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Theyr Ltd to use AI to define the sustainability of commercial shipping

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Theyr Ltd to use AI to define the sustainability of commercial shipping. Image: Pixabay
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Theyr Ltd, a premium met-ocean data provider for the marine sector, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme. Theyr will collaborate with SPRINT partner, the University of Southampton on the development of an industry-leading marine vessel routing application that will enable a cleaner future for commercial shipping.

The SPRINT project will focus on the real-time exploitation of space data used in the development of voyage optimisation solutions for commercial vessels. The project combines the very latest in high fidelity metocean forecast data with leading edge genetic algorithms to create a route optimisation module that will produce the most efficient routes for vessels and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The University of Southampton will provide Theyr with expertise in best-in-class genetic algorithms and optimisation to exploit increasingly higher fidelity satellite data. Theyr will also use the University of Southampton’s IRIDIS5 supercomputer, the UK’s largest academic supercomputer to speed up the verification process.

The latest International Marine Organisation (IMO) regulations compel the shipping industry to significantly reduce its GHG emissions from the start of 2020, which in turn, has led to a major increase in the cost of compliant fuels. These latest regulatory requirements continue to fuel the digital revolution within the industry, facilitating the transition to a greener future.

David Young, CEO of Theyr said: “We’re delighted that this SPRINT project has been given the green light. Combining our expertise with the substantial knowledge and resources of the University of Southampton will facilitate the future sustainability of commercial shipping by effectively reducing fuel costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the industry through the use of AI and high-fidelity metocean data.”

Dr Adam Sobey, Associate Professor in the Maritime Engineering Group at the University of Southampton and co-lead of the marine and maritime group in the data-centric engineering programme at The Alan Turing Institute, added: “This project exploits the very latest in AI through a genetic algorithm developed by my team at the University of Southampton and which shows leading performance on a range of optimisation problems.

“We are developing a set of algorithms which will increase the fidelity of data that we can use and the range over which we will optimise. This will future proof the software against these increases in fidelity and provide leading performance over competitor software.”

The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

Environment

DNV GL releases first ever traceability standard for reclaimed plastic from the hydrosphere

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DNV GL releases first ever traceability standard for reclaimed plastic from the hydrosphere. Image: DNV GL
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The public DNV GL standard provides a best practice to verify the authenticity (Chain of Custody) of abandoned ocean and river plastic and build consumer trust in new products made from reclaimed plastic.

The problem of ocean plastic garbage is massive and to solve it requires ground-breaking technology and significant resources.  Moreover, extracting the plastic from oceans and rivers is only the first step in addressing one of the biggest threats to our world’s waters. There are currently trillions of pieces of plastic in our oceans with an estimated 8 million pieces added every day.  The scale needed requires a shift from a linear to a circular plastic future.

“Using the abandoned plastic into new products is essential. By turning trash into something valuable, that consumers are willing to pay for, enables a circular business models that not only resolves the problem of how to dispose of the trash,” says Nicola Privato, Global Operations and Technical Director, DNV GL – Business Assurance. “As customers are eager to buy such products and companies, even big brands, are willing to contribute, the proceeds from the sales can be used to further fund the cleanup. However, for people to pay for the products, they need assurance of authenticity – that this plastic is really coming from the ocean.”

A product or company’s sustainability efforts and performance, even if considerable, can be completely secret or difficult to share with consumers in a trusted way. Moreover, there may be a need to distinguish against wrongful claims of authenticity or share of reclaimed plastic in products. To address this problem and build confidence into the circular ocean plastic economy, The Ocean Cleanup connected with DNV GL.

“To give our supporters added trust that our products are indeed made of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, we knew we needed support from a reputable, independent, third party – which is why we sought out DNV GL, as a leading verification body. With their newly established standard, we hope this gives supporters greater confidence in The Ocean Cleanup products, which are soon to be unveiled,” says Leonardo Avezzano, Head of Valorization at The Ocean Cleanup.

The DNV GL standard is the first of its kind, guaranteeing the authenticity, origin and amount of reclaimed plastic in a product. This kind of traceability and transparency must be built from the start of the value chain, requiring an end-to-end verification process from extraction offshore to the onshore landing, transportation, manufacturing and sales.

While The Ocean Cleanup was the first to apply the best practices, the standard is public and available to any organization for application and certification.  Any organization wanting to have its plastic certified must first understand the standard’s requirements and implement compliant processes along the entire value chain or parts thereof.  The verification process ensures full traceability of collected abandoned plastic allowing consumers themselves to check authenticity when buying the product.

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Maritime

ION aims to make ports smarter, safer and greener, starting in Scotland

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ION aims to make ports smarter, safer and greener, starting in Scotland. Image: Pixabay
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ION Geophysical Corporation announced the first successful digital switchover from manual operations to Marlin™ SmartPort optimization software for the initial project at Montrose Port Authority in Scotland with support from Scottish Enterprise.

The migration to ION’s digital solution took place as the UK moved to sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic and Marlin SmartPort supported business continuity and remote working.

ION aims to provide better real-time visibility of operations to transform the efficiency, safety and sustainability of ports and harbors globally.

ION closely collaborated with Montrose Port Authority and industry experts to develop a compelling technology roadmap focused on driving real value in port operations of all sizes.

Scottish Enterprise has supported ION over a number of years and the recent R&D grant enables the Company’s Edinburgh-based Software group to complete its next phase of technology development that enables better management of marine traffic and berth allocations.

Port call optimization, back office digitalization and port community engagement are intended to enhance decision-making and drive increased revenue, efficiency and sustainability, such as reducing standby and related fuel emissions.

Senior Vice President of ION’s Edinburgh-based Software group, Stuart Darling, said, “Our software solutions are renowned for optimizing operations offshore and there is a great opportunity to bring that to the port environment as we further enhance our software.

“The introduction to Montrose Port Authority and support from Scottish Enterprise has been invaluable.  We have direct insight into the port’s operational environment to develop our software, and in return, it is great to see a positive impact on a Scottish business.

“Building on this experience, we are now engaging with port community stakeholders from a number of countries and discussing opportunities for Marlin SmartPort to optimize port operations globally.”

Montrose Port Authority is a leading support and service hub for the energy industry as well as the general cargo market and has undergone an extensive program of upgrades in recent years as part of its wider masterplan.

CEO of Montrose Port Authority, Tom Hutchison, said, “The exciting move to Marlin SmartPort is a major leap forward for Montrose Port Authority (MPA) replacing highly manual port operation procedures with an efficient, integrated digital system.

“The port is renowned for its ability to adapt easily to vessel requirements, but the new software really propels us to the forefront of the market, ideally aligned with our recent quayside redevelopment and the new landmark contract with SSE Renewables.

“The project also supports our ambitions to become Scotland’s greenest port.”

Director of National Opportunities at Scottish Enterprise, David Smith, welcomed the digital project and said, “The innovation shown by companies such as ION to diversify and develop solutions for port and harbor operators really highlights that Scottish companies are at the forefront of digital transformation.

“The Marlin SmartPort project will benefit the environment as well as the wider business of the Port in Montrose as vessels can optimise fuel emissions so it supports our targets of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2045.

“The technology deployed in Montrose aims to address a global marine market and it is fantastic the digital switch over that started in Scotland could spark ideas for projects across many industries.”

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Environment

Antwerp@C investigates potential for halving CO2 emissions in Port of Antwerp by 2030

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Antwerp@C investigates potential for halving CO2 emissions in Port of Antwerp by 2030. Image: Port of Antwerp
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Port of Antwerp brought seven leading chemical and energy companies together at the end of 2019 to reduce CO2 emissions and take practical steps in the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon port. The consortium consists of Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Fluxys, Port of Antwerp and Total.

With the project entitled Antwerp@C the partners aim to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere and so to make a significant contribution towards the climate objectives, thanks to applications for capturing and utilising or storing CO2, all within a relatively short time span and at reasonable costs. The project has the potential to reduce the CO2 emissions within the port (18.65 million tonnes greenhouse gas emissions in 2017) by half between now and 2030. This week Fluxys, Port of Antwerp, Total and Air Liquide submitted EU subsidy applications for taking the project one step further.

Port of Antwerp, the carbon capture pioneer

Port of Antwerp is home to the largest integrated energy and chemicals cluster in Europe. This makes it the ideal location to set up new, cross-border collaboration projects for innovative CO2 reduction. To this end, Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Fluxys, Port of Antwerp and Total joined forces at the end of 2019 under the name of Antwerp@C, to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of building CO2 infrastructure to support future CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage) applications. Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) and eventually also Carbon Capture & Utilisation (CCU) – i.e. reusing CO2 as a raw material for the chemical industry – are seen as important routes in the transition to a carbon-neutral port.

Antwerp@C investigates potential for halving CO2 emissions in Port of Antwerp by 2030

Antwerp@C investigates potential for halving CO2 emissions in Port of Antwerp by 2030. Image: Port of AntwerpFeasibility study

Antwerp@C is currently carrying out a feasibility study with the support of the Flemish Agency for Innovation & Enterprise (Vlaams Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen, or VLAIO). This will investigate the possibility of building a central “backbone” in the form of a pipeline along the industrial zones on both the Right and Left banks of the Scheldt, along with various shared processing units, a shared CO2 liquefaction unit, interim storage facilities and cross-border transport of CO2, both by ship and by pipeline.

Cross-border transport infrastructure

Since Belgium does not have suitable geological strata, international collaboration will be necessary to transport the CO2 across borders and store it permanently in e.g. depleted offshore gas fields. For this purpose Antwerp@C is investigating the possibilities of transport to Rotterdam by pipeline or by ship to Norway.

Subsidies are essential

Broad support – especially financial support – by the EU, the Belgian Federal Government and the Flemish Government will be essential to ensure the success of the project. Antwerp@C is pursuing two initiatives for cross-border CO2 transport infrastructure, namely the CO2TransPorts project for a pipeline to Rotterdam and the Northern Lights project for transport to Norway by ship. Since CCS is seen by the EU as an important lever to combat climate change these initiatives have been granted recognition as Projects of Common Interest (PCI).

Subsidy applications for detailed studies were submitted this week for both projects under the terms of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). A decision for grant award is expected in November. In addition subsidy applications are being prepared for the European Innovation Fund as part of the Green Deal.

Port of Antwerp CEO Jacques Vandermeiren declared: “This promising project will enable us to play our pioneering role even more effectively. It demonstrates once more that collaboration is key for generating a cluster effect and creating innovative, operational added value. If this shared infrastructure can actually be realised then it will benefit the entire industrial community in the port and make a valuable contribution towards the Flemish, Belgian and European climate goals.”

Wouter De Geest, chairman of the Antwerp@C consortium: “As the largest petrochemical cluster in Europe we are assuming our responsibility with unprecedented collaboration between eight leading companies. Together we are investigating the possibilities for cutting CO2 emissions from our production processes, as well as additional innovative solutions for more sustainable petrochemistry in Antwerp.”

Port alderman Annick De Ridder: “This project demonstrates our capabilities for technological progress are closely tied to the future of our climate. If we as the second-largest port in Europe can contribute towards saving up to half of our CO2 emissions, this will open up countless opportunities for sustainable growth in our industry and our prosperity. By taking on this pioneering role we aim to be an inspiration for the entire port community.”

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