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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Good News Monday! –Tilting rotor sails, BP’s Infinia plastic recycling tech, Zero emissions vessels

It's Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  • Wind propulsion with tilting rotor sails

  • BP's Infinia technology that can recycle plastic PET infinitely

  • Samsung Zero Emissions fuel cell powered vessels

Image Credit: gCaptain

Norsepower provides auxiliary wind propulsion systems to commercial ships. Their rotor sail is a modern take on the Flettner rotor. It consists of spinning cylinders that use the Magnus effect to create power and move ships. They’ll be installing two of these large rotors, as seen above, on SEA-CARGO’s SC Connector, a 12,251 grosse tonne vessel. The rotors will be the first tilting rotors that can lay almost flatly horizontal to make it easier for the ship to pass under bridges and lines. The rotors are 35 meters tall and 5 meters wide, or approximately 115 by 16 feet, so having the option to lay them down will provide a lot of extra clearance. They expect to achieve carbon reduction of 25% for this particular vessel.

““With a growing international focus on reducing CO2 emissions and other gases/particles – the ability to harness wind to generate energy, reduce fuel consumption and emissions is a natural next step for the maritime transport industry. The goal of this project has been to design more environmentally friendly vessels by combining several existing technologies. In good wind conditions, the sailing hybrid vessel will maintain regular service speed by sail alone,” added Ole Sævild, Managing Director at SEA-CARGO.”

Check out the video below of how the rotor sails work in propulsion and travelling under a low bridge:

Image Credit: bp

We can’t live without plastic: it keeps our food fresh, it’s in our vehicles, phones, furniture, and the computer keyboard I’m typing on now. But when we’re done with these plastics, most of them go into a landfill or are incinerated. Both of these solutions cause pollution for the Earth and its inhabitants, so what can we do?

Most of the reuse of materials like PET plastic from plastic bottles can be turned into something else, but now technology can turn these bottles back into new plastic, over and over again. So instead of turning those bottles into carpeting, which let’s face it, tears up my socks, we turn it back into useful plastic. BP wants to support the move toward a circular economy, and is doing so through depolymerization technology.

The process breaks down the long polymer molecules into the original, smaller monomer molecules that are the building blocks for polymers. Once broken down into the building blocks, they can be recycled indefinitely without the need for additional fossil fuels.

BP says: “We have just announced a $25 million investment in a pilot plant in our Aromatics technology headquarters in Naperville, US, where we will prove the technology on a continuous basis…

We are putting considerable resources and some of our best people on this project, so we can move it forward quickly and then look to start building a commercial unit.”

BP has formed a consortium to accelerate the Infinia technology with companies such as ALPLA, REMONDIS, Britvic, Danone, and Unilever. We are excited to see BP jump on board with this technology and help solve the plastics waste problem!

Image Credit: gCaptain

Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Bloom Energy are jointly designing fuel cell powered vessels to reduce carbon emissions. The first project will be eco-friendly liquefied natural gas vessels, hopefully expanding the technology to container ships and tankers over time.

Main engines and generator engines will be replaced with solid oxide fuel cells over the next few years. Maritime greenhouse gas emissions top 2%, more than some countries. “Moreover, said Bloom founder and Chief Executive Officer K.R. Sridhar, “Covid has clearly shown very starkly that, while we have been focused strongly on the [carbon-dioxide] in the atmosphere, in reality the air polluting emissions which cause tremendous harm to our health — our lungs — are particulates: sox [sulfur oxides] and nox [nitrogen oxides] and so on. It’s one of those ignored stories.””

Fuel cells create electricity without burning fuel, reducing particulate emissions by over 99%. Samsung wants to comply with “the International Maritime Organization’s goal to cut CO2 emissions 40% by 2030 and 50% by 2050”. The technology should be ready for showcase, and order by 2022.

Bloom has been installing fuel cell systems on South Korean utilities for the last 3 years. Since the technology has been proven on land projects, it’s easier to adopt for vessels. Other shipping companies like A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and Mediterranean Shipping Co. have been investing in scrubbers to reduce sulfur emissions, but this technology will provide a much cleaner technology.

Smile, it's Good News Monday! :)

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