Microsoft and SES invest in maritime cloud solutions

Swancor unveils plan to build huge offshore windfarm off Taiwan

Lucas Lin: "Swancor is committed to supporting the Taiwanese Government’s goal of promoting offshore wind and renewable energy"

Lucas Lin: “Swancor is committed to supporting the Taiwanese Government’s goal of promoting offshore wind and renewable energy”
Swancor Renewable Energy in Taiwan has revealed plans to develop a massive offshore windfarm far larger than any project to date in the country, off its northwest coast.

The Taiwanese company said it is working with Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, the independent asset management firm in the US that acquired a 95% stake in the company in 2019, and other partners including an entity identified as Siva New Energy, to develop the 4.4-GW Formosa 4 offshore windfarm. It said it had submitted a plan for the project to the Environmental Protection Agency this week.

The massive project will be built in a range of water depths and use bottom-fixed and floating foundations. It will consist of a trio of projects: SITC (Formosa 4-1); Haishuo (Formosa 4-2); and Haisheng (Formosa 4-3).

The company said the site is approximately 18 to 20 km of the coast of Miaoli County and would be capable of meeting electricity demand for up to 4.5M households.

Swancor Renewable Energy is the developer of the 128-MW Formosa 1 offshore windfarm, which has entered into commercial operation and is developing the 376-MW Formosa 2 project. Assuming Formosa 4 passes an environmental assessment and secures government permits, and obtains financing, the project “will be completed and commercialised after 2025,” Swancor stated.

Swancor Renewable Energy chief executive Lucas Lin said the company has been preparing for development of the 4.4-GW project since 2019.

“We are committed to supporting the government’s goal of promoting offshore wind and renewable energy,” he said. “Through the Formosa 4 development plan, we will be committed to strengthening the local supply chain, and at the same time implementing our vision of becoming a leader in the renewable energy industry in the region.”

He went on to say the company would draw on the experience of developing Formosa 1 and 2 and “continue to cultivate a friendly relationship with the Miaoli County government, residents and industries.”

Miaoli County Mayor Xu Yaochang expressed support for the project. He said, “Miaoli has the best offshore wind conditions in Taiwan. Its unique natural resources are most suitable for the development of offshore wind power.

“We fully support Swancor’s plans in Miaoli, which will help develop the marine economy in the county and will work with local government to promote more offshore windfarms.”

Source: Riviera


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EU Leader Calls For Accelerating Emissions Reductions

Goal calls for cutting greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030 instead of current target of 40%

In her first State of the Union address to the European Parliament, EU Commission President Ursula van der Leyen called for accelerating the union’s target for emissions reductions.

The European Union’s top official proposed a more ambitious target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, setting a reduction goal of at least 55% by 2030 compared to the current target of 40%. Members of the European Parliament, which represent 27 member countries, would have to adopt the proposal.

“There is no more urgent need for acceleration than when it comes to the future of our fragile planet,” von der Leyen said in her address. While much of the world’s activity froze during lockdowns and shutdowns, the planet continued to get dangerously hotter.

We see it all around us: from homes evacuated due to glacier collapse on the Mont Blanc, to fires burning through Oregon, to crops destroyed in Romania by the most severe drought in decades.”

von der Leyen said she wants 37% of the €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund approved by EU countries to be spent on environmental objectives, adding that 30% of the fund should be raised through “green” bonds whose proceeds are meant to have a positive impact on the environment.

The EU also plans to dedicate a quarter of its budget to tackling climate change and to work to shift €1 trillion euros in investment toward making the EU’s economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years.

The European Green Deal is the blueprint to make that transformation, she said

“At the heart of it is our mission to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050,” she said. “But we will not get there with the status quo – we need to go faster and do things better. We looked in-depth at every sector to see how fast we could go and how to do it in a responsible, evidence-based way.

“We held a wide public consultation and conducted an extensive impact assessment.

On this basis, the European Commission is proposing to increase the 2030 target for emission reduction to at least 55%. I recognize that this increase from 40 to 55 is too much for some, and not enough for others. But our impact assessment clearly shows that our economy and industry can manage this And they want it too.”

She said that she had received a letter from 170 business leaders and investors calling on Europe to set a target of at least 55%.

To help meet the goal, the EU should invest in lighthouse European projects with the biggest impact: hydrogen, renovation and 1 million electric charging points, von der Leyen said. She wants the EU to create new European Hydrogen Valleys to modernize industries, power vehicles and bring new life to rural areas.

Source:Diesel and Gas Turbine Worldwide , Sep 16 2020

SeaOwl plans remotely controlled OSV fleet

Elementary school students on sailor training reach Penghu

Taipei, July 26 (CNA) A group of Taiwan elementary school students, who were on a sailor training and marine education exercise, arrived in the offshore county of Penghu on Sunday, after a 17-hour trip on a sailboat.

The 60-foot boat, the “Barefoot,” sailed into Argo Yacht Club in Penghu at dawn Sunday, carrying the captain, nine students, three teachers, and a cameraman who had embarked on the 155-kilometer journey from Kinmen Island the day before.

The boat trip was part of a program initiated by Yueming Elementary School in Yilan to allow students to learn boating skills and gain firsthand knowledge of the marine environment, “Barefoot” captain Chang Kuang-chung (張光中) said.

During the 17-hour trip, the students were taught how to raise, lower and trim the sails, Chang said.

The most challenging part of the journey was when the propellers struck some driftwood as the boat neared Magong in Penghu, Chang said, adding that the damage was being repaired and would be completed by Monday.

Photo courtesy of Yueming Elementary School
Photo courtesy of Yueming Elementary School

The nine students, meanwhile, spent Sunday on the beach and were scheduled to meet with their counterparts from Penghu’s He Heng Elementary School on Monday, according to Chen Wen-chuan (陳文全), a teacher at Yueming Elementary School.

During that interaction, the Yilan students will take part in a beach cleanup, collect beach sand, and conduct experiments to find microplastics in the sea, Chen said.

They will also invite the He Heng students to visit the “Barefoot” to get a sense of what it is like to be at sea, Chen said.

The trip from Kinmen to Penghu was the fifth in a series of boat rides organized this summer by Yueming Elementary School to help its students learn more about the marine environment and gain some boating skills.

A total of 32 students in grades three to six, 13 teachers and 10 instructors are participating in the program, which is being held over a 27-day period and involves calls at several ports around Taiwan, according to Chang.

He said it is important for Taiwanese students to learn about the sea, because they live in an island country.

“I encourage Taiwanese children to connect with the ocean, because the more they learn about it, the more they will grow to love and protect it,” he said.

In addition to the trips to Magong in Penghu and to Kinmen, the “Barefoot” has already taken Yueming Elementary School students to Gueishan Island, Keelung Islet, and Matsu, and it is scheduled to continue onwards to Penghu’s Qimei Island, Anping Port in Tainan, Kenting, Orchid Island, Green Island, and Hualien, before returning to Su’ao in Yilan on August 9.

(By William Yen)

Source: Focus Taiwan

Why ammonia may be part of the future fuel mix

More points to ammonia as a promising zero-emission fuel. When based on wind or solar energy, it is a carbon-neutral option, with the infrastructure already in place, and ready to be mass-produced. After overcoming the challenges such us higher costs and the development of a new engine technology, it may become a part of the future fuel mix.

September 08 2020

In connection with the UN Climate Action Summit, MAN Energy Solutions joined the Getting to Zero Coalition in September 2019 to help develop zero-emission vessels by 2030 with its industry partners.

We view the Getting to Zero Coalition’s aims as closely aligned with our own strategy of cooperating with external partners to expand our business with sustainable technologies and solutions, such that they become our main source of revenue by 2030.

As I said, at the time of our joining the coalition, we understand the need to work with a wide group of industry partners to achieve this strategy and the Getting to Zero Coalition is therefore a perfect match. In shipping, MAN Energy Solutions has publicly spoken out in favour of a ‘maritime energy transition’ for some time now, which draws on the increased use of low-emission fuels. For us, the path to decarbonising the maritime economy starts with fuel decarbonisation, which will be a natural step towards the development of zero emission vessels.

But what fuel?

January 1, 2020, marked a milestone for the maritime shipping industry. From that date, all vessels became bound by new IMO rules restricting the use of high-sulphur fuels. While compliance with this was relatively straightforward for shipowners, decarbonisation will prove a tougher nut to crack and requires swift action.

As such, ships launched in 2030 will still be at sea in 2050 when – according to an IMO strategy adopted in April 2018 – the sector must reduce its total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50%.

Potential zero-carbon fuels include alternative fuels like synthetic methane, alcohol, green hydrogen, and ammonia. In this respect, there’s naturally a bit of uncertainty because everybody realises the need for change. But it is also clear that you do not have just one solution.

Ammonia is a promising candidate

As a potential zero-carbon fuel, ammonia is an interesting candidate. Indeed, the DNV-GL declared in 2019: “Ammonia is the most promising, carbon-neutral fuel option for newbuildings.”

Since large quantities of ammonia are already transported around the world, it is a well-established commodity with some 120 ports globally currently importing/exporting it, and some with storage facilities. Thus, using ammonia to power ships would be a natural step with infrastructure already in place.

The companies already producing and distributing ammonia around the world know ammonia technology and have an incentive to showcase it as it is a sustainable technology that could provide new business opportunities.

Sustainable production and competitivity

When discussing future fuels, one thing is clean sulphur-free fuels but the CO2 footprint of such fuels also needs to be looked at. In this context, so-called power-to-X solutions where fuels are produced from sustainable energy sources are worth investigating.

The ammonia you have in the market today is CO2-free but based more on fossil fuel. Manufacturing green ammonia implies that you take electricity created by windmills and react hydrogen with nitrogen to produce ammonia. What is interesting about this is that there is no carbon involved in the process, making it a completely carbon-free fuel.

There are certain barriers, however, for ammonia and green ammonia – as there are with green or synthetic methane. It is relatively expensive, compared to fossil-based fuels. When talking about merchant shipping and the two-stroke business, solutions need to be business-viable.

Even if the cost of moving goods by sea increases in the future due to the introduction of zero-carbon fuels, it will still be the most efficient method as nothing can compete with shipping in terms of transporting goods. What we need to do is to create global coalitions and get the IMO to support a CO2 tax, and then funnel the money into R&D development and into developing solutions for the supply chain and large-scale production of these fuel types.

Ultimately, you need to build a scalable production of ammonia, utilising offshore windmill-fields or solar-power plants to provide the clean electricity required. Hand in hand with this, the ammonia supply-chain will have to be scaled up so that sufficient bunkering capacity is in place to supply vessels. Another requirement is, of course, a suitable engine technology.

First ammonia engine by 2024

MAN Energy Solutions has a convincing track record in developing engines running on alternative fuels, having developed the world’s first oceangoing ships driven respectively by LNG, methanol, ethane, and LPG.

In a technical paper released in late 2019, we noted that the two-stroke ammonia concept is an add-on to our electronic ME-engine and similar to the previous engine concepts for liquid gas injection propane (ME-LGIP) and liquid gas injection methanol (ME-LGIM).

The development of the LGI engine has already addressed challenges similar to those posed by ammonia – namely corrosion, toxicity and low flammability – and there would be little difference between an ammonia engine and the ME-LGIP/LGIM engines. In light of this, we aim to deliver the first ammonia-fuelled, two-stroke engine in 2024.

Ammonia-engine development will take place at our Research Centre Copenhagen (RCC) facility. We already kickstarted the project in early 2020 with a HAZID (hazard identification) workshop. Subsequently, the first engine tests are scheduled to begin in 2021 where the ammonia supply and auxiliary systems will be specified, with an after-treatment (emissions) solution specified by 2022. NOx emissions reductions are expected to be achieved via a Selective Catalytic Reaction (SCR) system, which has already proven itself in the industry.

A full-scale engine test is scheduled for 2023, the success of which will enable the first delivery of an ammonia-fuelled engine to the market in 2024. We are also working diligently towards a dual-fuel, ammonia-retrofit solution for existing engines, which will be available from Q1 2025.

Source: Global Maritime Forum

Data Analytics & Digitalisation to Drive Global Shipping Industry

In the age of digitalisation ‘Data’ is a key asset. Especially in the post-COVID scenario, the industrial sectors are going to rely on data to drive businesses. The maritime sector is no exception as it generates a vast pool of data collected from various sources, onboard vessels and while the ships are berthed.

Data analysis allows the growth of vessel support network and improves safety. In addition, the study of data has helped in making ship management more economical, in terms of cost and time both. Onboard, the seafarers use data to chart short-term course of action with ‘predictions’. Right from collection, analysis to interpretation of data, the shipping industry is tapping at every possible source and technology to better utilize the data.

For instance, predictive analysis has become the new hotshot in the industry. Predictive analysis can be defined as using data, statistical algorithms and machine learning to determine the likelihood of future events and outcomes.

Through predictive analysis, it has become easier for the decision-makers in the industry to enhance operations both off-shore and on-shore. Right from maintenance, to predicting the weather conditions at the sea, to achieve the post-optimization, analysis of historical and real-time data is playing a cardinal role in increasing operational efficiency.

While discussing the importance of data analytics, it is necessary to take a look at the evolution of data collection and analysis. The history of data analysis allows us to understand the significance of data from the very beginning, making it quite clear that data has always been a key driver for lifting operational standards of the sector.

According to experts, maritime data analytics has already witnessed 3 ages and is about to enter the 4th age. The below-mentioned timeline shows the evolution of data analytics and the significance of data collection and analysis in each age:

The first era began in 1734 when Lloyd started listing vessels and their cargo arriving at London. The first age is at times referred to as the age of chit-chat.

The second era, which can be said to have started around 1988 is also known as investigative age. It was the time that marked the arrival of IMO number of the ships along with the internet. With internet paving its way, a number of online shipping databases were produced with analytical features. Lastly, the era gave SIN to the industry which remained a de facto shipping database for a number of years.

We are presently in the third age of maritime analytics. The age has witnessed a remarkable growth and expansion of data as an asset. Big Data algorithms are playing a crucial role in the growth of the sector by allowing the shipping companies to use the database to gain more commercial advantage.

The fourth era, as experts believe, could be dedicated to crowd-sourcing of maritime data. The sector has already realized the value of data and in the future, it is expected to focus on using the information directly from the crew of the ships. This is one significant part that is yet to be exploited to fetch intimate specification of the ships. If the sector is able to achieve the target, the maritime database will be more accurate and safe.

An average ship generates 2 GB of data on a daily basis when at sea. This is huge amount of data which can be effectively used in operation, maintenance or even accomplishing the daily chores (trivial) onboard. It all depends on effective use of data analytics or IoT, for making the most out of the data generated by the ship.

Efforts are on to implement global maritime data analytics in much better ways so as to establish consistent growth. We are now at a critical turning point where good investments are flowing in for ‘technology in maritime’, especially the data analytics sector.

The Way Ahead:

A lot needs to be done to adapt in the changing landscape of data, software and the consciousness of the stakeholders (of shipping & maritime) has to grow. Much like the Internet did 20+ years ago, data analysis and the IoT is going to change the world around us. No single company can do it all alone anymore. Right investment and a wise selection of technology is the key to digital transformation. A collaborative innovation will keep the industry evolving today and prepare it for what unfolds in the future.

The COVID-19 crisis is evolving rapidly, creating considerable challenges for the logistics, supply chain, shipping and maritime sectors. Amid such a scenario, Data analytics and technology adoption is expected to gain traction during the post-COVID phase, which is expected to stabilise the maritime industry and drive it towards growth.

Source: Sea News


8 ways to rebuild a stronger ocean economy after COVID-19

  • COVID-19’s impact is being felt at sea as well as on land.
  • The pandemic offers an opportunity to start building a sustainable ocean economy fit for the future.
  • Here are 8 areas for policy-makers to consider.

Almost no facet of our global economy has been immune to the COVID-19 crisis.

Much has been said about the disruption in more familiar sectors such as airlines, restaurants, and sports – but the long arm of COVID-19 has also reached out to sea, and is affecting our “blue economy”. This collection of formal and informal marine jobs, products, and services has been valued at $2.5 trillion a year. If the ocean were a nation, it would rank as the 7th largest economy in the world.

Maritime shipping has seen COVID-19-associated drops in activity of up to 30% in some regions. Lockdowns and reduced demand for seafood have seen fishing activity fall by as much as 80% in China and West Africa. Entire nations dependent on ocean and beach associated tourism have shut their borders. Globally, COVID-19’s impact on tourism may amount to a $7.4 billion loss and could put 75 million jobs at risk.

Some of the COVID-19 stimulus packages that are being designed to recover land-based industries and communities are also exploring ways to leapfrog forwards into greener modes of operation. However, little is being considered for bluer modes of operations. Similar opportunities, however, await us in our ocean and on our coasts.

Here are eight pathways for rebuilding an ocean economy that is both stronger and more sustainable after COVID-19.

1. Bluer blue tourism

Ocean tourism, before COVID-19, was directly valued at $390 billion globally and comprises a significant portion of the GDP of many nations. The millions of people that depend on ocean tourism, and consequently have a stake in ocean health, cannot be abandoned during the pandemic. Recovery funds could prevent furloughs by hiring people to restore coastal ecosystems, such as coral reefs and mangroves, given the massive return on investment that such ecosystems deliver to blue tourism. Similar nature-based job creation programmes were developed during the Great Depression, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps in the US. Stimulus funds could also keep workforces active installing sustainability upgrades in now empty hotels – drinking water stations to reduce plastic pollution and water treatment systems, for example – and training staff to diversify their sustainability skillset.

Millions depend on ocean tourism worldwide
Millions depend on ocean tourism worldwide
Image: Isha@Seefromthesky on Unsplash

2. Reducing shipping emissions

Maritime shipping carries an estimated 90% of the planet’s cargo. This ocean traffic contributes significantly to global emissions of carbon and other air pollutants. The International Maritime Organization has mandated that shipping emissions be reduced by 50% by 2050. A reduction in shipping activity during COVID-19 provides a valuable opportunity to move towards this goal. Quiescent vessels can be fitted with upgrades to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Quieter shipyards can retool and secure political support to prepare for future demand to be met with zero-emission vessels. Such opportunities are greatest in Asia, where China, together with South Korea and Japan, represent more than 95% of the world’s shipbuilding by tonnage. Any aid directed to accelerate progress towards decarbonizing shipping should also include opportunities to electrify ports and prepare them to provide zero-emissions fuels.

COVID-19 has significantly impacted maritime shipping
COVID-19 has significantly impacted maritime shipping
Image: UNCTAD/ClipperData

3. Avoid squandering a post-COVID-19 fish bounty

Unlike other investments, living ocean resources literally grow during downturns. During World War II, many fishing vessels were forced to stop fishing. This reprieve allowed fish populations, such as cod, to increase. Should any such gains be accruing during COVID-19, we must resist the urge to immediately over-harvest them. Instead, we should use fisheries science to design intelligent harvest-yield protocols that maximize the long-term benefit of any possible COVID-19 gains.

Some fish stocks are likely benefiting from the global lockdown
Some fish stocks are likely benefiting from the global lockdown
Image: Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash

4. Supporting our mariners – delivery truck drivers of the sea

Ships are arguably the world’s most challenging work environment in which to confront a pandemic. Vulnerable mariners, such as those in the shipping and fishing industry, are vital to the functioning of society. They are the grocery clerks and delivery drivers of the blue economy. Ramping back up these sectors will require that crews be provided with viral and antibody testing and that they be extended dignified, safe transit home after being at sea for one month or more. Crews should also be given access to secure communication channels linking them to home. In the fishing industry, enhanced communications would confer the added benefit of combating slavery at sea.

It's time to recognise the contribution of mariners to the functioning of our society
It’s time to recognise the contribution of mariners to the functioning of our society
Image: Andy Li on Unsplash

5. Stay the course on ocean parks

Only 7.4% of our ocean is currently protected. These ocean parks benefit marine biodiversity and help boost breeding fish populations that spillover to enhance regional fisheries, create jobs in tourism, and potentially sequester more carbon. Some have suggested, however, that because of COVID-19 we must open up these ocean parks to industrial fishing. This would be folly. These parks are long-term ocean investments that take decades to mature, but only days to erase. In addition to short-changing future fishers, dissolving ocean parks would be a blow to sustainable blue tourism. Such actions would be akin to dismantling and selling off all the rides in Disneyland during COVID-19 – a short-sighted disservice to local jobs and economies.

The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle, Hawaii
The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle, Hawaii
Image: Don McLeish on Flickr

6. Farming the sea to feed billions

Scientists estimate that around 845 million people worldwide are nutritionally vulnerable to any decline in seafood. COVID-19 could exacerbate these challenges via disruptions to blue food trade and labour networks. We can avoid some of this trauma to food security systems by using stimulus funds to bolster smart aquaculture, or ocean farming which can provide nutritional support to vulnerable local populations, while minimizing environmental impact. Such investments could be patterned after environmentally and nutritionally aware investments in agriculture.

Done right, aquaculture can provide nutritional security to hundreds of millions
Done right, aquaculture can provide nutritional security to hundreds of millions
Image: Alex Antoniadis on Unsplash

7. Digitizing our ocean

Another way to fast-track the reopening of our blue economy is to direct stimulus investing towards marine technologies that can help us more efficiently and effectively observe and understand our ocean. For example, fisheries observer programmes that help the industry collect vital data to enhance catch, enforce laws and protect endangered species have been suspended because of COVID-19. New AI-powered electronic monitoring systems can play a role in maintaining these data pipelines. Myriad other opportunities exist – from expanding machine learning-powered interpretation of satellite data and enhanced drones that can curtail illegal fishing in regions where COVID-19 has reduced conventional marine patrols to connecting sustainable fishers to local consumers via apps when restaurants and markets are closed.

Advanced ocean technologies provide myriad benefits, including improved ocean surveillance
Advanced ocean technologies provide myriad benefits, including improved ocean surveillance
Image: NOAA

8. Don’t prey on the moment

We must be intolerant of efforts to misuse COVID-19 to advance agendas of self-interest. For example, much positive progress has been made transitioning us away from single-use plastics, a major source of ocean pollution. Since COVID-19, however, interest groups have successfully reversed or suspended these regulations for products like plastic bags. There are many things that we must do together to slow the spread of COVID-19 – but using single use plastic bags, instead of paper or reusable bags, is not one of them. Similarly, while external investment in hard-hit nations, like ocean-dependent small island states, can be positive, we must not allow the attachment of predatory terms that take advantage of these nations’ financial vulnerability.

Plastic pollution near Puglia, Italy
Plastic pollution near Puglia, Italy
Image: Paolo Margari on Flickr

COVID-19 has exposed just how profoundly linked our economies and wellbeing are to the ocean. These actions illustrate the need to inject more blue into COVID-19 discussions of ‘green recovery’. We cannot miss a chance in the times ahead to benefit both people and our ocean as we bring our sustainable blue economy back online.

Source: World Economic Forum