilities in Rivers, Enugu, Kaduna, Oyo and Lagos states. 95 other small-scale installations were made at other locations that power smaller equipment like computers and telephones. The CEO of All On, Wiebe Boer said, “What’s amazing is how the idea has caught on. The project has touched a nerve and powering health facilities is becoming a key part of improving health care across Africa.”

Image Credit: The Maritime Executive

Merchants in Japan through NYK Line and China are speeding up ammonia commercialization. Ammonia is a next generation fuel for maritime as it does not emit any CO2, potentially helping companies get to net zero emissions.

“Calling it the world's first effort to stably supply ammonia fuel to ocean going vessels, NYK Line, Japan Marine United Corporation, and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) signed a joint R&D agreement. Their goal is the commercial development of an ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier (AFAGC) that would use ammonia as the main fuel. In addition, they will work to develop an ammonia floating storage and regasification barge (A-FSRB).”

Multi-purpose LPG vessels carry ammonia on large scales now. The goal is develop a liquefied ammonia gas carrier. They also want to develop the first floating storage and regasification facility barge just for ammonia. It could even act as an additive for mixed combustion for coal plants for Japanese electricity companies.

Image Credit: Port of Long Beach

Many ports, including the Port of Long Beach, are experiencing record months as they catch up with consumer demand. An increase of 21.1% over last month saw 753,081 TEUs go through the port, breaking the old record by almost 900 TEUs. The surge was welcome from the lower numbers they had been experiencing. Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, said “It was a good month, a bright spot, in the midst of the devastating effects of the coronavirus on the economy.”

Online spending due to COVID-19 has increased lately and the rise in port traffic is to meet demand. There was also a temporary increase in the number of vessels due to earlier cancelled voyages.

Photo Credit: Scaretech

It turns out, birds love to take a load off when there’s a nice place to land. Seabird poo, or guano, can cause issues for helidecks where it presents a slip hazard, can obscure markings, and can be harmful to breathe in for passengers. How do you keep the birds at bay?

Scaretech, a UK company, has developed a “bird-deterrent device” they say took dropping coverage on an offshore wind farm from 50-60% mess to almost zero. “Having completed the 12-month trial at RWE Renewables’ Galloper Offshore Wind Farm 17 miles (27 kilometers) off the Suffolk, U.K. coast, Scaretech is ready to deploy its eponymous solar-powered scarecrow system on offshore helidecks.” 12 months is a long time, and they are ready to go full scale.

As seen above, the 21st century scarecrow looks like a worker in full protective clothing. Solar power means the device can “emit sporadic loud noises and high-intensity strobe lights intended to prevent seabirds from landing on the structure”. In the first trial, the device has already saved the company a lot in cleanup time and technician time. It works in extreme offshore conditions and has a low cost monthly rental option.

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :)

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