Blog Action Day – Maritime Shipping and Climate Change

Mike Schuler
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October 15, 2009


For those of you that try to keep up with events in the blogosphere, you may know that today is Blog Action Day 2009.  For those of you that don’t, Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that “unites the world’s blogger” by encouraging them to post about the same issue on the same day.  The website says that this years event will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web, currently with 8,886 registered blogs and 12,509,322 readers from 148 Countries.  So what is this years issue you ask? Climate Change.

Without a doubt, the maritime shipping industry has seen the effects of climate change.  Just recently, Beluga Group announced that two of its multipurpose heavy lift project carriers successfully transited the Northeast Passage – a journey that in years past has not been possible.

But not only has the maritime shipping industry seen the effects of climate change first hand, but more and more stress is being put on the shipping industry to decrease its carbon emissions and its harmful affects on the global environment.  While some companies simply aim to abide by laws governing ship emissions, a few are coming up with radical ideas to reduce the impact.  Here is a look at some those ideas currently in operation that are at the forefront of an industry under fire.

High Temperature Fuel Cell For Greener Power Supply
September 2009 saw the initial operation of the first high temperature fuel cell on board of a ship.  The electrochemical process seen in fuel cells mainly generates water and heat resulting in an estimated total reduction of 4,755 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 33 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), as well as 180 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) per year.

Participants in this project include MTU Onsite Energy, as well as a number of internationally renowned companies like Wärtsilä Ship Design Norway, Wärtsilä Automation Norway and Eidesvik Offshore ASA. READ MORE

Solar Powered Cargo Ship
Completed in 2008, the Toyota operated M/V Auriga Leader is the worlds first cargo ship to be partially propelled by solar power.  The 650-foot car carrier is capable of generating 10% of the energy used while the ship is docked through it’s 328 solar panels.

The system is expected to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1-2 percent, or about 20 tons per year. Read more HERE and HERE

Plug In Power
In 2009, the BP Terminal at the Port of Long Beach became the world’s first oil tanker terminal equipped with shore “plug in” plower to eliminate air emissions from docked vessels.  The 941-foot Alaskan Navigator is specially equipped to plug in while at berth and draw power for its pumps, communications, ventilation, lighting and other needs from Southern California Edison, instead of its own diesel engines.  In a year, shore power will eliminate more than 30 tons of pollution. Read more HERE

January 2008 saw the maiden voyage of the M/V Beluga Skysails, a multipurpose vessel equipped with the revolutionary Skysails system – a 1,700 square foot kite launched between 300 and 600 feet above the deck to harness wind energy as a way supplement propulsion.  So far, the design has preduced an average fuel savings of 10-15% with an estimated goal of 24% sometime in the near future.

A total 1,500 Skysail systems are expected to be produced by 2015.  Read more HERE and HERE.

For those of you are more interested to see what bloggers have to say about the issue of Climate Change, check out the Blog Action Day website HERE.

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