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Aronnax

The transformation of the oceans and maritime spaces

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
Latest Episode9/25/2021

The dangers of anthropogenic underwater noise

Season 4, Ep. 2
4.2 underwater soundTranscriptCraig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (0’00””)Hello again and welcome to the Aronnax podcast and in this episode we are looking underwater. So let’s start with some music to the ears of anyone who loves the sea.Whale song of course.Whale song is perhaps the most well-known natural sound in the oceans, after perhaps the noise of waves crashing onto beaches and other weather-related sounds.In this episode we are going to hear how anthropogenic or human- negated noise is potentially impacting the environment, and that means noise from ships as well as other ocean economies, such as oil and gas and the growing number of wind farms. We will also hear how the clicks and noises of sperm whales could lead us to understand extra-terrestrial life.There are a lot of different noises and before I get into the deep decibels of this podcast episode, I have a little audio test for you. What do you think this is?The answer comes later in the programme. But first a quick look at what science calls the ocean soundscape, the noise that is in the oceans. What are the natural sounds of the oceans and what do they mean? Also, what is underwater sound? Have you ever wondered how your hearing is so different when you are in water? Nathan Merchant CFAS(2’03”)“Underwater sound is counterintuitive. We know we think of noise in human terms in terms of how, how far away something might annoy you if there was a noisy neighbour or whatever. underwater, because water is much denser than air and can travel 1000s of kilometres underwater. So, there was an experiment done in the 90s, which would not be conducted today. Where there was a low frequency sound source, I think it was somewhere off of Southern Africa, which was then heard pretty much all the way around the world through propagation.And it's believed that in ocean basins, for example, there, there's the potential for baleen whales to communicate right across them so many 1000’s of kilometres.Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (2’59”)That is Nathan Merchant, he works at the UK’s Centre for environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture science or CEFAS, which is a UK government agency which advises Defra (that’s the UK’s Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) on lots of things to do with the marine environment, including underwater noise. Nathan is CEFAs’s principal scientist for noise and bioacoustics.Nathan Merchant CEFA (3’23”)“So we're primarily interested in noise pollution. So noise generated by human activities that could have an effect on underwater life. A lot of our work is to do with monitoring levels of underwater noise pollution. in UK waters. It's one of our responsibilities. So, we have a network of hydrophones underwater microphones in English and Welsh waters. And we carry out the assessment of underwater noise levels in UK waters by mapping levels of shipping noise, in particular, using Aya ship tracking data in in UK waters. So, a lot of our work is trying to create visual representations of the soundscape in British waters.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & podcast host (4’24”)And that soundscape can be quite noisy already he says. There’re three types of noise in the oceans. There’s man made, or anthropogenic noise, there’s biotic and abiotic. Abiotic is natural noise int eh seas form rainfall, waves, surf wind, lightning strikes and the biotic noise is that generated from animals.The worry is that the anthropogenic noise is drowning out and interfering with the biotic sound. One of the environmental groups that wants more to be done about the amount of anthropogenic underwater noise is IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare.Sharon Livermore IFAW (5’07”)“Seismic, airgun surveys for oil and gas, naval sonar, pile driving for things like wind turbines or oil and gas platforms. Those are all impulsive noise. So, if you imagine a pneumatic drill outside of your house, with someone doing some building work, it could actually cause you to have hearing impairments as a result, especially if you are too close. And with those kinds of impulsive noises, animals again, the sensitive animals like whales and dolphins, they can have an acute response, which could actually be something as serious as death, or severe injury, with kind of what we call ambient noise, which is produced by shipping, that increases the background noise level throughout the world's oceans. And it travels incredibly efficiently. So basically, everywhere in the world that a underwater hydrophone has been dropped in the water, you can hear shipping noise from the equator to the North Pole to the Southern Ocean, there is a recording of, of shipping noise in the background. And it travels particularly well, because it is directed downwards into what's called the So Far channel, it's this deep, deep sound channel. And that allows the sound to travel over incredible distances and very, very efficiently. And it's actually the same channel that, you know, whales, whales use to communicate with one another. So that's where you're getting overlap and the distortion that masks the kind of natural sounds of the ocean.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (6’37”)That’s Sharon Livermore, IFAW’s director of marine Conservation. And she’s actively pushing for change to the 2014 guidelines that were written at the International Maritime Organization an underwater noise, but which she says have been largely ignored.Sharon Livermore IFAW (6’55”)“The guidelines, which, as you say, they were written in 2014, so, you know, it's good seven, eight years ago now. And they, they were intended to provide general advice on reducing underwater noise from shipping to designers to ship builders to ship operators. What we found, and actually sorry, you know, the Government of Canada has been very, very active in this space and they've done studies to kind of figure out, you know, why there is it not really been any uptake of these guidelines? Why haven't countries and shipping, done anything to try and action, this issue of underwater noise and we're, we're much more aware now of the impact it's having on marine life on the marine environment. But they're just not being used to make changes to reduce underwater noise. And this study that Canada did commission a couple of years ago found that there were quite a few barriers that are identified, and the main one really is the lack of regulation. So these guidelines are just that - they're not mandatory. And, you know, for that reason, the shipping industry and countries are always going to prioritize things that are mandated as, as they, as they have to, that's a requirement.The fact they're not legally binding, was one of the things. Other things that were identified with were things like the measurements around underwater noise not being completely clear. They wanted to see more data that really demonstrates the impacts of underwater noise. And we're sort of calling for baseline noise data as well. Many of these barriers we believe are, you know, they're not you know, we don't need to do more research on the impacts of underwater noise. It's well understood. Now, that noise is, you know, is a pollutant is recognized by the by UNCLOS, the International Law of the Sea, as a pollutant and under many other international agreements. So, the evidence is that we know it impacts marine species from the smallest invertebrates to the largest whales. The point is really that industry, as they should, industry does priority prioritize the implementation of mandatory initiatives. And undertaking voluntary measures, such as the ones to reduce underwater noise are never going to be prioritized so that the guidelines need to be reviewed to kind of update them with the latest understanding of noise from shipping, but also to kind of figure out, you know, next steps. Like how we encourage uptake around this important issue?”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (9’24”)The IMO’s marine environmental protection committee has now agreed to relook at the guidelines and has passed it onto a subcommittee to review and make recommendations. IFAW and a number of other groups think that as the guidelines have been ineffective at reducing noise from ships, there should be something more mandatory in placeSharon Livermore IFAW (9’44”)“Well, the IMO is the competent agency to deal with underwater noise from shipping. So it would make sense for regulation on that particular pollutant to come from IMO.And, you know, as the kind of authority on all matters relating to the environment from shipping, that does seem to be the obvious place for it to land. You know, the barriers that have been identified, they're not, you know, not all of them are questionable. Many of them are Very, you know, they're very real barriers, you know, how do we reduce noise from ships, and some of the suggestions in the original guidelines around countries identifying the noisiest 10% of the ships in their fleet, which, which are creating pretty much the majority of the noise from the shipping industry, those kinds of actions, which needs to be taken in order to determine, okay, where are our noisy old ships? And what can we do with them to improve their efficiency around noise, so retrofitting them with, you know, new technologies, updating the propeller, which is the main source of noise for shipping, those kind of actions, which would have a huge effect on the entire global footprint, from the shipping industry, that, you know, that makes the most sense, really, in terms of what needs to be done. So it is identifying the ships that needs to be retrofitted, and, you know, basically getting on and doing it, but then also looking at the design of new ships and actually having noise as a factor that's considered when those ships are being designed and built, because at the moment, noise just isn't even on the radar for shipping architects and builders.”Nathan Merchant CFAS (11’03”)“There's very clear evidence now, that underwater noise is affecting individual animals. So certainly, there's very clear evidence for marine mammals. Lots of evidence emerging for a lot of fish species as well, as well as invertebrate species, which are the kind of less studied taxa. What's less clear is to what extent these effects that we can study in quite controlled circumstances or in field measurements on individual animals. Does that that translate into population level effects, does that translate into ecosystem scale effects? That question is a very difficult one to answer because there are so many other factors, human generated or natural, which effects, you know, population scale changes. So that's a really tricky, tricky question. But a key question for policymakers is, you know - Is underwater noise really a significant threat at the large scale. And so there, there are scientists who were dedicating a lot of time to trying to model the likelihood that this is having population scale effects. And of course, there are people who would advocate a precautionary approach and say, well, so many environmental indicators in marine habitats are not doing very well, at the moment, there's a lot of cumulative pressure on the marine environment from human activities. And perhaps noise is a relatively easy pollutants to control. And it's also one, which, you know, if you take noise out of the water, then it's pretty quickly gone away. Whereas some of the pressures on the marine environment are very kind of persistent chemical things that will be with us long before our time.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (13’07”)Nathan and Sharon are also concerned about the other sources of noise in the marine environment from sources other than shipborne noise, particularly as nations build up their ocean economies.Nathan Merchant CFAS (13’20”)“It's not just shipping, we were also concerned about what we call impulsive noise, which loosely is things that go bang. So you know, explosions, seismic surveys, pile driving of offshore wind farms are examples of impulsive noise. and international coordination is very much needed, not only because the animals that could be affected, you know, don't respect whether they're in you know, German or Dutch waters, it doesn't really matter, you know. We need to kind of think about managing our, our oceans, on a kind of ecosystem basis, and not according to national boundaries. But also, because of many of these activities are very international in nature. When it comes to impulsive noise, we can kind of be, they tend to be activities, which you need to get permission to do anyway. So, if you want to build a wind farm, if you want to carry out a seismic survey to look for oil and gas beneath the seabed, then you need to get a license from a regulator and so through that process, we can look at imposing restrictions or providing incentives to do things quieter, when it comes to shipping it's a very international business, you know, your ship might be owned by, you know, your listeners are no doubt familiar with this, but the shipping industry, involving many different players, and its regulation needing to happen at an international level, which, which is the whole purpose of the IMO is very difficult for a single country or a single port, even to have much of an effect on the, you know, to provide much of an incentive, shall we say, to make ships quieter, it needs it needs that coordination. So that's, that's absolutely why these efforts at the IMO or are the right forum for that to happen. At the same time, you know, other international fora can help to kind of provide impetus to that, you know, it may be that, you know, coordination within Europe, for example, can help to show how some of these regulations could be implemented and to do some of the science that will be needed to, to make sure that they're well evidenced.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (15’52”)But when it comes to the noise from a ship there are things that can be done. Many of the solutions that are suggested will also help reduce a ships fuel bill, a double benefit one may say as reducing noise, reduces fuel consumption and therefore reduces CO2 and other emissions into the air.I spoke to Dr Qing Yu, he’s director of technology at the US classification society ABS wo told me that on a technology perspective ships generate three types of noise in general, that’s airborne noise, shipborne noise which has a lot to do with passenger and crew comfort on a vessel and then the underwater noise generated by the ship as it sails though the water.Dr Qing Yu, ABS (16’34”)“Underwater noise, the main source of noise is from propeller. So that's the main noise generation mechanism, let's say on board, and also for commercial ships, those machineries on board will generate noise as well, either through noise emission directly into water of the structural vibration, because those machinery to the equipment on board we're causing a structural vibration and then structural vibration will generate underwater noise emission.The third way is a relatively small part of the equation, it is the flow around the ship will also cause some element of underwater noise.So, typically, the noise level generated by propeller will include two components. One is the so-called tonal noise. The frequency of that part of the noise is a multiple of propeller rotation frequencies. And then the second part is so called the broadband noise, which is very much associated with cavitation of the propeller. Once the propeller generates cavitation bubbles, and the bubble will burst, and we're talking not just one or two bubbles in it is a collection of huge amount bubbles, and then the underwater sound generated by the bubble bursting will create a broader band underwater noise.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (18’19”)“When it comes to the technologies that one can put onto a ship - you have a white paper that he published earlier this year, and there's a list of ducts and fins etc. that can be installed. How does a duct - I've heard about the like the Mewis Duct being used to improve efficiency of a vessel so that the fuel consumption can be improved by one or two precent, but how does a duct, or these technologies, work in actually reducing the sound? And are they better fitted other technologies that are better fitted for certain ship types or certain types of propulsion? So, an azimuth, for example, is it better than a direct line propeller attached to a diesel engine?Dr Qing Yu, ABS (19’05”)Yep, that's a good question actually. When we are looking to know, kind of interesting design topic is the co-design of energy efficiency and underwater noise reduction. And that a ducted propeller or fins,designed to reduce the resistance to vessel, and can contribute to certain level of reduction of underwater noise.Remember, for underwater noise, one of the main sources is from the propeller. When we can design those ducts and finds in a certain way, they can regulate the flow coming into the propeller, and then they can adjust the pattern of the cavitation, the initiation of the cavitation, so that can, again to certain extent, reduce the cavitation induced noise. And, again, the design of those energy saving devices so far, is pretty much focused on energy efficiency. One of the main research topics right now is to look into the possibility to combine the design for energy efficiency and the design for underwater noise reduction. And certainly for propulsion system, there are some very specific designs, especially for the propeller. You can put those like twisting edge and put it in those specific type of propellers that are used to reduce the noise. And those are used for some time, especially for military vessels, but for commercial vessels they are still relatively less used than the common off-the-shelf propeller designs.Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (21’08”)“One of the technologies that I've read about that began many, many years ago, and I've seen the US Navy using it is air bubbles, they used a system called the Prairie-Masker to produce bubbles coming out of the hull and even out of the propeller, to mask the sound prints of the vessels. It has naval and military implications to make sure that they weren't detected by submarines, enemy submarines, but likewise, I've heard of air bubbles being used an air curtain, I think it's called being used around pylons being driven into the ground to reduce the noise being spread of the of the pile I'm driving. And I know and I know also that there's a lot of work now with air lubrication systems on ships, again, another system that is being used to improve the efficiency of the vessel. But you mentioned a second ago that it was the bubbles bursting in the cavitation of the propeller that creates some of the noise. So how can we have noise from the bubbles bursting, but at the same time, have bubbles protecting the oceans from noise? Can you explain that a little bit?”Dr Qing Yu, ABS (22’22”)“Yeah, the cavitation generated bubbles will have different shapes and different frequencies and also the bursting of the bubble will generate a high energy noise emission. For those bubbles generated for air curtain, or now we have other type of energy saving technologies such as air lubrication also generates bubbles. Those bubbles are different from the bubble due to the cavitation and then there's a way to control the pattern of those bubbles, the size of those bubbles, and also the distribution of those bubbles. So, for those underwater noise generating cavitation, essentially the only way that we can do is to regulate the cavitation occurs, either reduce the speed or change the way that those cavitation bubbles are generated through the operation measures or design considerations.” For air lubrication system, and for the specific system designed by navies to mask the propeller generate the noise, the bubbles are generated again in a different way and also the noise created by those systems tend to be more, let's say, much more broadband. Essentially, I can mask the noise from propellers.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (24’05”)Dr to Dr Qing Yu, who is director of technology at the US classification society ABS, on the sources of underwater noise form ships and the good and bad of the air bubble. Now, staying with the theme of underwater noise, let’s talk about whale communication and artificial intelligence. Sperm whales have a particular call, and according to scientists each individual pod, possibly individuals, can have a characteristic vocal sound, Now, there’s an ambitious project has been launched in the Caribbean island of Dominica to try and see if scientists can use recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning to translate the clicks of the sperm whale. It’s called project CETI Where CETI means the cetacean translation initiative. It’s non-human communication. It is a huge undertaking, and a well-funded one at that bringing together experts in cryptography, robotics, linguistics, artificial intelligence, marine biologists.It’s developing a whale listening system of hydrophones and even robotic fish to listen to a specific pod of sperm whales in a 20 km square area off the Caribbean Island.Amongst the team is Professor Dan Tchernov the project’s Chief Operations Officer, and a marine biologist at Haifa University in Israel. I spoke to him about the project and the possible outcomesProfessor Dan Tchernov, COO Project CETI, Marine Biologist Haifa University, Israel (25’43”)“With all the machine learning, technology and AI, this is all evolving really quickly, in the last decade, maybe now it's possible finally to decipher communication between sperm whales, because they're using actually something close to Morse Code, so, just single clicks with different positions and will put always with the same structure like five notes or three notes depends on the pod and already there is quite a bit of annotated data with which we can start with, to show proof of concept. And the big idea behind it is to finally break the institutional barrier, and therefore, for the first time perhaps, trying to communicate with these mammals, or actually any other creature on their own term, mainly listening to try and understand the communication. But finally, perhaps also sending messages and getting replies. This is called CETI also because it is theoretically the training wheels for the humankind to try and reach out to other civilizations, if they ever, if ever we encounter them, to understand how to try and decipher and communicate with something very, very different.Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (27’02”)Dan Tchernov on sperm whales and the attempt to translate their underwater sounds using artificial intelligence and the potential in the future to apply such learning to other species, possibly even extra-terrestrial.Audio examples (27’24”)END (28’24”)
9/25/2021

The dangers of anthropogenic underwater noise

Season 4, Ep. 2
4.2 underwater soundTranscriptCraig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (0’00””)Hello again and welcome to the Aronnax podcast and in this episode we are looking underwater. So let’s start with some music to the ears of anyone who loves the sea.Whale song of course.Whale song is perhaps the most well-known natural sound in the oceans, after perhaps the noise of waves crashing onto beaches and other weather-related sounds.In this episode we are going to hear how anthropogenic or human- negated noise is potentially impacting the environment, and that means noise from ships as well as other ocean economies, such as oil and gas and the growing number of wind farms. We will also hear how the clicks and noises of sperm whales could lead us to understand extra-terrestrial life.There are a lot of different noises and before I get into the deep decibels of this podcast episode, I have a little audio test for you. What do you think this is?The answer comes later in the programme. But first a quick look at what science calls the ocean soundscape, the noise that is in the oceans. What are the natural sounds of the oceans and what do they mean? Also, what is underwater sound? Have you ever wondered how your hearing is so different when you are in water? Nathan Merchant CFAS(2’03”)“Underwater sound is counterintuitive. We know we think of noise in human terms in terms of how, how far away something might annoy you if there was a noisy neighbour or whatever. underwater, because water is much denser than air and can travel 1000s of kilometres underwater. So, there was an experiment done in the 90s, which would not be conducted today. Where there was a low frequency sound source, I think it was somewhere off of Southern Africa, which was then heard pretty much all the way around the world through propagation.And it's believed that in ocean basins, for example, there, there's the potential for baleen whales to communicate right across them so many 1000’s of kilometres.Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (2’59”)That is Nathan Merchant, he works at the UK’s Centre for environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture science or CEFAS, which is a UK government agency which advises Defra (that’s the UK’s Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) on lots of things to do with the marine environment, including underwater noise. Nathan is CEFAs’s principal scientist for noise and bioacoustics.Nathan Merchant CEFA (3’23”)“So we're primarily interested in noise pollution. So noise generated by human activities that could have an effect on underwater life. A lot of our work is to do with monitoring levels of underwater noise pollution. in UK waters. It's one of our responsibilities. So, we have a network of hydrophones underwater microphones in English and Welsh waters. And we carry out the assessment of underwater noise levels in UK waters by mapping levels of shipping noise, in particular, using Aya ship tracking data in in UK waters. So, a lot of our work is trying to create visual representations of the soundscape in British waters.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & podcast host (4’24”)And that soundscape can be quite noisy already he says. There’re three types of noise in the oceans. There’s man made, or anthropogenic noise, there’s biotic and abiotic. Abiotic is natural noise int eh seas form rainfall, waves, surf wind, lightning strikes and the biotic noise is that generated from animals.The worry is that the anthropogenic noise is drowning out and interfering with the biotic sound. One of the environmental groups that wants more to be done about the amount of anthropogenic underwater noise is IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare.Sharon Livermore IFAW (5’07”)“Seismic, airgun surveys for oil and gas, naval sonar, pile driving for things like wind turbines or oil and gas platforms. Those are all impulsive noise. So, if you imagine a pneumatic drill outside of your house, with someone doing some building work, it could actually cause you to have hearing impairments as a result, especially if you are too close. And with those kinds of impulsive noises, animals again, the sensitive animals like whales and dolphins, they can have an acute response, which could actually be something as serious as death, or severe injury, with kind of what we call ambient noise, which is produced by shipping, that increases the background noise level throughout the world's oceans. And it travels incredibly efficiently. So basically, everywhere in the world that a underwater hydrophone has been dropped in the water, you can hear shipping noise from the equator to the North Pole to the Southern Ocean, there is a recording of, of shipping noise in the background. And it travels particularly well, because it is directed downwards into what's called the So Far channel, it's this deep, deep sound channel. And that allows the sound to travel over incredible distances and very, very efficiently. And it's actually the same channel that, you know, whales, whales use to communicate with one another. So that's where you're getting overlap and the distortion that masks the kind of natural sounds of the ocean.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (6’37”)That’s Sharon Livermore, IFAW’s director of marine Conservation. And she’s actively pushing for change to the 2014 guidelines that were written at the International Maritime Organization an underwater noise, but which she says have been largely ignored.Sharon Livermore IFAW (6’55”)“The guidelines, which, as you say, they were written in 2014, so, you know, it's good seven, eight years ago now. And they, they were intended to provide general advice on reducing underwater noise from shipping to designers to ship builders to ship operators. What we found, and actually sorry, you know, the Government of Canada has been very, very active in this space and they've done studies to kind of figure out, you know, why there is it not really been any uptake of these guidelines? Why haven't countries and shipping, done anything to try and action, this issue of underwater noise and we're, we're much more aware now of the impact it's having on marine life on the marine environment. But they're just not being used to make changes to reduce underwater noise. And this study that Canada did commission a couple of years ago found that there were quite a few barriers that are identified, and the main one really is the lack of regulation. So these guidelines are just that - they're not mandatory. And, you know, for that reason, the shipping industry and countries are always going to prioritize things that are mandated as, as they, as they have to, that's a requirement.The fact they're not legally binding, was one of the things. Other things that were identified with were things like the measurements around underwater noise not being completely clear. They wanted to see more data that really demonstrates the impacts of underwater noise. And we're sort of calling for baseline noise data as well. Many of these barriers we believe are, you know, they're not you know, we don't need to do more research on the impacts of underwater noise. It's well understood. Now, that noise is, you know, is a pollutant is recognized by the by UNCLOS, the International Law of the Sea, as a pollutant and under many other international agreements. So, the evidence is that we know it impacts marine species from the smallest invertebrates to the largest whales. The point is really that industry, as they should, industry does priority prioritize the implementation of mandatory initiatives. And undertaking voluntary measures, such as the ones to reduce underwater noise are never going to be prioritized so that the guidelines need to be reviewed to kind of update them with the latest understanding of noise from shipping, but also to kind of figure out, you know, next steps. Like how we encourage uptake around this important issue?”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (9’24”)The IMO’s marine environmental protection committee has now agreed to relook at the guidelines and has passed it onto a subcommittee to review and make recommendations. IFAW and a number of other groups think that as the guidelines have been ineffective at reducing noise from ships, there should be something more mandatory in placeSharon Livermore IFAW (9’44”)“Well, the IMO is the competent agency to deal with underwater noise from shipping. So it would make sense for regulation on that particular pollutant to come from IMO.And, you know, as the kind of authority on all matters relating to the environment from shipping, that does seem to be the obvious place for it to land. You know, the barriers that have been identified, they're not, you know, not all of them are questionable. Many of them are Very, you know, they're very real barriers, you know, how do we reduce noise from ships, and some of the suggestions in the original guidelines around countries identifying the noisiest 10% of the ships in their fleet, which, which are creating pretty much the majority of the noise from the shipping industry, those kinds of actions, which needs to be taken in order to determine, okay, where are our noisy old ships? And what can we do with them to improve their efficiency around noise, so retrofitting them with, you know, new technologies, updating the propeller, which is the main source of noise for shipping, those kind of actions, which would have a huge effect on the entire global footprint, from the shipping industry, that, you know, that makes the most sense, really, in terms of what needs to be done. So it is identifying the ships that needs to be retrofitted, and, you know, basically getting on and doing it, but then also looking at the design of new ships and actually having noise as a factor that's considered when those ships are being designed and built, because at the moment, noise just isn't even on the radar for shipping architects and builders.”Nathan Merchant CFAS (11’03”)“There's very clear evidence now, that underwater noise is affecting individual animals. So certainly, there's very clear evidence for marine mammals. Lots of evidence emerging for a lot of fish species as well, as well as invertebrate species, which are the kind of less studied taxa. What's less clear is to what extent these effects that we can study in quite controlled circumstances or in field measurements on individual animals. Does that that translate into population level effects, does that translate into ecosystem scale effects? That question is a very difficult one to answer because there are so many other factors, human generated or natural, which effects, you know, population scale changes. So that's a really tricky, tricky question. But a key question for policymakers is, you know - Is underwater noise really a significant threat at the large scale. And so there, there are scientists who were dedicating a lot of time to trying to model the likelihood that this is having population scale effects. And of course, there are people who would advocate a precautionary approach and say, well, so many environmental indicators in marine habitats are not doing very well, at the moment, there's a lot of cumulative pressure on the marine environment from human activities. And perhaps noise is a relatively easy pollutants to control. And it's also one, which, you know, if you take noise out of the water, then it's pretty quickly gone away. Whereas some of the pressures on the marine environment are very kind of persistent chemical things that will be with us long before our time.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (13’07”)Nathan and Sharon are also concerned about the other sources of noise in the marine environment from sources other than shipborne noise, particularly as nations build up their ocean economies.Nathan Merchant CFAS (13’20”)“It's not just shipping, we were also concerned about what we call impulsive noise, which loosely is things that go bang. So you know, explosions, seismic surveys, pile driving of offshore wind farms are examples of impulsive noise. and international coordination is very much needed, not only because the animals that could be affected, you know, don't respect whether they're in you know, German or Dutch waters, it doesn't really matter, you know. We need to kind of think about managing our, our oceans, on a kind of ecosystem basis, and not according to national boundaries. But also, because of many of these activities are very international in nature. When it comes to impulsive noise, we can kind of be, they tend to be activities, which you need to get permission to do anyway. So, if you want to build a wind farm, if you want to carry out a seismic survey to look for oil and gas beneath the seabed, then you need to get a license from a regulator and so through that process, we can look at imposing restrictions or providing incentives to do things quieter, when it comes to shipping it's a very international business, you know, your ship might be owned by, you know, your listeners are no doubt familiar with this, but the shipping industry, involving many different players, and its regulation needing to happen at an international level, which, which is the whole purpose of the IMO is very difficult for a single country or a single port, even to have much of an effect on the, you know, to provide much of an incentive, shall we say, to make ships quieter, it needs it needs that coordination. So that's, that's absolutely why these efforts at the IMO or are the right forum for that to happen. At the same time, you know, other international fora can help to kind of provide impetus to that, you know, it may be that, you know, coordination within Europe, for example, can help to show how some of these regulations could be implemented and to do some of the science that will be needed to, to make sure that they're well evidenced.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (15’52”)But when it comes to the noise from a ship there are things that can be done. Many of the solutions that are suggested will also help reduce a ships fuel bill, a double benefit one may say as reducing noise, reduces fuel consumption and therefore reduces CO2 and other emissions into the air.I spoke to Dr Qing Yu, he’s director of technology at the US classification society ABS wo told me that on a technology perspective ships generate three types of noise in general, that’s airborne noise, shipborne noise which has a lot to do with passenger and crew comfort on a vessel and then the underwater noise generated by the ship as it sails though the water.Dr Qing Yu, ABS (16’34”)“Underwater noise, the main source of noise is from propeller. So that's the main noise generation mechanism, let's say on board, and also for commercial ships, those machineries on board will generate noise as well, either through noise emission directly into water of the structural vibration, because those machinery to the equipment on board we're causing a structural vibration and then structural vibration will generate underwater noise emission.The third way is a relatively small part of the equation, it is the flow around the ship will also cause some element of underwater noise.So, typically, the noise level generated by propeller will include two components. One is the so-called tonal noise. The frequency of that part of the noise is a multiple of propeller rotation frequencies. And then the second part is so called the broadband noise, which is very much associated with cavitation of the propeller. Once the propeller generates cavitation bubbles, and the bubble will burst, and we're talking not just one or two bubbles in it is a collection of huge amount bubbles, and then the underwater sound generated by the bubble bursting will create a broader band underwater noise.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (18’19”)“When it comes to the technologies that one can put onto a ship - you have a white paper that he published earlier this year, and there's a list of ducts and fins etc. that can be installed. How does a duct - I've heard about the like the Mewis Duct being used to improve efficiency of a vessel so that the fuel consumption can be improved by one or two precent, but how does a duct, or these technologies, work in actually reducing the sound? And are they better fitted other technologies that are better fitted for certain ship types or certain types of propulsion? So, an azimuth, for example, is it better than a direct line propeller attached to a diesel engine?Dr Qing Yu, ABS (19’05”)Yep, that's a good question actually. When we are looking to know, kind of interesting design topic is the co-design of energy efficiency and underwater noise reduction. And that a ducted propeller or fins,designed to reduce the resistance to vessel, and can contribute to certain level of reduction of underwater noise.Remember, for underwater noise, one of the main sources is from the propeller. When we can design those ducts and finds in a certain way, they can regulate the flow coming into the propeller, and then they can adjust the pattern of the cavitation, the initiation of the cavitation, so that can, again to certain extent, reduce the cavitation induced noise. And, again, the design of those energy saving devices so far, is pretty much focused on energy efficiency. One of the main research topics right now is to look into the possibility to combine the design for energy efficiency and the design for underwater noise reduction. And certainly for propulsion system, there are some very specific designs, especially for the propeller. You can put those like twisting edge and put it in those specific type of propellers that are used to reduce the noise. And those are used for some time, especially for military vessels, but for commercial vessels they are still relatively less used than the common off-the-shelf propeller designs.Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (21’08”)“One of the technologies that I've read about that began many, many years ago, and I've seen the US Navy using it is air bubbles, they used a system called the Prairie-Masker to produce bubbles coming out of the hull and even out of the propeller, to mask the sound prints of the vessels. It has naval and military implications to make sure that they weren't detected by submarines, enemy submarines, but likewise, I've heard of air bubbles being used an air curtain, I think it's called being used around pylons being driven into the ground to reduce the noise being spread of the of the pile I'm driving. And I know and I know also that there's a lot of work now with air lubrication systems on ships, again, another system that is being used to improve the efficiency of the vessel. But you mentioned a second ago that it was the bubbles bursting in the cavitation of the propeller that creates some of the noise. So how can we have noise from the bubbles bursting, but at the same time, have bubbles protecting the oceans from noise? Can you explain that a little bit?”Dr Qing Yu, ABS (22’22”)“Yeah, the cavitation generated bubbles will have different shapes and different frequencies and also the bursting of the bubble will generate a high energy noise emission. For those bubbles generated for air curtain, or now we have other type of energy saving technologies such as air lubrication also generates bubbles. Those bubbles are different from the bubble due to the cavitation and then there's a way to control the pattern of those bubbles, the size of those bubbles, and also the distribution of those bubbles. So, for those underwater noise generating cavitation, essentially the only way that we can do is to regulate the cavitation occurs, either reduce the speed or change the way that those cavitation bubbles are generated through the operation measures or design considerations.” For air lubrication system, and for the specific system designed by navies to mask the propeller generate the noise, the bubbles are generated again in a different way and also the noise created by those systems tend to be more, let's say, much more broadband. Essentially, I can mask the noise from propellers.”Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (24’05”)Dr to Dr Qing Yu, who is director of technology at the US classification society ABS, on the sources of underwater noise form ships and the good and bad of the air bubble. Now, staying with the theme of underwater noise, let’s talk about whale communication and artificial intelligence. Sperm whales have a particular call, and according to scientists each individual pod, possibly individuals, can have a characteristic vocal sound, Now, there’s an ambitious project has been launched in the Caribbean island of Dominica to try and see if scientists can use recent advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning to translate the clicks of the sperm whale. It’s called project CETI Where CETI means the cetacean translation initiative. It’s non-human communication. It is a huge undertaking, and a well-funded one at that bringing together experts in cryptography, robotics, linguistics, artificial intelligence, marine biologists.It’s developing a whale listening system of hydrophones and even robotic fish to listen to a specific pod of sperm whales in a 20 km square area off the Caribbean Island.Amongst the team is Professor Dan Tchernov the project’s Chief Operations Officer, and a marine biologist at Haifa University in Israel. I spoke to him about the project and the possible outcomesProfessor Dan Tchernov, COO Project CETI, Marine Biologist Haifa University, Israel (25’43”)“With all the machine learning, technology and AI, this is all evolving really quickly, in the last decade, maybe now it's possible finally to decipher communication between sperm whales, because they're using actually something close to Morse Code, so, just single clicks with different positions and will put always with the same structure like five notes or three notes depends on the pod and already there is quite a bit of annotated data with which we can start with, to show proof of concept. And the big idea behind it is to finally break the institutional barrier, and therefore, for the first time perhaps, trying to communicate with these mammals, or actually any other creature on their own term, mainly listening to try and understand the communication. But finally, perhaps also sending messages and getting replies. This is called CETI also because it is theoretically the training wheels for the humankind to try and reach out to other civilizations, if they ever, if ever we encounter them, to understand how to try and decipher and communicate with something very, very different.Craig Eason, Fathom World & Podcast Host (27’02”)Dan Tchernov on sperm whales and the attempt to translate their underwater sounds using artificial intelligence and the potential in the future to apply such learning to other species, possibly even extra-terrestrial.Audio examples (27’24”)END (28’24”)
9/5/2021

Air bubbles and nuclear hydrogen

Season 4, Ep. 1
GuestsRodrigo Bermelho/ValeNoah Silberschmidt/SilverstreamBrett Rampal/CATF, Links: Vale pushes giant bulk carriers down greener path - (fathom.world)Should we use nuclear power to make hydrogen fuels for shipping? - (fathom.world)UK Government eyes nuclear powered merchant vessels with late consideration of IMO codes - (fathom.world)Earlier Aronnax episodes about wind assist technologiesAronnax: Pressure and propulsion - (fathom.world)Aronnax S1-3 Wind Part 1 - The resurgence of sail - (fathom.world)Aronnax S1-4 Wind Part 2-eConowind - (fathom.world)Aronnax S1-7 Wind Part 3 - It's not as easy as you think - (fathom.world)Show transcriptRodrigo Bermelho/ValeThe fuels that we are studying like methanol and ammonia for these vessels that are already have the space we can achieve close to 80% emissions reduction on existing ships. So we believe that we have an important competitive advantage to reduce emissions on existing ships. I think this is an important goal that we have.Brett Rampal/CATFAs one of the world's largest sources of clean, firm energy. Nuclear energy offers this really, really useful base load - always on sort of electricity - that when paired with electrolysis, really turns production into a more similar sort of production to existing field production.Craig EasonHello, again, this is the Aronnax podcast, a show that focuses on the development and transformation of the maritime and ocean space. I'm Craig Eason. And if you don't know me, I'm a former seafarer from what seems a long time ago, who became a journalist, writer, editor, and now podcast host.On this podcast, we've covered a number of technologies and ideas as well as policies and projects that are focused on the decarbonisation of the shipping industry. Shipping the backbone of global trade is needed to give us the things that we want at a price we expect. But while it's a vital component of how we live our lives, it like other industries and parts of societies is under a lot of pressure to decarbonize Now decarbonisation and shipping is taking two distinct steps, the first phase is focused on doing something with the existing ships. And then there's the phase looking more perhaps at the new ships, the newbuilds. Some of these existing ships are large, very large and quite young, meaning that there'll be sailing the oceans for many years, and at the moment, they nearly all burn diesel fuel. And this, of course, pumps out CO2 into the atmosphere. There are a number of technologies being rolled out to help reduce this. And there's wind assist propulsion, and I've covered this extensively in earlier episodes of the ironic show, and I'll put a link in the show notes to some of them. But then there's other technologies to help ships get routed more efficiently. Some to say that more optimum speeds and understand when hulls need cleaning, and then there's technologies that push air bubbles under the hull.Air bubbles under the hollow air lubrication as it's known, has been developing for a number of years and as the name suggests, a layer of small air bubbles are continually pushed under the hole to glide between Hull and water, thus reducing the friction force that the ship and its engines need to overcome to sail forward. less friction means less power needed on an engine and therefore less fuel and fewer emissions from the funnel. Now in Brazil, one of the world's largest mining giants, Vale, is also one of the largest charters have large drive bulk tonnage. There are huge dry bulk vessels and Vale controls a lot of them and this is not only leads tosignificant fuel use but also significant emissions. The company now has an ecoshipping programme, as it called it and it's taken two extraordinary steps this year, said to rotor sales on one of the ships and their lubrication systems on another. Both vessels are now trialling the systems with Vale considering rolling them out to other vessels on their fleet that they charter. These two ships are the biggest yet to have either of these systems but also demonstrates how charters are influencing the shape of shipping.Rodrigo Bermelho is Vale's shipping technical manager. So I spoke to him and to Noah Silberschmidy, Silverstream Technologies, which has installed the lubrication system on the Sea Victoria about the installation and trial. But I started by asking Rodrigo about the Brazilian giant's Ecoshipping programme, what that entails.Rodrigo Bermelho/ValeAbout four years ago, we have established within Vale thisR&D programme that we call eco shipping. It is a programme to position Vale in relation to the IMO ambitions and the Paris Agreements and Vale on sustainable targets that we have. And we think Ecoshipping we have drafted a clear low carbon pathway and this low carbon pathway starts with energy efficiency. We believe there is- actually we have a first wave with invalid vessels that the economy of scale we have very large vessels and they have captured important gains, and we believe the second wave is related to energy efficiency and this wave is not finished, there are a lot of energy efficiency gains to be captured. And these energy efficiency gains they will allow us to reduce the demand for fuel and then make a transition to alternative fuels low carbon fuel. So it's a very important step that we have- these energy efficiency gains. And based on that we have scanned, the markets and the innovation technologies that are under development to see what are the energy efficient technologies that can deliver higher against. And here we matched the air lubrication technology. I think there are few technologies today.There are many, many, many technologies related to energy efficiency, but not all of them deliver high gains. And these are important ones that we must capture. So once we had identified air lubrication as one potential technology, we reviewed the technology because there are different ways to do air lubrication. And we match them with Silverstream - we have a specific way to do that, and one that has a lot of data that were provided to us. And we're able to evaluate that initial stage the technology, and then starts our innovation journey. And we did a lot of engineering that- It is two years that we have been working closely together with Silverstream. Once we have identify them as potential makers for these solutions. We did a numerical analysis, various numerical analysis, we went to HSVA model basing in Germany, we have test in scale. First, we have test the release the units in full scale in their cavitation tank, and then we have tests, in scale model, the full vessel, with our lubrication devices, to have more precise information about the gains that were available. And once we got that information, and we confirm his idea that was a technology with high gains on energy efficiency, then we moved to the pilot stage. And while all the fabrication of the equipment and studying on the vessel, that's the stage we are today,Craig EasonHow would you look at the companies that you you chose? There's a lot of companies, a lot of engineers, there's a lot of startups, there's a lot of businesses that are clamouring for the attention of ship operators, managers, companies, like yours aren't there. And I'm sure if you gave everybody your business card, there'll be knocking on your door as soon as possible to say, hey, I've got the answer for all of your problems. Here's my silver bullet idea. What kind of advice would you give to companies that have got ideas and solutions? What kind of advice have you got for them, before they even come knocking on your door?Rodrigo Bermelho/ValeMy advice would be be prepared to partner and share information. I think this is one thing that we got from Silverstream from the very beginning, they have partnered with us and they have incentivized that we go through all this process- numerical analysis and test -to validate the technicals- It is very difficult to deal with any maker if we are not able to validate their claims. And when we talk about innovation, we must acknowledge that sometimes we are talking about new theories or new ways of testing and there is some scope for it to be done that. So it's important that they realise that there is a pathway there is a journey together to validate the claims so that we can finally move to the real thing.Craig EasonSo this vessel, Sea Victoria, has now arrived in Brazil, it's left I presume it's recently left the dock where it had the system, retrofitted. It had the tests done, it's now sailed. It's sailed. Presumably as it sails towards Brazil. It sailed in ballast, but you've able to test the system in ballast is it went west. Can you tell me a little bit about how those tests went and also about the responsibilities and role of the crew on board when you've got a novel technology like that?Rodrigo Bermelho/Vale Yes, this is the first leg the first voyage the system is working. But we we think it's very premature to have any results. I think we are adjusting the system and we are trying to reach the maximum performance that we aim. I think we did a very detailed work before installing and we have solid numbers and now we have to take time to validate that we have assigned Lloyd's Register for our one year long term. Perfect assessments We have installed high frequency data collectors, sensors, and we'll have a lot of information to process within this one year of operation to to finally confirm and even exceed the expectations that we have with this savings. So, I would say that for the moment, we are very satisfied and we continue to work because innovation is just beginning. There is a long way in terms of the the work crews has to do, indeed, dealing with new technologies that are challenged and, of course, new process to be performed on board. One thing that we did that's I also recommend to everyone that's in doing new technologies to perform hazard identifications workshops, we did hazid/hazop workshops involving classification societies, the makers - Silverstream, the shipyard, ship designers ship operators, P&I Club, we brought everybody around the table we have, we were, honest enough to points all the new things and the possible problems that could arise from this operation, and try to identify actions to solve that or to manage the new process. So all this is a is a list there is a shared responsibility, among all parts, which one had to do the actions. And now this is also in cost of implementation and test and reviewing.Craig EasonLet me turn to Noah now because no, I've known you for a number of years now I've seen how silverstream has grown and developed since it concept I was talking to you. At the time, just before you had the first system installed on the Amelienborg. How many systems have you not got onboard vessels or contracted on board vessels?Noah Silberschmidt/Silverstreamas of today, we have 59, we provide a solution, both to newbuilds, and we're the only one that's doing retrofit solutions. The retrofit solutions are extremely important with new regulation on CII and EEXI. And we are at silverstream very focused in providing a product to help the industry, help owners that otherwise would have stranded assets, and try and make make them able to and have them give them a licence to to basically sail after 2023 regulatory environment. So it's a very important part of our strategy to do so. And we're scaling up part of Silverstein's business, just to do retrofits fleet deals. And that is, of course, something we're looking to do with all our.....currently, I think we only really have tier one owners, if you look Vale, Carnival, Shell and so on so forth. But it's something we are looking to be able to service the whole industry, whether them being,whatever you how want to grade them in tears. But we're also working with new builds, designers, new build teams, new build programmes and that's another way for Silverstream to be able to, let's say affect the market more. So yes, recently. I mean, three years ago, we did a fleet deal with Grimaldi which was 12 vessels. And then most recently, we did a fleet deal for Shell last year on a number of LNG vessels, which you can see on the website, which has got a lot of potential options attached to it. And then we have just now been involved in a lot more activities in 2021, which has not yet published.Craig Easonis the installing a cyst retrofitting a system is Is that likely to be a lengthy process, with each installation needing to be bespoke for this particular vessel designed around the vessel the number of air compressors that need to be installed on board, the positioning of where the air bubbles flow out from under that under the hull? Have you looked at how you can actually shorten that period of design and installation of a system?Noah Silberschmidt/SilverstreamOne of the workstreams we're currently doing at Silverstream is that we have a whole standardisation programme. So that means that we are working now with a fixed set of compressor types and standard systems. So if you tell me that you have a certain vessel, we are able to respond very quickly on single retrofit installation, we can will six month notice instal that, clearly, we would like to have a bit more time available to us, so we can resource it properly. But we are we are now ready for a client if the client is coming to us today and wants to do 40 retrofits over a period of five years. That is something we are currently set up to do.Craig Easonwhen it comes to insurance of new technologies. As with with 50 installations, and no incidents, there's a there's a certain pedigree that you're building building up here, but always the installation of new systems onto ships .and perhaps I could take this question to Rodrigo, about putting a new system onto his ship. When you go to your insurance company. They're going to look at you and think, okay, what's the additional risk here? Could you tell me a little bit about any conversations you had with the insurance companies, to explain to them what it was you were doing and what it entails?Rodrigo Bermelho/ValeYes, for Craig, yes, we have involved with P&I Club from the very beginning. And of course, we have covered the new technology and have ensured some aspects of this new technology on boards. Now our coverage. And as I have mentioned, we also brought the P&I Club to discuss together with the other stakeholders, potential risks that were in the project. So they were around the table when we did the hazid workshops. And I think that was a great partnership that we had with the steamship P&I Club. They were very competitive, they brought good insights. And I think this is building also a relationship that's needed cooperation that's needed when we talk about new technology and innovation.Craig EasonAnd you've said that there's the potential for the systems that you're installing now, the air lubrication and the and the the rotorsail system for them to be installed on the ships as well. Have you Have you discussed that further? Have you got a timeline for when that might start to happen?Rodrigo Bermelho/ValeYes, as I have mentioned, we have this low carbon pathway for shipping. Energy Efficiency plays an important role to demand the fuel consumption. Maybe you are aware, we have a lot of very large ore carriers that were designed as LNG ready. So 77 of these vessels were designed and built for future retrofits of LNG systems, so they have compartments dedicated compartment for LNG fuel tank for a round voyage and within our programme, we are working to develop other fuels for this space to turn into a multi-fuel compartment.So we have a project for a multi-fuel tank. One tank that could store ammonia, methanol, LNG. This is an important piece of our strategy, and the technologies - here the lubrication and also the rotorsails- they were designed it on these vessels- very large ore carriers. We have selected one Guiava-Max- that's 325,000 dwt. There are 47 vessels of this class, and 60+ vessels, the Vale-max class 4000, 000 dwt. These technologies they way we have designed them it's very easy to escalate the system here to all the vessels we are talking about. But it's a question at first to to validate the results, so we will go through these one year assessment to validate and refine the solution. Of coursewe have expectations to exceed the results that we have and I believe that the technology will improve and we can in the future have better gains, so, the pilot is for that as well. And once we we are comfortable with these gains that we can have, they will allow us to go for a more comprehensive solution on installing energy efficiency equipments on vessels, reducing the demand for fuel and going to alternative fuel solutions and fuel that we are studying like methanol ammonia for these vessels that are already have the space we can achieve close to 80% emissions reduction on existing ships. So we believe that we have an important competitive advantage to reduce emissions on existing ships. I think this is an important goal that we have.Craig EasonThat was Rodrigo them Hello from the Brazilian mining giant valet talking to me about the company's plans to reduce the emissions on the giant bulk carriers its uses and some other technologies that they're using to achieve it. And in terms of future fields, I was particularly interested in the idea of a multi fuel tank which can be used on board for different fuel types. As shipping moves into its next era. When fuels like methanol, hydrogen, ammonia, and biofuels will rise. The discussion about future fuels is a heated one, and there are proponents shouting louder and louder about specific solutions. On a personal note, I don't see why one fuel should win over the other just yet. different markets in different regions may have different answers, but one thing is for sure, there's going to be a need for more of it to be made. If we assume that part of the shipping industry will require green hydrogen and green ammonia, which is made from the hydrogen then industry needs to look at how the electricity is sourced. The most talked about sources are green electricity from wind power or solar power, possibly wave and tidal in the future to then there's the debate about the value of blue hydrogen and whether this is the transition to green. Blue hydrogen is where the hydrogen is made through Steam reformation, and the co2 generated is recycled or stored through CCS. But a recent paper in the US has pointed to another source of electricity to make hydrogen nuclear power. In the US lobby group, the Clean Air Task Force issued a paper last month suggesting that as nuclear power generates baseload electricity, it's an obvious source of power to make hydrogen for society. nuclear power stations already use significant amounts of hydrogen in their chemistry and water cooling. But this is currently sourced through the steam reclamation process of natural gas. There are now trials in the US and proposals in the UK to develop hydrogen from nuclear power and use it specifically in hard to abate industries such as shipping. The Clean Air Task Force paper was authored by its nuclear power expert, Brett rempel, I got in touch with him and I asked him about the nuclear industry in the US and its existing use of hydrogen. This is set to change. And the first demonstration projectsBrett Rampal/CATFthe reactors nuclear power plants around the world that use hydrogen in their operations are usually sourcing that steam methane and refined hydrogen in their in their operations. Right now, in the US, we have multiple demonstrations for demonstrations and nouns, the one with the location, as you know, just recently been confirmed by Exelon of nuclear hydrogen electrolysis demonstrations supported by utilities in the Department of Energy. The Exelon demonstration is going to be at the Nine Mile point, nuclear reactor, nuclear power plant, excuse me. And the existing power plants use the hydrogen in chemistry control and their water in some reactors. And in others, they use them to cool the generators. So keep the generators cool. So that that is a not an insignificant amount of hydrogen being used by the existing reactor fleet around this country. And so that's why a lot of these utilities and the Department of Energy is looking at the opportunities for sort of pairing the existing user which is also a clean energy generation source to produce the commodity that it's using. And the paper also alludes to a more advanced sort of electrolysis technology that's currently being studied and researched and even demo in some places. And there's high temperature steam electrolysis technology also tends to lend itself very well to nuclear technologies with which can offer a high temperature steam product at the end of its energy or in its energy generation cycle.Craig EasonWhat what's the benefit of building an electrolysis subunit to a nuclear power station compared to building it close to a wind power station or a solar panel? what's the what's the benefit of the hydrogen in this discussion compared to solar or wind generated electricity?Brett Rampal/CATFSure, well, I mean, depending on your region in your area, the option for pairing electrolysis with renewables might be, you know, the best option for you but for some reason There's some areas that just might not be possible for a area and density sort of need renewables while a great and growing source of our electricity in this in you know, in this global economy they tend to be relatively dispersed not take up a little bit a lot of land use the opportunities for nations or locations that are very reliant on marine shipping, such as Pacific island nations or you know, that all have land use me are problems land density problems, would probably struggle to produce or build out the needed renewable infrastructure to support decarbonizing both their electricity and expanding to produce additional zero carbon fuel sources. So from that standpoint, it offers a different side of the the teeter totter on renewables there. And then additionally, as as one of our the world's largest sources of clean, firm energy. Nuclear Energy offers this really, really useful base load always on sort of electricity that can, when paired with electrolysis, really turns production into a more similar sort of production to existing fuel production. Most fuel refineries and fuel production operations work most economically and efficiently when they're producing fuel, not when they're not producing fuel. So pairing electrolysis technology with an always available clean source of energy or electricity, helps support overall economic production of the zero carbon fuels.Craig EasonAnd in terms of the the location of nuclear power stations there may have this role, but most of them seem to be located next, next, or very close to water, large water sources because the amount of cooling water that they need, so they tend to be next to water, but I don't perceive them as being very close to ports. That question Can at that point leads to the if you if you can get the hydrogen electrolysis located next to the nuclear power station. So you've got that you're What about that link between the hydrogen that has been generated or ammonia or whatever product it is, and the actual end user?Brett Rampal/CATFSure. Well, you know, in the United States, we do have some existing nuclear power plants that you know, are not located directly next to ports, but are located nearby and the existing us pipeline infrastructure is extremely robust. And the opportunities for either hydrogen blending or hydrogen injection directly into dedicated pipelines for shipment and production, or are transitioning existing pipelines over to new operations with retrofit and upgrade, of course, those sort of opportunities, lend itself well for a gas commodity like hydrogen or ammonia. And when you're also talking about the next step, which our paper talks about, in terms of using ammonia instead of hydrogen, there is an existing ammonia transportation and production, market and infrastructure globally around the world. So the the distance from a quote unquote, large traditional port might not be super challenging for an existing nuclear power plant that might be located on the Gulf of Mexico or along the Mississippi River, if they could leverage existing transportation infrastructure for one of these, you know, technology for one of these commodity streams.Craig EasonThe obvious question is really, why not just put the nuclear power station or the nuclear power unit directly onto the ships, the in the US there was the Savannah and the Russians have got a large number of icebreakers in in service for many, many years. And of course, they had one deep one large container vessel kind of icebreaking container vessel that was is still nuclear power, I believe it's still actually in service. And then of course, there's all the military vessels both in the US and Russia and elsewhere that have got nuclear power plants on board, some of them have gone to nuclear power plants, I believe. And I know that this is a discussion that has also risen again, in maritime circles about the option of putting some of the developing technologies for nuclear power onto ships and star and using that as a way to demonstrate cleaner shipping, that you see that different from what you're suggesting. In terms of creating ammonia and hydrogen for the shipping industry.Brett Rampal/CATFSure. And just as an aside an anecdote the USS Enterprise, the Nimitz class carrier that came out actually had eight nuclear reactors on it, I believe. So some of these, some of these aircraft carriers have that multiple reactors on them. A lot of my original thinking began going down the pathway of putting reactors on ships, but when we sort of looked at the balances and the pros and cons and again, the timescales for decarbonisation, you know, and where existing, you know, nuclear technology is used or could be used now, we don't see a world where long durations transportation shipping becomes ultra reliant on, at least in the near term, on on a on nuclear propulsion on the ships, because, number one, there's ports around the world that are, are non nuclear areas and won't allow nuclear vessels and everything. So therefore, you limit your, your, your access, right there. Number two, there's liability issues for operating a nuclear reactor on a ship versus operating a traditional or zero carbon fuel engine on a ship. You know, those liability issues can include security and proliferation, as well as extreme cost liability issues. And then you've also got a workforce and manpower concerns. So the the the challenges with looking at the existing marine shipping fleet and talking about a large scale transition of all of its, or a majority or a large percentage of its workers to be nuclear qualified or to work on a ship with new versus what they're used to, which is they're very well experienced professionals in fuel operations and, and safe operations of marine engines. Those are high higher barriers than we thought in the near term for looking at an option like a zero carbon particle, which is an easier transition, it seems. And then in the paper, we discussed, like you discussed icebreakers, a couple other niches where we think nuclear propulsion will continue to expand and shipping like research vessels and sort of those niche opportunities that in the near term, really what lends itself well to this before the larger picture. It just seems like a larger lift right now,Craig Easonfinally, I'm aware that's back in the 60s, late 60s, early 70s. In the US, the military or one of the the engineering course, or something like that, put a nuclear power station on an old vessel and created a barge didn't power the vessel by him. But it was used in the Panama Canal. Russia has got its floating power station that's now active up in the in the Arctic, China has got a nuclear barge that is developing should be floating sometime this year, maybe or operational next year. And I know that there's a couple of companies that are looking at nuclear power on a barge so that the nuclear power itself becomes mobile. Do you see this as being able to work alongside that hydrogen generation, then as part of this process to create a much more flexible green fuel supply chain for the shipping industry?Brett Rampal/CATFI think we see novel and deployment and novel deployment methods as being important and integral to the growth and future deployment or achieving potential of nuclear decarbonizing or supporting large scale grid, decarbonisation or large scale energy systems, decarbonisation the the mobility aspect of putting them on the barges In my opinion, I don't necessarily think is the biggest driver for why they're doing that. I think it's more a sighting issue, if you can, you know, site the reactor offshore, it's a little bit easier in a lot of cases than siting it offshore. As you can imagine, based on experience that a lot of industries have learned for offshore versus on onshore siting in similar energy production technologies. So the and if you look at what a lot of these barges did or are doing, they're being moved someplace and left there for a long time. So the Sturgis the Panama Canal barge, stay there. Forever the academic Lavasa, I'm sorry, I probably butchered the Russian name of that is in a northern port located there for a long time. And I believe that's what the Chinese are planning to do. So I think it's leveraging existing shipyard building capabilities to kind of say, Oh, hey, how can we commoditize these products better? How can we increase the manufactured content? How can we assembly line these things out, and then we can use the waterways to then transport them, and then they have implantation there. So I think that does lend itself very well to the potential options for doing zero carbon fuels, because then you could, as you, you know, alluded to before and get them closer to those ports, or locations where the users are going to be.Craig EasonThat's Breck rampolla from the Clean Air taskforce talking about the idea of generating hydrogen and ammonia from nuclear power, and using it in the shipping industry, as well as the growing interest in nuclear power stations on a barge. Of course, there is the other option of having nuclear reactors as a power source on a ship. And while this still faces a lot of challenges, not least political and societal. There are companies looking at this possibility of UK has now issued a consultation for a draft merchant chip regulation that would align itself with the iremos nuclear code for nuclear ships. Well, that's it for this episode of the air annex podcast. I'm Craig Eason, you'll find me at fathom dot world where you can read our stories on these and other topics, please visit the site and subscribe to our newsletter. And of course, subscribe to this podcast on your favourite podcast app. And share this podcast with your friends, family and colleagues who are interested in the transition and transformation of the shipping and ocean space. Until the next time, goodbye.
6/23/2021

The devil in the detail of the CII/EEXI measures to curb shippings' CO2 emissions

Season 3, Ep. 10
The member state representatives who attended the latest meeting of the Marine Environmental Protection Committee did so remotely and battled through a growing lack of trust to finally agree the details of the two measures the IMO secretariat call the short term measures.These as anyone in shipping will likely know are the EEXI and CII.They will kick in in 2023 and while they will have an impact, have been decried by green lobby groups as not strong enough. But are they as weak as many sugest?Some of the green gorups decry these as not being able to create long term change, but are they here to do so? SUrely that will be the jo of the mid and long term measures (Market-based-measures) which will now begin to consume committee meetingtime.But also are critics only looking at the baseline average figures being talked about and not going into enough detail, particularly with regard the CII?In order to find out more about some of the deeper detail, Fathom World's Craig Eason spoke to Edwin Pang who heads up the IMO Committee of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects.Edwin has also been going into more detail than one can do in a podcast chat in inked In and you can read more about his insight into the details here.https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/alternative-view-imo-short-term-measures-part-1-eexi-edwin-panghttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/alternative-view-imo-short-term-measures-part-2a-cii-edwin-pang
5/31/2021

Capturing ships carbon dioxide emissions

Season 3, Ep. 8
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? TranscriptKazuki SaikiIt'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. Sigurd JenssenWe 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. Craig EasonHello 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, Sigurd JenssenThe 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, when you're putting something on the ship compared to to land. On land, you can build a tower that's 30 metres high, you can't do that on a ship. But, based on the experience that we have with with SOx scrubbers and the know-how that we have around the scrubbing technologies, we we see that we can make it a little bit more compact, and more fit for use on the ships. So that is what we're going to do now; instal test unit of one megawatt size in in our lab, it will still be land-based but it will mimic a marine installation with both SOx scrubbers and we have SCRs and we have a small auxiliary engine running on HFO. So we can really get as close to being on the ship as as possible. and then we need to spend the next year or years playing around with the with a parameter, seeing what trade-offs we can make in making this fit, for shipboard installation, Craig EasonJenssen said that the technology the vatsal that we'll be looking at will use chemicals known as Amines on a ship, the amines are an ammonia derivative and they're sprayed through the exhaust to catch the CO2. And it is very similar process that Mitsubishi Shipbuilding is also looking at. Kazuki SaikiMy name is Kazuki Saiki. I am from our strategic planning and operation office, of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding. I used to be an engineer, and I was doing the initial designs of, let's say, feeder LNG vessels or LNG bunkering vessels. Back then I was designing container ships and so on, but last year, I was project manager of this CC Ocean project.This all conversations and discussions over alternative fuels, zero emissions and carbon capturing started back in 2018, where IMO decided this very ambitious goal for IMO 2050, where we all have to cut off 50% of entire greenhouse gases from maritime sector. So this is why we have started discussing over alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, and synthetic fuels, biofuels. These have to be carbon neutral and along with that, we have an option of carbon capturing on board. What really differentiates carbon capturing from the other alternative fuels is that it's a combination of feasible technology from land based industry. It is not that we are committed for onboard carbon capturing we are also developing ammonia fuel fuel gas supply system. And also we're working on electrification of smaller ships. But we do believe there will be a worldwide CO2 supply chain, and so we think that this will be an option. Craig EasonThe CC Ocean project that Mitsubishi is running is on a K Line vessel or will be on a key line vessel on international trade in the Pacific Ocean. The project is being funded by the Japanese government and as well as Mitsubishi and K line, Class NK, the Japanese class society is also involved. Kazuki SaikiFirst of all, I have to confess that we're only collecting 0.1 tonne per day of CO2. So, this is just like 0.1% of entire emissions from the ship. And we only have carbon capturing plant, meaning that we don't have liquefaction plant or storage tanks. So, regretfully, we have to return the captured of CO2 back to the exhaust gas. So, why are we doing this is that we want to confirm even though this is a proven technology, there are the requirements from Marine useAnd we wanted to confirm the effect of marine environment to the performance of the carbon capturing. The effects that were concerning is including the ship motion, and also the the sulphur content. We know that the sulphur content in exhaust gas will deteriorate the performance of amine, and the third one is we need to confirm safe operation by crew. So, these are the main purposes that we want to confirm through this trial. This yearCraig EasonKzuki said to the development of onboard CCU will develop after the market for co2 carriers and shipments of CO2 grows something the IAEA says will need to happen if the world is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to meet its targets. Kazuki SaikiWe are very much aware that there has to be a port infrastructure, to accept the captured CO2 from the sea. But we're being pretty much optimistic about it because the on the land, oil and gas industry there are more and more needs for CCS and carbon capture and storage or er, enhanced oil recovery. And we are also getting many, many inquiries on liquefied CO2 carrier. So this is another story it's not about the onboard carbon capturing, but simply carrying the the liquefied CO2 and this need is coming from CCS. So, we do believe that there will be a seaborne CO2 supply chain. So, what I am guessing is that the carbon capturing onboard will come after the building of this seaborne CO2 supply chain. So in light, that means we can just utilise the port infrastructure structure and we don't have to worry about what happens after bringing back to the poorCraig EasonNeither Mitsubishi nor Wärtsilä have been able to put a date on when shipping would be able to buy and instal tested, approved, and economically viable systems. But given the investment both companies are making, they are obviously confident that there would be demand should it work. The main target would be the existing fleet of vessels as own as eye the requirements that they will need to meet for the 2030 emission goals being laid out by the IMO. But this also relies on the IMO having taken into account carbon capture technology as a viable and equivalent emission reduction technology. The member states are currently finalising the requirements for the energy efficiency existing ship index and the carbon intensity indicator. These are the two regulatory tools to be used to get owners to improve individual ship efficiency. But there isn't any scope at the moment for this abatement technology and the calculations. And for carbon capture on board to work owners really do need to feel confident of the CCU technology and its ability to help them meet the regulatory requirements. Sigurd JenssenOn land, they are looking at capture rates in the high 90s. They're they're researching how to go from 99 to 99.5%. capture it, that's not what we are looking for in in shipping, we need to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions and if we can take out 70%. I mean, that is a huge step, and that aligns with the IMO targets as well. So I think that is our starting point that we know that we were able to do quite a lot of good, we're not going to get to 100%, at least not in the in the near future. Eventually, that might be a possibility, but doing 70% now is going to do a lot of good.It's not without its challenges. wouldn't be any fun otherwise. And for sure, there will be sacrifices that needs to be made. You will need to add a scrubber,and a stripper, and cooling and compression plant and not least the storage aspect. So you won't lose something in terms of space or cargo capacity. But we think that is a relatively minor compromise for the benefit that you would, would get. And to be fair, if you look at the the alternatives, there are compromises that have to be made for those as well. So it's this or that.Craig EasonSo before we end before you go a request. If you can share, subscribe, and like this podcast.I put the show together in my own time because I've got a great interest in what's going on in the ocean industries. And if you have got to this part of the show, then you obviously do too. So get in touch if you want to talk to me about your ideas, and until the next time, goodbye.
5/7/2021

The jungle ship

Season 3, Ep. 7
Craig EasonHello, 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. Danielle Doggett 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, whilewe 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-profit world is moving towards that a lot of people disagree with me. But it's the only way to make long term financial sense. And so that those things are inherent in our business model.Craig Eason How do you see this then scaling up? You've got the CEIBA, which is is it still going to be launched next year? 2022? Is it still on schedule? How do you see that scaling up?Danielle DoggettYes, we are actually still on schedule, which is really amazing to say, we'll see if we're on schedule when it actually gets in the water. But we are. And it's very interesting. A lot of people think that CEIBA is a symbolic flagship, and that, you know, it's it's nice, but it's not scalable, I would actually completely different disagree. And when I look at how can we decarbonize the maritime sector, we do look at scaling up, but actually, we really look at scaling out in all directions. And so here, for example, in where I live in the Gulf of Nicoya, it's beautiful Bay in the Pacific in Costa Rica, we have an artesanal fishing cooperative here that has 90 boats, little open boats that are about five meters or 15 feet long. And this is, by the way, one of the poorest communities in the entire country, which is where we are located. And we're looking at their little boats and saying, How can we decarbonize that industry, because that's the entire Gulf, that's what all those families depend on. So we are looking as small as little open boats, and we are looking as large as very large commercial steel vessels as well. So with CEIBA, what we want to do is prove the value of clean shipping, which actually, we've already done, that. CEIBA has already achieved permission, because we have so many letters of intent from cargo clients, that we could easily justify building a second ship of the same design. So we see the scaling in in all, all ways that the maritime industry is active.Craig Eason Tell me a little bit about the cargo side then, because I quite often hear from ship owners, that there's a bit of a it's not a tense dialogue, but let's just say some of the stumbling blocks are often between what the shipping groups say they can do and what the cargo owners the charters say they want and are willing to pay. And there seems to be a bit of a standoff there, when you look at more traditional charter parties, when you look at the the the arrangement, the commercial arrangement that they have got between each other, that seems to be a bit of a stumbling block.But you're saying here that you've managed to identify how have you managed to find so many cargo owners that are willing to fill the CEIBA and another vessel?Danielle DoggettWell, they've they've found us as far as I can understand, they've they've really found us. And it's simple. They recognize that by eliminating their carbon footprint, they add value to the product, and that's just a simple mental shift. And people have begun to to make that shift. And so when I can say to somebody, you know, this is one reason actually we identified Canada as an interesting place to go because for example, coffee does not grown in Canada, at any commercial scale whatsoever. Maybe somebody has a tree in a greenhouse privately but or plant rather. So, assuming that there is no coffee grown in Canada and I go to Vancouver, which Vancouver loves coffee. They're massive coffee drinkers and if I go to a high end roastery that is, you know, say they have micro-lot biodynamic, Fairtrade, eco-packaging, organic, they're they're all the things, they are not carbon neutral, they are not carbon negative, not truly, they can offset it. But every single bean that's brought into Canada has a carbon footprint associated with it. So if the roaster in Vancouver can say, 'We are the first and the only carbon neutral coffee in the entire province of British Columbia', that's going to add value to the product.Craig EasonI mean, we're not we're not looking at a very large ship here are we and the cargo that you can carry is limited, but to balance surely being profitable for the cargo owners to be able to sail it on that vessel? Because are they then going to find that their prices are going to have to be higher as a result of putting something onto your vessel?Danielle DoggettActually, absolutely not. It's a surprising thing to say but no. On the route that we've been looking at, which is Costa Rica to Vancouver, if the end product, which is, you know, one kilo of coffee on the on the shelf, or 2.2 pounds of coffee, that would be somewhere in the range of Canadian $30- so call it C$20 to C$25 or so a kilo. Basically, they would have to add around 70 cents to that final final end product. And for something like that kind of product where people are already willing to pay a little bit more, that was not a barrier. And actually, in conversations with our single largest cargo client, who signed signed a letter of intent, which is a coffee roaster, we'veworked with them to create a new business plan, and we would actually be able to exactly price match their current service.Craig EasonOkay, so there's a good market entry point there, the good market incentive there.Danielle DoggettBut at the same time, sorry, to cut ou off, at the same time, we could match their current service price, which I was, I was surprised to find that out myself. But why why should we? We are providing a premium service. And this is a premium, you know, exclusive opportunity. For this client we work really closely with we are going to do everything we can to lower the price. But why should we say it's cheaper than to subsidize fossil fuel industry?Craig EasonBefore I go on to talking about what your plans are for the future, there's another question about what you're doing there today when it came to building a traditional style of vessel like you've got there are three masted schooner, square rig, - when it came to building ships like that, where on earth did you find the shipwright skills to do so.Danielle DoggettSo although we don't, we don't really need to look for people they come to us from around the world, we've had around 26 different nations participate already in the build of this vessel. And the reason they come to us is this is,unless there's an undocumented, I can't say properly -Pinisi - Indonesian vessels that's not being properly documented, this will be the largest traditional wooden build currently in the world of a ship. So we attract world class timber framers and shipwrights like, like bees to honey. So that's amazing. And it's interesting this ship, CEIBA, is the largest ship of any kind built in the history of Costa Rica of any material, as well When she's launched, she will be the largest emission free cargo ship in the entire world at 9 TEU, with people that are building out of wood in the jungle starting with $7,000. But to me, that's like mind boggling. That's how slow the competitive shipping industry is, is that we're winning but like with a hammer and a chisel, and they're not doing it I don't understand. So CEIBA will be the largest in the world with 9 TEU.Craig EasonI guess in one way, you've set the bar high, but at the same time, you've set it quite low at the same time, haven't you?Danielle Doggettshould be able to beat that. Come on, guys. Take my title away. Like please. I want the shipping industry to change, you know, so CEIBA will be the largest but I hope it's not for long. There'd better be bigger boat soon.Craig EasonHow are you working with bringing this vessel CEIBA into the maritime industry? When you bring an ordinary ship and you've got to go through all the classification requirements, you've got all the safety requirements, the flagging, you've got all of those regulations that you need to abide by? How are you going through with that? How are you have you found any obstacles that you've had to overcome in terms of bringing a vessel like this into international trade?Danielle DoggettWell, we are going through that process currently. So CEIBA will be fully classed up to modern safety standards, and adhering to all those regulations, regulations. We are hoping to have the flightsafety here in Costa Rica, though that does present some challenges because there are really no precedents here, set for that. And so they also are the maritime industry here is kind of small,they don't recognize ABS, they don't recognize other things, so whether or not she's actually flagged in Costa Rica is still to be determined. One of the largest problems that I don't think that we will really face simply because of where we're based, but would typically be a commercial vessel built out of wood. And this is one reason that CEIBA is not and will never be built in Canada, because Transport Canada, which is the Ministry there, does not recognize wood as a viable material to make any commercial vessel out of, which is absurd, because we've been doing it as a human race for 1000's of years. And this is absurd to me, you cannot, you're not going to get an exemption. And your vessel also, you will not get one grandfathered in. But for example, the United States has a nationwide exemption to this, and which is why they have such a thriving beautiful wooden boatbuilding tradition that's still alive.Craig EasonSo you can't build a commercial vessel in Canada made of wood?Danielle Doggettit's not gonna happen. Some people might tell you could apply for an exemption, but I've been familiar with it for many years, it's not going to happen. It's very unfortunate. And maybe one day, when I'm older, I'll work for Transport Canada, and I can't wait to strike that from the, from the paperwork.Craig EasonLet's talk a little bit about your future plans, because you made it clear on the website, that Sabre is a flagship, you're not stopping at one vessel. This isn't just a Showboat. This is a commercial enterprise. And there are commercial goals. So what are your plans? Tell me a little bit now about what you're doing next. Because you can't continue to build CEIBA after CEIBA where you're building it at the moment, you'd probably run out of wood before long.Danielle DoggettWell, it's funny you say that. So we, as I said earlier, are looking to expand kind of in multi directional, many different ways. And so really, we do actually, okay, it's not announced, I didn't say this, we're going to announce we are building a second ship of this design. You guys didn't hear it here, though. And that'll be announced quite soon. And no, there's no, no, no, you can build with wood.We actually have an inherent tree planting program and say that is mandated to plant 12,000 trees before she hits the water, I think we've put around at the end of this year, it'll be 5,000 trees in the ground. And we've only cut down maybe 500. So we're putting at least 10 times more we were in 500 is pretty much the highest number that will be used for the ship, so we are planting many, many more. But here in Costa Rica, they have some of the most strict forestry laws. And it's one of the only countries in the world where the National Forest is actually increasing in size every year. And this is something that's very important for us to be able to verify that we are getting wood in a sustainable and regenerative manner. Actually, right now we have a nonprofit branch and they're running their "Trees for Seas" tree planting campaign. So if you want to plant a tree, you can contribute that way. But to answer your question, we're also looking at building large commercial ships. We are forming some partnerships right now that are very exciting, with port authorities and industrial shipyards and naval architects, they're really the best from around the world. And if everything falls into place, which we're not sure if it will, there would be guaranteed cargo contracts for those vessels as well, the large commercial ones,Craig Easonand these larger commercial vessels, well, they all but also be looking at wood constructions, are you looking at expanding your vessel types as well?Danielle Doggett Yeah, these would actually be built of steel. And this is a big step for us because CEIBA is very beautiful, because she is inherently carbon negative and organic and her life cycle will be very beautiful. When that ship comes to its end of its life, which could be as long as 100 years, it's made of wood, and it goes back to Earth. And of course, steel is a natural material from Earth, but it's not really the same. When you look at lifecycle analysis. So I'm happy to say, you know, if we build a large steel vessel, I'd write imperfect, I paint the word imperfect, very large on the side of it, so even if the operation is carbon neutral, because we would not be using fossil fuels of any kind, the steel itself has a very heavy, heavy carbon and social footprint, which is something that we need to look into before I can really comment further. But we do intend to do feasibility studies and environmental impact studies on that. You know,Craig EasonI'm aware that the production of steel is particularly intensive, in terms of energy needs. I know there is there are projects, I've read of some research going into looking at renewable energy to provide electrification of steel production, in terms of how the the iron ore is, is melted down to produce the steel, but I believe it's very much in its infancy. So that and that was one of the questions I had about how you would how you could justify that switch to steel, given what you were saying before?Danielle DoggettYeah, well, and it's funny, you know. Wth saiba we're very environmentally inclined, we're, you know, really bordering on being activists, I guess in some ways people always ask us, how can you be environmental if you're cutting down trees? You should build out of steel, so you don't cut down trees? And I say, Do you know the first step of making a mine? You clear cut. You clear cut, and it's typically in Brazil that has all the world's largest iron mines, you clear cut the Amazon and then you start so no, it's not more sustainable than building with wood. But this is something we haven't,we don't have a formal answer on yet. How do we justify working with steel still, which we will be doing research on that, and having statements and having carbon offsets and talking about that. But the justification is decarbonize the maritime industry, inspire others to do more, and work towards a better future. They invented the lightbulb working by candlelight, you know, so you kind of have to work with what you have, and push that forward. And that's what we're doing. So again, I would paint in letters imperfect on the side of that vessel.Craig EasonHow do you say the CEIBA and the these other vessels that you're working on, they will also these other vessels will also be sail powered, so you're demonstrating the use of wind power primarily. But I know in the CEIBA, you're you're looking at other technologies on board, you're looking at having fuel cells and hydrogen. And another area that I found really, really quite interesting is this ability to use the propeller, when you're under sale to Gen to basically generate electricity to then as electrolysis and then generate your own hydrogen on board. Do you see this as being something that you can demonstrate on larger vessels as well, this ability to use fuel sales and use your own hydrogen generation?Danielle DoggettSo just a quick point, CEIBA, the actual first ship we're building is going to be powered by to 150 kilowatt electric engines, which are supported by a very large battery bank. So those will be regenerated using the solar panels and as well, as you said, the propeller. So when the ship is actually being propelled forward using the sails, we can adjust that variable pitch propeller and just generate as much drag resistance and create electricity as we desire. We have conducted, in hope that's the right word now, in partnership, where we have contracted a feasibility study for a CEIBA-type vessel for using green hydrogen fuel cells to power the ship and this is something we're just beginning to explore now that's very exciting. CEIBA seems to, according to the study, which we've been reading, by Ad Astra rocket company, which is an affiliate of NASA, CEIBA seems to be the smallest vessel that hydrogen becomes feasible. And so to really scale hydrogen, you want to have larger and larger ships or at least larger and larger applications, and then that can justify a ship using that. So we're even looking at potentially having a hydrogen, green hydrogen, production facility here at our shipyard,which would power potentially a potential CEIBA-type ship, all of the work at the shipyard, and up to a fleet of 90 open boats, fishing boats, that I referred to. So when you have larger applications, even smaller ones make sense if they can fit in as part of it.Craig EasonThe reason I was asking that I am aware of the Energy Observer, which is sailing around the world, demonstrating solar power, wind power, and the ability to generate its own hydrogen on board for a hydrogen PEM fuel cell that it has installed. And that's why I was interested in how you're taking what is essentially, what I see there as a demonstration of onboard hydrogen generation and putting it into a into living commercial space here, and then even scaling it up, even further to make it even more viable.Danielle DoggettYeah, absolutely. We're very excited about moving forward with potential hydrogen in a large commercial vessel. So this is very, very early stages. But according to I got to meet an astronaut on two days ago, Dr. Franklin Chan was the founder of an Ad Astra rocket company, and he believes that it is possible and scalable and would be viable to do it on a very large scale. But basically, we're driven by the fact that we will not use fossil fuel, so we're not clinging to it, like every single other design out there have large commercial vessels. So you know, for example, OceanBird reduces their use by 90%, but they're just clinging to this fossil fuel, and I don't really know why. So as soon as you eliminate that from the equation, other things start to look more interesting.Craig EasonWhen you look at the effects of this scaling up aspect, and with the saber, you've got certain limits that you've got on the size of the vessel that when you designed it, but do you, you're saying with these other vessels when they become larger vessels, then as you're moving forward, you're looking at larger vessels, and how do you see what do you put them into the same kind of trade that you've got planned for CEIBA,, where you've got long term contracts with cargo owners who really want to demonstrate that they are actually sustainable in that part of their production?Danielle Doggett Yes, absolutely. And we it looks like, as tese contracts come together, so I can't say that they are secured yet, but all every single one of our larger conversations, they all want exclusivity. So they recognize the value of that, they want to have long-term exclusive contracts to really lock in the fact that they are special, they are the ones who have this, and they do not want to lose that service to to a higher paid a higher bidder. And so because there are so few ships, there's almost no ships available right now. And we're seeing pretty, pretty competitive conversations, actually.Craig EasonWho do you think that they do you think you'll soon start to see competitors emerge?Danielle DoggettYes, and no, I mean, I hope we do. And I hope we see competitors emerge. But I just don't really see it happening. As I've said, this even Ocean Bird, which is a very wonderful example, I have the whole thesis study here on my bookshelf, clings to fossil fuels. So until there is a vessel that simply lets it go and they are emission free, and they're carbon negative, or minimum operational is carbon neutral, we literally do not have any competitor because we offer different service.Craig EasonSo what kind of influence do you think you're having on the maritime sector?Danielle DoggettI'm not sure sometimes it feels a little bit removed here in their jungle shipyard in Costa Rica, and I don't always get to get out and really see what's going on. But just last week, actually returned from a sort of reconnaissance mission to the Bahamas to Grand Bahama and to New Providence, which is where Nassau is, and it seems like people are catching on, basically that this isn't simply greenwashing gimmick fad, this is long term financial stability. And this is resilience. And we see this with the Ever Given. And we see this with the COVID pandemic, and we see this with the fluctuating oil prices, and because of COVID, the lack of access to oil, shipping grinding to a halt. The resilience factors is in our faces. And people literally can't get the things they want to order on Amazon and this frustrates people. So it's in their face. Now.Craig EasonYou said that the this is a sort of a $4 million project, and you started off with barely, I don't know, just a few, a few $1,000 in your back pocket almost. How have you managed to get those funds in? And what sort of business do you see this becoming? Because I see on your website, you're still looking for funding to be astakeholder or a shareholder in Sailcargo? That is still part of your plan? Because obviously that's the business model. How are you managing with that process? Because at first glance, people might think, 'Oh, I'm investing in a charity wonderful', but you're not,you're a business. They're they're making a financial investment, effectively, aren't they? So what would I if I invest in Sailcargo? What do I get out of it?Danielle DoggettSo right now, our only investment opportunity is to invest directly in CEIBA, the ship, which is represented by a company called Inverssiones Maritimes Ceiba, and that's the entity that just represent that ship, and you would own a part of that ship and the returns would come from the operation of that vessel. And you can actually email me right now, if you'd like at info at sailcargo.org.and I'll send you a info pack on all the return on investment projections, we present a 25-year plan. But really, it's a very long term investment as well, and so the operation of this ship should was proper maintenance be up to 100 years. And if you if you look at a container vessel that's up there right now, the average age is 10.5 years. And so there are some really interesting details about our business plan that they really tend to convince people. What we will be doing soon, very, very soon, is opening up to receive investment with the umbrella company called Sailcargo Inc. and that's going to signify the shift that we're making, from only doing smaller wooden vessels and potentially scaling up into a pretty competitive, large commercial sector. Basically, just keep your eye on us and watch for these investment opportunities, but they're going to be popping up.Craig EasonThat’s Danielle Doggett from Sail Cargo on the future plans for CEIBA, a CEIBA twin and her ideas on sustainable steel hulled ships in the future. And I hope to talk to Danielle again later in the year to hear how her plans have developed.