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SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses

Both organisations will focus on establishing a sustainable ammonia supply chain and addressing bunkering, transportation, and storage challenges, amongst others.

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SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses

Singapore-headquartered marine engineering firm Seatrium and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) on Tuesday (16 April) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore research opportunities in new energies and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop innovative products and engineering solutions for the Offshore and Marine (O&M) Sector. 

The MoU signing took place during the Singapore Maritime Week and was witnessed by the event’s Guest of Honour, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

The collaboration combines Seatrium’s insights into trends and opportunities within the O&M sector with the research capabilities of A*STAR and its National Platforms such as the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS). The parties aim to boost the O&M sector’s pivot to new energies efficiently and reliably, and support the global transition to a low-carbon economy. Through machine learning, manufacturing process technologies and digital solutions, the collaboration will also streamline product development and manufacturing processes, and promote innovation and sustainability in Seatrium’s operations.

The focus areas of the MoU include the co-development of:

New Energies

This includes the exploration of new energies such as hydrogen and ammonia solutions, specifically tailored for offshore and marine applications. A*STAR and Seatrium were part of Singapore’s first ammonia fuel trial on the Fortescue Green Pioneer. 

A*STAR contributed to the development of an ammonia plume model for safety and environmental impact assessment, while Seatrium was responsible for the installation of the vessel’s fuel system and safety features.

Both organisations will now focus on establishing a sustainable ammonia supply chain and addressing bunkering, transportation, and storage challenges. Coupled with carbon capture technologies, Seatrium's suite of product solutions aims to provide sustainable energy solutions for the offshore and marine sector.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The partnership leverages AI to explore innovative solutions in engineering processes, operational efficiency, and decision-making across project lifecycles. 

This includes the planned development of Large Language Models (LLMs) to improve vessel design and validation turnaround by automating and streamlining parts of the process. AI will be used to automate work site inspection and surveillance for improved operational efficiency.

Since 2008, Seatrium’s predecessor entities and A*STAR have worked on research projects such as green shipping, digital design, automation, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced manufacturing. 

The outcomes have culminated in the development of new capabilities, including co-designing the world’s first made-in-Singapore Low Ultraviolet (LUV) Ballast Water Treatment System. 

This eco-friendly system employs energy-efficient ultra-violet rays and proprietary ultra-low frequency bio-fouling control for chemical-free treatment of ballast water.

Mr Chris Ong, CEO of Seatrium, said: “The collaborative efforts between Seatrium and A*STAR are geared towards accelerating the energy transition and maritime decarbonisation.”

“By combining our knowledge and pushing boundaries, we aim to develop advanced energy solutions that will help the industry adopt renewable sources more quickly.”

“Through innovation, research, and sustainable practices, we are focused on minimising carbon emissions, improving operational efficiency, and promoting cleaner energy.”

“We are committed to making a positive impact and playing a vital role in Singapore's sustainable O&M sector with the support of our partners, stakeholders, and customers.”

Mr Frederick Chew, CEO of A*STAR, said: “Building on our previous successful collaboration programmes in green shipping, digital design and advanced manufacturing, this latest collaboration in new energies and AI furthers Seatrium and A*STAR’s shared vision of developing more smart and sustainable solutions for the O&M sector.”

“I look forward to programme outcomes that will contribute substantively to Seatrium’s and Singapore’s economic and sustainability goals.”

Related: Fortescue successfully conducts world’s first ammonia bunker fuel trial in Singapore
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects

 

Photo credit: Seatrium and A*STAR
Published: 17 April 2024

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Methanol

Consortium inks MoU for facility in Egypt to produce green methanol bunker fuel

AD Ports Group, Transmar and Orascom Construction will develop a green methanol storage and export facility, which will provide bunkering solutions for mainliners who have ordered green methanol powered vessels.

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Consortium inks MoU for facility in Egypt to produce green methanol bunker fuel

AD Ports Group, a facilitator of global trade, logistics and industry on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with container shipping line and terminal operator Transmar and global engineering and construction contractor Orascom Construction for the development of a green methanol storage and export facility. 

AD Ports Group said the facility will aim to supply low-carbon fuel for maritime transport, presenting an opportunity to establish clean alternative energy storage solutions globally.

Green methanol is a synthetic fuel produced renewably and without polluting emissions, and can be produced from green hydrogen. This chemical compound can be used as a low-carbon liquid fuel and is a promising alternative to fossil fuels in areas where decarbonisation is a major challenge.  

Aside from the maritime industry, green methanol can help decarbonise other hard-to-abate industries, including chemical and plastics. 

“The addition of a facility in this area will provide bunkering solutions for those mainliners who have ordered green methanol powered vessels and is aligned with AD Ports Group’s overall decarbonisation strategy and expansion into clean energy liquid bulk storage,” the Group added.

Captain Ammar Mubarak Al Shaiba, CEO – Maritime & Shipping Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: "By signing this MoU with Orascom Construction who have vast international experience in bulk liquid terminals for Methanol storage, and Transmar, who have decades of expertise in this region and within terminal operations, AD Ports Group and its subsidiaries are taking a significant step towards the sustainable future of energy.”

“This initiative not only aligns with the UAE's decarbonisation goals but also accelerates the energy transition in shipping, positioning us at the forefront of the green hydrogen revolution and enabling us to contribute to global environmental stewardship and economic diversification."

 

Photo credit: AD Ports Group
Published: 29 May 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Japanese firms and Drax ink MoU to construct world’s first biomass-fuelled ship

NYK, NBP, Tsuneishi Shipbuilding and Drax Group will initially conduct research to develop the new shipping technology, an on-board biomass fuel plant, which would be required to power a bioship.

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Japanese firms including NYK to construct world’s first biomass-fuelled ship

Japanese companies, NYK Line (NYK), NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers (NBP), TSUNEISHI SHIPBUILDING Co., Ltd. (TSUNEISHI SHIPBUILDING) and British renewable energy business, Drax Group (Drax), on Tuesday (14 May) said they have signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop both the world’s first biomass-fuelled ship and the technology that could power it.

The firms said biomass is playing a growing role in Japan’s transition from fossil fuel power generation to low carbon and renewable electricity, and the country’s demand for biomass pellets, sourced primarily from North America and composed of sawmill and forestry residues, is increasing.

Drax produces biomass pellets in both the US South and Canada. The company has a longstanding relationship with NBP which transports its pellets to Japan.

These pellets are currently shipped through smaller handysize bulkers, which, due to the limited size of their fuel tanks, have proved challenging to switch to lower emission fuels, such as ammonia.

Through the MoU, which was signed at the British Embassy in Tokyo, the companies will initially conduct research to develop the new shipping technology, an on-board biomass fuel plant, which would be required to power a bioship. The four companies are exploring how other renewable technologies could be used to reduce both the emissions and fuel costs of shipping biomass.

The biomass fuel plant would use a gasifier to combust biomass at high temperatures and create and contain gases including carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and methane. These gases would then be used to power a generator which could propel the bioship and also provide a proportion of its internal power.

The installation of a biomass fuel plant could see a 22% reduction in well-to-wake carbon emissions in bioships when compared to using fossil fuels. If this development is successful, the companies will jointly study the possibility of building a bioship by the end of 2029.

 

Photo credit: NYK
Published: 15 May 2024

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Ammonia

Hexagon Energy and Oceania ink MoU on low-emissions ammonia bunkering in Pilbara region

Under the MoU, Hexagon and Oceania will work together in demonstrating feasibility of supply of low-emissions ammonia as a bunker fuel for iron ore bulk carriers via ship-to-ship transfer.

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Hexagon Energy and Oceania ink MoU on low-emissions ammonia bunkering in Pilbara region

Hexagon Energy Materials Limited (Hexagon) on Monday (13 May) announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oceania Marine Energy Pty Ltd (Oceania) regarding the potential development of a low-emissions ammonia bunkering business at Dampier, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

While the primary market for the WAH2 Project’s low-emissions ammonia remains substitution of coal in thermal power generation in Japan and South Korea, ammonia bunkering has the potential to be a valuable, additional, domestic market. 

“This would involve the supply of low-emissions ammonia as a fuel for the bulk carriers that ship iron ore exports from Australian producers to customers across Asia,” Hexagon said in an announcement on the Australian Securities Exchange. 

“This collaboration has the potential to create a new Australian business that uses locally-produced low-emissions ammonia to help decarbonise Australia’s iron ore exports.”

Under the MoU, Hexagon and Oceania have committed to work together with the intention of:

  • Demonstrating the feasibility of the supply of low-emissions ammonia as a bunker fuel for iron ore bulk carriers via ship-to-ship transfer;
  • Confirming demand for ammonia bunkering and potential commercial terms;
  • Defining an appropriate development plan; and
  • Engaging with government and other stakeholders.

Hexagon and Oceania will jointly engage with stakeholders (including ship owners, fuel traders, iron ore producers, port authorities and government) to complete their market assessment, develop an appropriate business model and development plan and pursue preliminary offtake agreements for low-emissions ammonia as a bunker fuel. It is envisaged that this work will be completed in Q4 2024.

The MOU has a two-year term to allow for subsequent collaboration past the anticipated final investment decision for Hexagon’s WAH2 Project.

Hexagon’s target remains WAH2 front end engineering design (FEED) entry in mid-2024 following completion of planned technical work and finalisation of conditional commercial agreements for key aspects of the project (noting that a bunkering offtake agreement is not considered a pre-requisite for FEED entry, rather an opportunity to add incremental value during FEED). Confidential negotiations continue and Hexagon intends to have the key agreements in place to support the start of FEED in Q3 2024.

Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hall, said: “This Memorandum of Understanding with Oceania Marine Energy represents another significant step for Hexagon’s WAH2 low-emissions ammonia project.

It offers the opportunity to establish a new bunkering industry in Western Australia that could play a leading role in decarbonising Australia’s iron ore exports for the benefit of Australia and its trading partners in Asia. This opportunity offers market diversity, requires no additional capital expenditure and is complementary to Hexagon’s primary objective of exporting low-emissions ammonia from WAH2 to help decarbonise power generation in Asia.”

“I look forward to making further announcements as Hexagon continues to progress confidential negotiations with key input providers, potential off-takers and strategic partners.”

 

Photo credit: Hexagon Energy
Published: 14 May, 2024

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