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UK maritime technology firm paves the way for greener oceans with ‘micro-bubble carpet’

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UK maritime technology firm paves the way for greener oceans with 'micro-bubble carpet'. Image: Silverstream Technologies
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London-based Silverstream Technologies has developed a pioneering air-bubble system that reduces fuel consumption by 5-12%.

A “carpet of micro-bubbles”, developed by UK firm Silverstream Technologies, improves fuel efficiency in the shipping industry and has landed the business a £1 million deal with US shipping giant, Carnival Cruises.

The Silverstream® System, a type of Air Lubrication System, pumps tiny bubbles through vents on the hull to reduce friction between the vessel and the water, helping it glide through the ocean. The technology has been independently proven to reduce fuel consumption by 5-12%, which in turn cuts running costs.

The Department for International Trade has been providing support and opening networks, enabling the company to experience significant international growth. This has led to deals being made with leading names in the maritime industry, including Carnival Cruises, Grimaldi Group and Lloyd’s Register.

Silverstream Technologies Founder & CEO, Noah Silberschmidt, said:

Shipping is one of the ‘hard to decarbonise’ global industries so we have spent the last few years independently testing our system to support our claims. We want to become a standard on newbuild vessels in the industry and to be the ‘new normal’ for sustainable shipping.

By working with the best partners to help shipping improve its efficiency standards, Silverstream wants to have a positive and progressive impact on the industry and in doing so, the wider world.

Our trade advisor from the Department for International Trade has been instrumental in our recent success with this deal, as they know precisely the type of information that a business needs to tap into these key markets and reach these big companies.

The business has been operating at full capacity in line with Government guidelines throughout the Coronavirus pandemic and is finalising deals to supply an additional 15 ships in Europe and Asia by the end of the year. Supported throughout by DIT, this is expected to double Silverstream’s overall turnover with the increased number of installations consequently reducing tonnes of fuel burn and carbon emissions every year.

Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, said:

Silverstream Technologies is a perfect example of how maritime businesses can reduce carbon emissions through technological innovation.

The UK is a global leader in green transport solutions and the perfect place for companies like Silverstream to go global and contribute to our net zero 2050 ambition.

With the shipping industry facing a target to become carbon neutral by 2050, the maritime sector represents one of the UK’s most important industries, facilitating 95% of all UK trade and more than one million jobs, according to Maritime UK.

Chair of Maritime UK, Harry Theochari, added:

Silverstream Technologies shows that innovative solutions are being found to help the maritime sector reach its net zero carbon emissions challenge – and then be exported around the world.

With 90% of all global trade moving by ship, the market opportunity is vast. By developing cutting-edge green technologies, our businesses are delivering sustainable solutions and real economic and societal benefits.

The UK maritime sector has committed to Net Zero by 2050 and it is vital that green, balanced growth, is placed at the heart of our recovery from Coronavirus.

In 2019, more than half of UK exports to the US were in services, with the total trade services almost doubling in the last decade to £125.3 billion.

The UK is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the US, which Government analysis shows could increase transatlantic trade flows by £15.3 billion, with businesses across the entire country set to benefit.

 

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Nikola receives landmark order of 2,500 battery-electric waste trucks from Republic Services

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Nikola receives landmark order of 2,500 battery-electric waste trucks from Republic Services. Image: Nikola Corporation
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Nikola Corporation a global leader in zero-emission and infrastructure solutions, announces a minimum order of 2,500 electrified refuse trucks from Republic Services, expandable up to 5,000. This order is to begin full production deliveries in 2023 with on-road testing likely to begin in early 2022. The refuse trucks are anticipated to carry up to an industry-leading 720kWh of energy storage.

“Nikola specializes in heavy-duty, zero-emission Class 8 trucks. The refuse market is one of the most stable markets in the industry and provides long-term shareholder value,” said Nikola Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton. “The Nikola Tre powertrain is ideal for the refuse market as it shares and uses the same batteries, controls, inverters and e-axle. By sharing the Tre platform, we can drive the cost down for both programs by using the same parts. You couldn’t pick a better partner than Republic Services, a leader in long-term environmental sustainability and customer service. Republic Services will help us ensure the Nikola Tre meets customer and fleet lifecycle demands and we are excited to have them participate in the design process.”

Republic Services is the second largest recycling and solid waste provider in the U.S. and is recognized as an industry leader in providing environmentally responsible, sustainable solutions to its customers.

“This is a game changer,” said Nikola CEO, Mark Russell. “Refuse truck customers have always ordered chassis from truck OEMs and bodies from other suppliers. Nikola has fully integrated the chassis and body, covering both with a single factory warranty. Trucks will include both automated side loaders and front-end loaders — all of which will be zero-emission.”

The powertrain software will be limited to 1,000 HP and is expected to outperform current diesel and natural gas competitors. The new platform can give refuse trucks nearly three-times the HP of natural gas and diesel options, giving operators the ability to go up hills with full loads without issue — a challenge natural gas vehicle manufacturers have been working to solve.

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World’s first zero-emission top handles performing well at Port of Los Angeles

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World's first zero-emission top handles performing well at Port of Los Angeles. Image: Port of Los Angeles
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The world’s first zero-emissions top handlers, unveiled last fall as part of a pre-commercial demonstration project at the Port of Los Angeles, are now being used in daily operations at the Everport Container Terminal.

“We are pleased with performance results that we are receiving from drivers, mechanics and Everport management as the equipment is tested daily in real-world conditions,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.  “We are doing everything possible to advance commercially feasible solutions to meet our goal of transitioning all cargo-handling equipment to zero emissions by 2030.”

The two battery-electric top handlers were designed and built in the U.S. by Taylor Machine Works, Inc. a leading heavy-duty equipment manufacturer and the largest supplier of top handlers in service at the Port. Also known as top picks, top handlers are off-road vehicles with an overhead boom for loading containers weighing up to 100,000 pounds onto trucks and trains, unloading them, and stacking them on terminals between pickups and deliveries.

The top handlers run on a one-megawatt battery designed to operate for up to 18 hours between charges. Each top handler has a data logger for tracking hours of operation, charging frequency, energy usage and other performance indicators. Additionally, drivers and mechanics are providing input on the maneuverability, noise level and safety of the equipment.

The battery-electric top handlers are a key component of the Port’s $7.7 million Everport Advanced Cargo-Handling Demonstration Project. The California Energy Commission is supporting the large-scale zero-emissions technology project with a $4.5 million sustainability grant.

The Everport demonstration is one of 16 projects in which the Port is either the lead agency or a participant working with multiple partners to test near-zero emissions and zero-emissions engines, emissions control technology, and alternative fueling and charging stations. In addition to the battery-electric top handlers, the projects include testing ultra-low NOx renewable natural gas equipment and fully battery-electric fuel cell heavy-duty trucks; battery-electric forklifts, yard tractors, and rubber-tired gantry cranes; and emissions control equipment on large ships and harbor craft.

Eliminating tailpipe emissions from cargo-handling equipment is essential to achieving the Port’s larger goal of reducing greenhouse gases from all port-related sources. Port targets call for reducing GHGs 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The Port of Los Angeles remains open with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $276 billion in trade during 2019. San Pedro Bay port complex operations and commerce facilitate one in nine jobs in the five-county Southern California region.

 

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Evergreen joins the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative

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Evergreen joins the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative. Image: Wikimedia/ Alpsdake
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Evergreen Marine Corporation (Taiwan) Ltd. has become a signatory to the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative in order to share its aged vessels’ green recycling policy. The move is part of Evergreen’s avowed commitment to plan a completely sustainable life cycle for its vessels from design, construction, operation and ultimately to decommissioning.

The SRTI, hosted by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, is an online platform via which members report information on their ship recycling policies and activities against a set of predefined disclosure criteria.

In the interest of transparency, Evergreen and other participating shipowners can share their approach to this critical component of environmental and socially responsible ship operations. Cargo owners and financial stakeholders, in turn will have access to this information in order to make their own informed decisions.

In announcing its decision to join SRTI, Evergreen said “We have had a long-standing commitment to ‘Clean Oceans’. Embodied in this goal is a mission to ensure responsible and sustainable operations wherever they touch the environment, whether at sea or on land, and to care for the people we employ and the communities we serve.”

When planning its current fleet renewal strategy therefore, Evergreen not only requires strict recycling standards for those vessels being disposed of, but also incorporates state-of-the-art design into its newbuildings so as to minimize the impact of container shipping operations both on marine life, on port communities and on humanity worldwide.

In this regard Evergreen invests in measures that go beyond environmental regulations, for instance, the new 12,000-TEU class F-type vessels, of which the 1st in the series is already in service network since March of this year, are equipped with a Selective Catalytic Reduction reactor system.

Such technology ensures that the vessels meet MARPOL nitrogen oxide emission Tier III standards, which is above the current Tier II requirements. In addition, Evergreen voluntarily ensure that all newbuildings and the ships already in service, no matter on which service trade they will be deployed, will be provided an Inventory of Hazardous Materials Part 1 for Class approval and SoC for certification.

Such consideration of the environmental impact of a vessel’s operation throughout its life-cycle is the driving force behind the latest SRTI move. “When a vessel is decommissioned and recycling is planned, not only can valuable and reusable resources be recovered but potentially dangerous waste and pollutants must be processed properly.” Evergreen goes on to say. “Recycling operations with the highest standards of safety available must be utilized. “We are therefore pleased to share our recycling policies by joining SRTI and helping lead a growing industry initiative to demand more responsible ship recycling in the future.”

In a statement welcoming Evergreen, Andrew Stephens, Executive Director of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative said, “Evergreen Marine joins a growing SRTI family that includes like-minded shipowners who are holding themselves to account before key stakeholders, including clients, investors and the wider public. This includes an increasingly diverse range of stakeholders engaging on the topics of data and transparency, circularity, and the role of financial stakeholders in sustainable and responsible ship recycling in the absence of global regulation.”

True to both its name and the corporate philosophy established by group founder and chairman Dr. Y.F. Chang, Evergreen recognizes its ecological obligations and will continue to maintain the best possible care in sustaining an ‘ever green’ global environment.

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