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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Riding on bubbles, Underwater Mothership for offshore wind, Maersk invests in Electrofuels

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. MSC Newbuilds to Ride Carpets of Bubbles to Fuel Savings

  2. ABS Awards AIP for Ned Project's Hydrogen-ready WTIV Design Aimed for U.S. Offshore Wind Market

  3. Underwater mothership will cut costs and reduce emissions from offshore maintainers

  4. Bristow to Order Up to 50 Zero-Emission VA-X4 eVTOL Aircraft

  5. Maersk Invests in Silicon Valley Electrofuels Start-Up to Help Decarbonize Fleet

“An MSC container-ship loaded with shipping containers leaves the Port of Montreal, Canada, May 6, 2021. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi”. Image from gCaptain.

Silverstream Technologies, a London-based company, will be providing its air lubrication technology for 30 large containerships for shipping company MSC. Silverstream’s technology saves 5-10% on fuel and emissions “by generating a rigid carpet of air bubbles that reduce friction between the hull and the water.” Over the lifecycle of the vessels, the system will save 1.6 million tons of carbon emissions and 250 million Euros in fuel costs. It’s the largest order Silverstream has received so far.

“Credit: NED Project”. Image from Offshore Engineer.

“Classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has granted its Approval in Principle (AIP) to Ned Project Inc. for its hydrogen-ready wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) design.” NP20000X ULAM is designed to be Jones Act Compliant while having the ability to install future 15-20 MW turbines. Monopiles are loaded onto the deck vertically, a safer and more efficient design that eliminates the need to turn them on site. The crane is rated for 3,500 metric tons and can install turbines up to 240 meters in diameter and 150 meters in height. The vessel design is ready for hydrogen and the engine rooms can be converted into hydrogen fuel cell compartments to run on liquefied hydrogen (LH2).

“By transporting ROVs and AUVs in a lightweight, autonomous submersible, financial and environmental costs can be eliminated (source: HonuWorx)”. Image from Riviera.

HonuWorx and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have created a concept for an underwater robotics mothership to make subsea robotics a more effective solution for offshore wind. ‘Ridley’, the submersible platform, will be able to transport remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and other large robots to the site and release them underwater. The goal is to lower the barriers to these robotics by reducing cost, lowering carbon footprint, and eliminating the concern of battery life at sea. ROVs typically are used at less than 50% utilization and transported by hand on diesel vessels. The submersible would stay underwater, have charging points to keep underwater vehicles working, and would be self propelled.

“Vertical has developed the VA-X4, a piloted electric, zero-carbon operating emissions, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft capable of carrying four passengers with a top speed of up to 200 mph (174 knots) and a range of 100+ miles (161+ kilometers).” Image from Offshore Engineer.

Bristow Group has signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Vertical Aerospace Group for a potential purchase of up to 50 eVTOL aircraft. Verticals’ VA-X4 is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that can carry four passengers. It is also zero-carbon, has a top speed of 200 mph and range of 100+ miles. They will likely start with 25 aircraft with an option for 25 more. The aircraft would be on commercial taxi flights and are almost silent in operation. Bristow hasn’t confirmed their use of the aircraft, but released an image of one flying to an offshore rig.

“The stack of a Maersk ship showing the company's star logo. Photo via Maersk”. Image from gCaptain.

Maersk has made a minority investment in Prometheus Fuels, a Silicon Valley-based electrofuels startup to further efforts in decarbonizing its fleet. Maersk is developing methanol-powered containerships and Prometheus has proven it can make alcohol in a lab using just renewable energy, ambient air and water. Electrofuels are produced from renewable energy sources and already feasible for use alongside other options like biodiesel and ammonia.

“‘Prometheus Fuels is developing a very exciting and innovative technology to produce carbon based electrofuels from direct air capture of CO2,’ explains Morten Bo Christiansen, Head of Decarbonisation, A.P. Moller – Maersk. ‘Electrofuels are expected to play a key role for the decarbonisation of shipping and, if scaled successfully, Prometheus Fuels’ technology will address a key constraint for carbon based electrofuels – namely the cost competitiveness of direct air capture.’” American Airlines signed to purchase 10 million gallons of jet fuel from Prometheus and the company already has a valuation over $1 billion.

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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