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World’s first full scale ammonia engine test – an important step towards carbon free shipping

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World’s first full scale ammonia engine test - an important step towards carbon free shipping. Image: The project leaders pictured at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre’s test facility at Stord, Norway from left to right: Egil Hystad, Wärtsilä, Willy Wågen, Sustainable Catapult, and Kjell Storelid, Wärtsilä.
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The technology group Wärtsilä, in close customer cooperation with Knutsen OAS Shipping AS and Repsol, as well as with the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre, will commence the world’s first long term, full-scale, testing of ammonia as a fuel in a marine four-stroke combustion engine. The testing is made possible by a 20 MNOK grant from the Norwegian Research Council through the DEMO 2000 programme.

“This is a great example that illustrates the importance of dedicated petroleum R&D. This DEMO 2000 project is another steppingstone for reaching our ambitious climate targets and it is also aligned with our recently published hydrogen strategy.  We need to develop and use new technologies that reduce emissions. We are very happy to support development work that can lead to increased use of ammonia as a fuel in shipping and in the offshore sector. Know-how from this project will also provide important input to the development of regulations for the use of ammonia and other low-carbon fuels”, says Tina Bru, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy.

Ammonia is promising as a carbon-free fuel for marine applications, in view of the maritime industry’s need to fulfil the International Maritime Organisation’s vision of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050. Furthermore, ammonia has huge potential for providing green energy to remote power systems, such as offshore installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Development work by Wärtsilä, as it prepares for the use of ammonia as a fuel, continues with this testing programme, which will be the world`s first full-scale four-stroke combustion engine test. The project will commence in the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre’s testing facilities at Stord, Norway during the first quarter of 2021.

“We are really excited to further develop and understand the combustion properties of ammonia as a carbon free fuel in one of our multi-fuel engines”, says Egil Hystad, General Manager, Market Innovation at Wärtsilä Marine Business.

“Ammonia storage and supply systems will be designed and developed for maximum personal safety, and in parallel with the Fuel Gas Handling System under development as part of the EU project ShipFC. This project is coordinated by NCE Maritime CleanTech, and it involves an ammonia driven fuel cell which will be tested on the Eidesvik Offshore supply vessel, Viking Energy”, Hystad continues.

From testing to real operations

Wärtsilä, as part of its development work on future fuels, has studied the use of ammonia as a future carbon-free fuel through the ZEEDS initiative. The company’s first ammonia combustions tests were commenced in Vaasa, Finland, in winter 2020, and will continue with this long-term testing at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre facilities in Stord.

“We are extremely pleased to be part of this project that will prove for the industry the robustness of ammonia as fuel. The project confirms our test facilities’ and Norway’s leading position within the testing and development of solutions for the use of maritime carbon-free fuels”, says Willie Wågen, CEO of Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre. The centre is part of the Norwegian Catapult programme that facilitates a national infrastructure for innovation. The programme is run by SIVA in close cooperation with Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council and financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.

The full-scale fuel testing programme can pave the way for ammonia engines to be used in real vessel operations within few years, and several shipowners have shown interest in this possibility. It will also provide important insights into the long-term effect of an ammonia fuelled engine in relation to other systems and components in a vessel, including the required safety measures.

Close cooperation between the government and industry

“A future implementation of ammonia as a carbon free fuel, combined with clean energy production from offshore wind or other renewable energy sources can be the start of a new industrial era for the Norwegian industry”, Egil Hystad points out.

“The Norwegian culture for collaboration and knowledge sharing across different companies and sectors, is a great support in closing big technology gaps. The assistance, cooperation and funding from governmental institutions are essential to drive the change towards a carbon free future”, he continues.

Maritime

Port of Oakland imports up 1.9 percent in June

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Port of Oakland imports up 1.9 percent in June. Image: Flickr/ Thomas Hawk
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Port of Oakland loaded import volume grew 1.9 percent last month from June 2019, according to data released today. The gain was unexpected given that shipping lines canceled 10 percent of their scheduled Oakland visits due to the trade-related impact of coronavirus.

The Port attributed the uptick in imports to retailers accelerating shipments to the U.S. in light of:

  • Cargo-carrying capacity that dwindles each month as shipping lines continue  to cancel voyages; and
  • An anticipated rise in freight rates.

Oakland’s overall container volume – which includes imports, exports and empty containers – declined 2.3 percent in June from 2019 totals. The Port handled the equivalent of 199,011 twenty-foot containers in June 2020 compared to 203,730 a year ago. The Port said the cargo decrease resulted from a coronavirus pandemic that continues to dampen global trade.

According to the Port, June export volume declined 5.7 percent. The Port said that the weakening export performance was likely due to reduced consumer demand in foreign markets caused by COVID-19 disruptions. Additionally, China instituted new restrictions on wastepaper exports from the United States which further dampened export volumes. The return of empty containers to origins in Asia decreased 14.5 percent.

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OneOcean streamlines its voyage solutions for greater transparency and efficiency

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OneOcean streamlines its voyage solutions for greater transparency and efficiency. Image: Pexels
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OneOcean, the global leader in digital compliance and navigation services, has unveiled its latest online voyage solutions for the shipping, cruise line, and superyacht industries. Currently unrivalled in the maritime industry, the restructured solutions have been developed to help fleet owners and managers solve multiple navigation and compliance issues whilst enabling their ship and shoreside teams to communicate much more effectively.

OneOcean’s software covers all aspects of voyage optimisation, drawing on the company’s diverse range of passage planning, compliance, safety and environmental products. The unique solutions can be tailored to customer requirements. The software collates, integrates and analyses marine data in real time, providing both onshore teams and onboard crew accurate and up to date information to help them make the best decisions.

Commenting on the launch of solutions, OneOcean’s CEO, Martin Taylor, said: “We have a rigorous research and development programme, which has enabled us to create enhanced voyage solutions that break down the barriers between ship and shore to deliver more connected, transparent and efficient results for our customers. The breadth of our products is now wider and more integrated so that onboard and onshore teams can truly work as extensions of each other. This aids operational efficiencies at a wider level, across multiple areas of the business. For the first time, the maritime industry has access to compliance and navigation services that are completely tailored to their needs.”

OneOcean’s Chief Strategy Officer, Nicholas Bourque, said: “Traditionally, each of our products served specific functions. We have really focused on broadening our approach by looking at the overlapping problems that affect many operational departments but are all part of the same workflow. Our latest solutions development has focused strongly on improving the connectivity of data allowing crews and teams to access identical information. This offers organisations greater transparency and efficiency.”

To coincide with the announcement of their new voyage solutions, OneOcean has launched a new website showcasing the solutions and highlighting the new direction that the company is taking as part of its recent merger.

Mapped into four core areas – Passage Planning, Compliance, Safety and Environmental – OneOcean’s redesigned website has a fresher look and a more fluid, user-friendly interface, which will enable new and existing customers to easily browse through the breadth of integrated solutions available via the company’s world leading OneOcean platform.

OneOcean solutions solve multiple issues and integrate with existing monitoring and management systems, supplying both onshore and onboard teams with the crucial real-time information they need, when they need it.

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DNV GL launch support for new Dynamic Positioning system failure guideline enabling quicker and cost effective implementation

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DNV GL launch support for new Dynamic Positioning system failure guideline enabling quicker and cost effective implementation. Image: DNV GL
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OCIMF, a global voluntary association, providing expertise in the safe and environmentally responsible transport and handling of hydrocarbons, has released an information paper on assurance of dynamic positioning system failure mode and effects analysis. This seeks to improve the process of identifying all possible consequences and failures of DP systems. Entitled ‘Dynamic Positioning Failure Mode and Effects Analysis Assurance Framework, Risk-based Guidance’, it is a long-awaited resource for DP vessel owners.

In 2002 following a series of DP incidents in the UK sector of the North Sea, industry concerns were raised about the safety and reliability of DP vessels. Following a comprehensive review by the UK Health and Safety Executive, it was apparent that guidance was not being implemented or adhered to consistently across the supply chain. The paper aims to improve the assurance of DP FMEA quality by setting out how relevant information should be presented, in a prescribed format.

DNV GL’s Noble Denton marine services worked with a large group of industry stakeholders including, classification societies, vessel owners and DP industry bodies to develop the guidance.

Faisal Rashid, Technical Advisor at OCIMF, says ‘I would like to acknowledge all involved for your efforts, participation and leadership in delivering the OCIMF DP FMEA Assurance information paper. We treasure your contributions and time with us. It has been a solid team effort with positive collaboration across the industry. This information paper on the assurance requirements for FMEAs was a broad industry collaboration and will improve safety in the industry and serve as a means to align the spectrum of diverse stakeholders.’

Steven Cargill, Technical Authority for Dynamic Positioning, DNV GL – Oil & Gas said: “Unlike previous attempts to improve DP FMEA standards, the OCIMF information paper is not intended to provide guidance on the execution of DP system FMEAs. There is already a significant amount of guidance on this already available from recognized bodies. The difference is that the new guidelines seek to gain improvement by providing a detailed set of technical requirements on the presentation of key elements of the DP system for the purposes of vessel audit.”

OCIMF members choosing to implement the information paper will seek to gain compliance with its requirements whilst delivering DP vessel services.

It is anticipated that the task of preparing and submitting the document to OCIMF will not prove to be onerous for vessel owners who already have a DP system FMEA aligned with industry best practice. In some instances, external assistance may be required to meet the requirements and DNV GL can assist those having difficulty following the technical requirements. Using DNV GL’s DP experts will ensure vessel operators a quicker and therefore more cost efficient route to assurance and reduce their company’s risks.

Hari Vamadevan, Regional Manager, UK and West Africa, Oil & Gas says: “Supporting our customers in order to meet industry standards in a transparent and auditable manner is vital for all stakeholders. Having confidence in vessel station keeping capability and reliability during critical offshore operations, can significantly reduce risk.”

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