This regular podcast is powered by Fathom.World and hosted by Craig Eason - a former sailor, broadcast journalist and now maritime journalist, editor and event host.
Aronnax delves into the transformation of the ocean and maritime industries as they face some of their greatest sustainability challenges to date. It focuses on technology, the environment and the digital enablers that help drive our quest for sustainable and equitable ocean use.
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Shipping the CO2 molecule as cargo
Carbon capture and storage, the process of catching industrial CO2 emissions and then storing them (sequestering them underground is seen by the IEA as a vital decarbonisation tool. Norway agrees and is supporting the efforts of Equinor, Shell and Total as they see this as a key tool for reducing Co2 emissions from their oil and gas production. (It is promoted as storage as a service, where they have emptied the oil and gas wells and can refill them with CO2). Cement makers also see the potential.
But given the distances and volumes there needs to be a CO2 transport chain and according to experts such as HIsham Al Baroudi at Cranfield University, large scale shipping is the answer. Al Baroudi and others recently issued a review of large scale shipping and marine management for CCUS.
In this episode we hear about industrial CO2 capture plans and Craig Eason, Aronnax host and editorial director of Fathom World, spoke to Al Baroudi to get a sense of the scale of shipping that could be needed as CCUs picks up.
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Capturing ships carbon dioxide emissions
Many thanks to tech experts Sigurd Jenssen, Wärtsilä & Kazuki Saiki, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding for their input talking to Craig Eason. Shipping is on a path to reduce its CO2 emissions. A lot of the talk is about new fuels, but what about using the industrial technology found ashore to capture CO2 and then either sequester it or use it again?
It's like a scrubber, a SOx scrubber and you create a shower of the amine solution through the exhaust gas and through this physical contact between the water solution and the gas, the amine will catch the CO2 out of exhaust gas.
We have different constraints on when you're putting something on a ship compared to land or land you can build a tower that's 30 metres high. You can do that on a on a ship.
Hello there! You've probably heard about the technology known as carbon capture, industrial CO2 emissions are caught compressed and then either sequestered somewhere that they can't escape from, like an old underground hydrocarbon reservoir, or possibly reused in chemical or even potentially electrofuel production. It's a growing sector and one that the International Energy Agency says will be key to society meetings, decarbonisation goals, so there will be a significant demand for CO2 shipments if their predictions are accurate. Now while carbon capture plants are huge, there is now work underway to see if the systems can be reduced in size, and then installed on ships to capture some of their CO2 emissions. This is the Aronnax show, a podcast about the technology and sustainability of the shipping maritime and ocean space. I'm Craig Eason, owner of the Fathom World News and Information site. And in this episode of the podcast, we're looking at how to take a complex large industrial technology and Maranise it for shipboard use. CO2 capture is an established set of technologies in some industries. Although the different ways the CO2 is captured varies depending on the industry It is currently used for. The issue with scaling a CO2 extraction solution for a ship is cost efficiency and space on board. I know of three companies currently researching this to see if it may work though. There may be other companies too that I don't know about. The ones I know well that Centre in Norway, TECHO 2030 in Norway and Mitsubishi shipbuilding in Japan. None of them know yet whether it will fully work. But the success of marinising sulphur dioxide scrubbing technology and enabling ships to meet the sulphur emission regulations points to the potential. There are a number of different processes for capturing CO2 from industrial emissions, but one employs a similar method to the scrubber technology namely that a liquid is sprayed through the exhaust to capture the specific pollutant and then that liquid is subsequently cleaned. As Siggurd Jenssen at Wärtsilä told me recently,
The last few years we have been very busy with delivering scrubber projects, but we have also then come to the realisation that carbon capture technology has matured. So we have been around to various land based facilities and talk to various people who are dealing with carbon capture on the land. And our conclusion from all of this is that the technology is sufficiently mature to start bringing this on to ships as well. We have looked at different technologies, be it sort of solvent based scrubbing, membrane separation or cryogenic separation, and we think there are key elements in all of these technologies. But But initially, we will focus on a solvent-based scrubbing process, in part because that's where most of the experience is on land. And also because we think we know a thing or two about scrubbing. We see that there are opportunities for us to take that land based technology and convert it to to a ship. We have different constraints, whe
The jungle ship
Hello, and welcome to the Aronnax Show, a podcast about the shipping and ocean space. It’spowered by Fathom.World. I am Craig Eason and that is Danielle Doggett, the CEO of Sail Cargo a company she launched to do something very, very different.
This episode of the Aronnax Show is dedicated to the ship in the jungle. A wooden ship being built in a wooden shipyard on the coast of Costa Rica and destined to sail with sustainable cargoes by shippers seeking sustainable shipping up and down the west coast of the Americas.
I was drawn to the story of CEIBA, as the vessel will be known, not only because of the extremeness of the idea, but how Sail Cargo is going to sail in a competitive market, and according to Doggett’s plans make money.
According to the website CEIBA is a 46 meter three masted squared-rigged, wooden schooner. It’s cargo capacity is modest, the equivalent of 9x twenty foot container sunder the deck.
The vessel looks like a romantic and some will no doubt say foolish dream of returning to the past, but CEIBA will have a battery system on board to power two electric engines and have the ability to use its propellers while under sail power as turbines and generate electricity to recharge those.
I spent an hour on a Zoom call with Danielle, me in my home studio in Sweden and she in her wooden shipyard the jungles of Costa Rica, which is more than evident in the background noise throughout the interview.
I wanted to know how this carbon-positive plan would make money, and to dig into her plans for future vessels, which include fuel cells with the potential for onboard hydrogen generation and even other larger vessels which she is currently collaborating with other potential partners on.
But I began by asking Danielle about the challenges of not only deciding to build a sustainable ship, but to build a sustainable shipyard, and find cargo owners who really believe in sustainable supply chains enough to invest in them.
Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head, as well add to that, that that's this is approximately a $4.2 million project. And we started this with $10,000 Canadian, which is about $7,000. And that's that was it.
Starting this with next to no financial backing actually made it more necessary for us to have the answers to every single question, to have planned better, to have a stronger foundation to have more, have done more feasibility studies, to have every everything figured out. Because we needed our investors to trust us. It's not easy to say to somebody you've never met, 'please send $20,000 to this account in Central America where I'm standing in a field', and we have nothing to show for it. So we needed to have those answers.
It's something important that you brought up, is that we are a for-profit business model, while we actually do maintain a lot of nonprofit organization goals and values. So I actually worked as a volunteer, or very close to volunteer for almost 10 years of my life, and so very familiar with the non-profit sector and very much in love with it. But that wasn't the point of this business. So we wanted to say exactly as you said that we can hold up our numbers, and that, you know, it's a much smaller scale, but hold up our numbers and the numbers beside Maersk or any other for profit shipping company. And we could say, look, we did it, we paid our taxes, we paid our investors, we paid our crew, and we did it, carbon negative. And so that was very, very important for us to be able to say that. And so we do have, as I said, values that are more traditionally associated with being in the nonprofit sector, which to me, this makes no sense why they're associated only with that.
But it's called a triple bottom line. So you care about the environment, you care about people and you care about financing. I do believe that the for-pr
Pressure and Propulsion
Links to stories:
The cost of decarbonisation: https://bit.ly/3xFWU9h
Nigel Topping on the need for governments to align their message on decarbonisation: https://bit.ly/2PFvVK5
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Aronnax show, the podcast powered by Fathom World and hosted by me, Crag Eason.
Later in the programme we will hear from Orestis Schinas from innovative ship finance firm HHX.Blue who has estimated for the EU funded wind assisted ship propulsion project, the potential value of the wind assist propulsion technology market as ships all around the world face the challenge of meeting the targets set for shipping’s immediate carbon intensity reduction.
At Fathom World I focus on the transformation of the shipping maritime and ocean space, but undoubtedly the most exciting part is keeping track of the changing technologies and solutions that are becoming available to help shipping become a cleaner industry.
Shipowners around the world face some excruciatingly difficult decisions in the coming years, and I mean the coming four or five years as expectations rise to reduce CO2 emissions and then decarbonise.
Political pressure is mounting.
Here’s Nigel Topping, who is the UK high level champion for climate change for the next UNFCCC COP meeting which will be in Glasgow at the end of this year.
“So, it seems to me that we clearly, very rapidly moving to convergence on agreeing that a transition to zero is feasible within the scientific required timeframe by 2050. All signs are pointing to hydrogen and ammonia being the most promising fuels. Zero emission fuels being ready by 2024, ready to order by 2022 - those dates seem to be coming forward every time - I'm not steeped in shipping – but every time I dip in, we seem to be getting more confident we can go faster.
And I think the rapid increase in greenhouse commitments from both governments and private sector players is encouraging. We have a large number of cargo owners in The Race to Zero, but we need to have more shipowners so far only, only, only the only container shipping is Maersk, we need more players along the value chain more commitments from ports and from fuel manufacturers so that we can drive that near term collaboration across industry and government to drive the pace needed.
Finally, long term, we've got to have a level playing field. And that I think it's going to mean that some sort of carbon levy or similar forcing mechanism. And there the IMO role is going to be critical. And the discussions at the MEPC in June, on the proposals from the Marshall and Solomon Islands will be, I think, an important opportunity for the IMO to indicate its commitment to playing an active role in the transition to net zero.
I know that a lot of people are looking to the IMO to show that leadership and are sceptical at that moment, because I feel I haven't seen it. So I would encourage all governments to make sure that your IMO delegations are sending a clear message on the need for rapidly increased ambition. We can't continue to have one set of ambition communicated through climate ministries and a separate one through transport ministries”.
That is Nigel Topping The UK high level champion on climate change for the next UNFCCC COP meeting in Glasgow towards the end of the year.
He was talking during a World Bank webinar to explain two recent papers the Bank has recently commissioned and published. One looks at the benefits for developing countries of a decentralised fuel network as shipping turns to fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia that can be made using renewable electricity and not the hydrocarbons of today which are controlled by a powerful few.
The second papers outlined explained its views that shipping is heading down a dead end if it continues to order ships powered by LNG. This report is more controversial an
Training for autonomoy & electronic lookouts
This episode looks at attracting youngsters into shipping with an apprenticeship focused on autonomy and unmanned ships and how technology can be the eyes and ears of a ship officer on the bridge (as a proposed electornic lookout function).
Gordon Meadow, CEO, SeaBot XR
Eero Lehtovaara, Head of Regulatory Affairs, ABB
Industry updates from
Nick Chubb, Founder, Thetius
Craig Eason, Fathom.World
Full transcript below
Hello and welcome to the Aronnax Show. This is a podcast looking at the shipping and maritime space. I’m Craig Eason, and I own and edit the Fathom World news site focused on the changing aspects of our industry.
I’ll tell you something about myself quickly. I’m an ex-seafarer. I worked as a navigation and deck officer, deep sea on the bridge of many different ship’s and it was a career I was and still am proud of, even if I did not do what so many of my fellow apprenticeship friends did at the time and go on to become master mariners.
I chose to go into journalism instead.
Over the years the role of the mariner has changed. You can see many articles on Fathom World and find episodes of the Aronnax Show about this transformation as new levels of connectivity and technology have developed. Society itself is trying to tackle this change too, and we have a range of discussions in many corners of many of our industries about autonomy, autonomous systems and so on.
Now, I’ve quite often railed against those headlines that state that fleets of ghost robot ships are coming. These are sensationalist headlines. Reality has never got in the way of a good headline.
But having said that, the way technology is going and with the discussions at the International Maritime Organization on which regulations prohibit their appearance, we know that something is changing. What is happening though is technology is creating a new dynamic onboard vessel, and yes, they may coalesce into increased autonomy, and even unmanned ships in some corners in the future. But today on this episode of the Aronnax Show I want to look at two things that are happening that are more immediate next steps.
Two things are happening on a regulatory front now that I think make a big difference. The first is a pair of submissions that are going into the regulatory body the International Maritime organization that is asking it to consider the idea of an electronic lookout function, something that those supporting the idea believe is a required part of having periodically unmanned ship bridges. And the word ‘periodically’ is important here.
The proposal has a lot to do with all round video cameras and elephant ears on a ship. More on that later
Now, my cadetship was in the 1980’s It involved learning morse code, and how to use Decca and even Loran-C. I remember sat in a former world war military bunker style building in Plymouth England looking at the swirling green radar screens and a Decca chart with its multicoloured tramlines. And yes, the sextant. That’s all history or nearly all, history.
Today’s apprentice in the UK still must learn about seafaring and some of the skills of electronic navigation.
But it’s getting even more complicated, and now there’s the growing awareness of autonomy. So how do we get kids to leave school and join an industry which on the one hand has been an unpopular choice in recent years, but has the potential to be so so different.
In the UK, a group has come together to look at how an apprenticeship can be developed that caters for this. It’s looking at the development of a new type of apprenticeship bearing in mind the increased amount of autonomy that is appearing in civilian and naval craft. That’s not just autonomy on the ship for onboard crew, but also for remote operations. The group was announced last month and consists of the UK’s Royal Navy, the geo-dat
Shipping's future ammonia engine
Hello and welcome to the Aronnax Show a podcast focused nt he transformation of the shipping, maritime and ocean space My name is Craig Eason, and I own and edit the Fathom World website.
Today’s show is focused on the efforts being made in the industry to develop the first engines capable of being powered by ammonia.
Ammonia is being seen by some as a key fuel for international shipping to decarbonise. It’s chemical composition (one nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms in each molecule) mean that it has no carbon that can be formed into carbon dioxide when it is burned in a marine engine. So CO2 emissions are zero.
Now I know there are arguments about how environmentally sound ammonia is. Today’s ammonia is largely made from LNG and other hydrocarbons so is grey ammonia, or at best blue. Green ammonia is that which is made using electricity from renewable sources.
However, regardless of the ammonia origin, it is the same molecule that is combusted to create power in an engine.
Another issue is that of laughing gas. When ammonia is burned it has the potential to produce laughing gas or N20- Laughing gas is a greenhouse gas and much worse than CO2
MAN ES in Copenhagen has promised to have an ammonia two stroke engine on the market by 2024. It also announced a recent project to develop a four-stroke engine.
My guest on this episode is Brian Østergaard Sørensen who is head of two stroke research in Copenhagen, and responsible for the trials in the company’s test facilities in the Daish capital.
I spoke with him just over a year ago when the company announced an enlargement of its test facilities to accommodate increased interest in new fuels.
So, I caught up with him to ask about what has been happening in the last year since we spoke and what needs to happen for the industry to get an ammonia engine from MAN.
Brian Østergaard Sørensen
Yeah, so, so thanks a lot, Craig for for inviting me back and I'm actually happy to be here today and share some of the insights that has happened over the last over the last 12 months. A lot of activity has gone through has been going on in relation to the development of our ammonia engine, we have come quite far we have established you can say a number of of initiatives together with other partners, we are working closely together with with fuel supply makers with classification societies with universities in the development. So, while we have not had you can say one of our two test engines in the research and the Copenhagen running on ammonia yet, we have done a lot of the initial preparations for this. So, it is preparations in terms of understanding the, you can say, the fuel supply system characteristics. It is dealing with with the safety and the health hazard that ammonia as a fuel is posing and some of the challenges we see in the engine design around that. We have looked at the engine itself. What does it require in terms of materials? What do we need to change? Do we see any immediate challenges here and of course, we have been looking at, you can say more from a theoretical angle, on the combustion characteristics and and started to look into some of the automation algorithms, the performance metrics we will be using. And then we have recently started to look into the emission side as well. And we are in a consortia around that to look at in case you have certain types of emissions you need to deal with -what what would that entail in terms of technical developments?
When you're looking at the fuel supply side of things, so start at the beginning there in terms of the process of how things would go through the engine - when you're looking at the fuel supply side ammonia would be supplied onto the ship as a liquid. What can you tell me about so far that you know so far about how you would then have that fed into a dual-fuel engine? What sort of tempe
Founder & President
This is a must-listen for anyone working toward the decarbonization of shipping.