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Building a Zero-Emissions Cargo Ship!

 
Posts: 16
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Hi Permies!

I recently found out that if you compare the pollution produced by shipping and aviation to all the countries in the world, it would be the 9th biggest polluter in the world! I find that crazy.
Some of those huge cargo ships capable of carrying thousands of shipping containers can burn hundred of tons of what they call "bunker fuel" per day.

So someone from that industry with an environental conscience decided to do something about it.

Lynx Guimond decided to establish a shipyard in Costa Rica, assembling a team of international specialists to help him with his mission - to build CEIBA, a zero-emissions cargo ship.

I personally was so inspired by this project, I HAD to do a podcast on it. I went to his shipyard, which is also a permaculture homestead, food forest, and integral part of building resilience in the local community.

If you'd like to check out the episode, you can listen to or download it at: https://sharinginsights.net/podcast/lynx-gamond-sailcargo/
Or you can find the Sharing Insights Podcast on whatever player you prefer to use.

I'll also attach a PDF of a couple highlights on the propulsion system, that will eventually use technology that is literally intended to launch rockets into space.

I'd love to hear some Permies opinions on this. Do you think this is viable/practical?
What are your ideas on sustainable shipping/transportation?
What do you think are the best solutions?

Filename: Lynx-Guimond-PDF.pdf
File size: 225 Kbytes
 
Rocket Scientist
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Hi Jason;
Very Cool project!
I have to wonder about size.   Those container ships are huge and hold a phenomenal amount of cargo.
They use quite a bit of dirty bunker fuel just to get them moving.
Can these Zero E  ships hold a large number of containers?
This sounds like a great project.   Would be so cool to see sailing ships of size again.
Thanks for sharing!
 
pollinator
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Hey Jason.

I have been watching this shipyard ever since I heard about their wooden sailing cargo ship aspirations. I feel what is exceptional about what they are attempting is not only a return to renewable-powered propulsion and wood construction, but the whole supporting ecosystem for the shipyard. I don't think I saw it on my most recent read of their website, so I probably missed it, but there was a local housing and sustainable food operation working to support the workers.

So they're taking care of social and environmental concerns, two aspects of business most often externalised so companies can make profit.

Nine 20 ft. cargo containers doesn't sound like much of a muchness, though, does it? I see cargo freighters on the Great Lakes with higher capacities.

I am hoping the initial offering is more of a proof-of concept. I would expect cargo ships to be carrying four times or more cargo to be profitable.

Also, I am buoyed by the idea that they want to try out photovoltaic sails. I don't know if it would work, and honestly, it may be too much function stacking. Perhaps those solar-tracking solar installations that look like a cross between a fan and a flower could be designed to collapse flat atop the masts, deploying at need. Of course, you'd need a stabilizing gyro for that kind of solar tracking, but you'd end up with better solar, and not having to compromise with sails.

I think their idea will work very well, with a few tweaks. Mainly, they're building cargo ships for the ocean when they should be building cargo ships for the skies.

I want to see a modern wooden airship, helium-encased hydrogen lift, cryogenic hydrogen powertrain including magnetic energy storage, and an electric main drive consisting of a giant funnel at the front with a electromagnetic tip-driven fan/impeller and stator fins compressing air to essentially an atmospheric con/di nozzle, whose outflow you could vector.

An envelope whose greater shape you could reconfigure for aerodynamic effects (lift, drag, minimal wind profile) would facilitate ground manoeuvring sans crew or landing infrastructure, and all that surface area would be perfect for flexible solar panels.

Rather than 250 tonnes on the water, I suggest a minimum of 1000 tonnes airborne. Flying as-the-crow-flies at 120 knots would beat the pants off all heavy freight, price and time wise, especially where it comes to making last-minute logistic changes.

And in addition to having vastly greater capacities, it would also be zero-emissions.

-CK
 
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thomas rubino wrote:I have to wonder about size.   Those container ships are huge and hold a phenomenal amount of cargo.
They use quite a bit of dirty bunker fuel just to get them moving.
Can these Zero E  ships hold a large number of containers?
This sounds like a great project.   Would be so cool to see sailing ships of size again.
Thanks for sharing!



I believe it was around 9 containers for the design that's being constructed currently and the next one. that's bigger than any wind-powered freighter currently sailing. A steel hull sail freighter is also being designed by another group that will carry twice as much cargo. The largest sail-powered freighter to date--Preussen--carried 8,000 long tons, which is over 30 times as much as Ceiba. Preussen also had a steel hull. those are big numbers but still dwarfed by modern cargo ships.

to move a meaningful faction of global trade with wooden sailing ships in a reasonable amount of time would probably require deforesting the planet several times over. Sailcargo's model is really exciting, and I would probably get involved financially if I had a bit more disposable income (I believe US$5000 is the minimum investment), but it has to stay relatively small to remain sustainable.

steel hulls can be a lot larger than wood hulls. and if the steel is sourced from decommissioned conventional freighters, the environmental impact would be manageable.

I think that if global trade has any long-term future, there will be both wooden and steel sailboats involved. the total volume of trade will also likely shrink dramatically.
 
Jason Bliss
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Hi Thomas,
This particular prototype isn't as massive as many modern-day cargoships.  It's a first step in the transition process.  Neither is it tiny.  Lynx talks about the dirty bunker fuel in the audio interview.  It's something I wasn't aware of before this interview.  If you want to check out the scope of the project, make sure to visit the YouTube video that we did, touring the shipyard. https://youtu.be/F-bRehxdU5U
 
Jason Bliss
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Hey Chris,
Awesome reflections.  You're one heck of a visionary!  
Yes, this is a proof-of-concept mission.  The aim is to experiment with various technologies that do, effectively, create over-redundancy for this mid-size ship. It's essentially meant to be an experimentation station to test technologies that'll be made applicable to larger vessels.  I like your thoughts on solar options.  It might be worth reaching out to Lynx to share your ideas.  
 
Jason Bliss
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Tel,
I definitely like your projection for reducing our volume of trade.  Thanks for chiming in!
 
Chris Kott
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As to the deforestation concerns, I tend to agree. I think that taking Alberta tar sands and manufacturing carbon nanotube structural trusses and panelling for the aerospace and aeronautical industries would be the single best way to make all that material, and the best way to sequester that carbon short of leaving it where it is.

I still think airships are the best move, and I would love to see one with an 8000 tonne capacity or larger, but one thing at a time.

I know zero-emissions wind- and solar-powered cargo ships would automatically deafen less aquatic life, but there would still be collisions with them, and a quieter electric engine isn't silent, after all.

But to take from the company's truly revolutionary work, I feel that the whole system needs to be integrated and to take great steps to shore up social and environmental frailties in the process, whatever the specific industry or goal. If you're growing artificial islands through electrochemical deposition of sea water minerals, everyone should still be fed and sheltered and payed as much as the system will bear, past sufficiency, bordering on lavishness. Employees should feel so taken-care-of by their employer, and that their communities' long-term interests are held so highly, that there are waiting lists to be employed there, and regular subdivisions and growth of subsidiary operations.

In another vein, I would like to see work on bamboo building products designed to be used for shipbuilding, naval and aerial, as well as biopolymers derived from annuals or perennials that produce significant aboveground biomass each year, such as sunflowers or hemp. Engineered beams would also significantly increase strength and rigidity and reduce weight, increase how much of the wood their operations produce can actually be used in building, and be a further selling point with regards to environmentally driven clients.

Also, I appreciate a mostly-wood build as much as the next purist, and hell, make one using Japanese joinery techniques and engineers and designers will shit themselves.

But honestly, we're talking about metal containers. The capacity of wooden construction could be vastly improved by the judicious use of metal hardware and corner/edge reinforcement, especially where container stowage, storage, and extraction are involved, and the amount of metal involved would be miniscule as compared to recycling old cargo ships to make one new one exclusively out of salvaged metal.

-CK
 
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Love what Danelle and Lynx are doing.

I'm a Founding Investor and waiting to get on the project myself. I will have a sail when she is complete.

Ceiba already has a full manifest and they are going to build a second ship that has been fully manifested for many years.

Main Cargo will be Organic Coffee, for the biggest Coffee importer in Canada.

The solar sails and electric engines will be good and greatly reduce shipping costs. Food for the crew will be the next highest cost.
They will have a base crew and many others will be paying Adventurists. This will pay for the Crew and more, profits for Sail Cargo.

Yet they are now talking about having different companies, So looks like some will miss out, like the Founding Investors ??

They need to paint the Ship with Graphene paint. This will reduce friction and fast sailing times. It has been reported that it can reduce fuel consumption by up to 30%.  All Ships hulls need to be painted with Graphene.

They also need to be using Graphene Supercapacitors for battery storage.

I vision in time the water that passes on the ships hull will create energy via the Graphene paint, and this will drive the ship ;)

Trees we cut, and they grow back in 50 years or so. The steel, we mine and make holes in the ground and it's never the same environment.

Now, if we Stop burning Oil and started building with it. Then we can have Graphene Supercomposits, which are stronger than steel, last longer, cheaper to produce. These can be future shipbuilding materials.

Another project that I'm with is, Ocean Builders. https://oceanbuilders.com/ Hope to be in Panama before Winter hits.

We started the Roll-A-Garden concept and design last year. Now we want to build it. High Yield Rotary Hydroponics Garden
https://wiki.oceanbuilders.com/books/high-yield-rotary-hydroponics-garden

Also looking at Algae and BioPlastics
https://wiki.oceanbuilders.com/books/algae-and-bioplastics



and a few more projects along the way. :)

There are many Wonderful and Passionate Creators in our world. I support those that are doing Great things for God's Children's, and Mother Earth. <3  









 
pollinator
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There is a lot of low hanging fruit in shipping when it comes to fuel efficiency. I'm not convinced though that attempting to replace the existing system is going to be viable. There is so much infrastructure already in place globally that would simply be incompatible with the system described.

Where I do think there will be great value is in retrofitting kite-sails to existing fleets. These massive sails can be fitted to existing hulls without massive redesign and, while they don't replace fossil fuels completely, they give a considerable boost to fuel efficiency. They could be rolled out on a massive scale relatively easily, if the right financial incentives were in place for the ship owners.

Kite-sails

 
Jason Bliss
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Wow, Michael,
The kite-sails are an impressive innovation. Such a simple way to reduce fuel costs!
 
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If you want a real eye opener, I was shocked when I realized every green dot on the map below was an individual cargo ship. I suspected that some dots were the history of a single ship but no, each is an individual transponder number.

Commercial ship location live map. Last known location by transponder number. Ships close to shore show more information, sometimes even a file photo of the ship. Once further out to sea transponder info is just ship type and location unless you pay a fee to see more information. Especially around China the more you zoom in the more ships appear because you can't make the dots small enough to see them all on the big map.

Green is cargo ships, Red are oil tankers, Orange are fishing vessels.

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-68.9/centery:30.0/zoom:2
 
Chris Kott
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Michael, I love the kite-sail concept. I think that we'll probably see tech involved in fly-by-wire kite control, just so that it will be possible to automate a kite swarm and have a single mast cable. I think it would basically be control surface control, like flaps and vents, or even torsion control, where the whole kite body flexes to change the nature of the control surface and flight characteristics.

Craig, I am intrigued by graphene paint and its applications, especially the energy harvesting potential. I feel that there is a lot of materials science and engineering to go into figuring out how to best manufacture some of these advanced materials, and that once they have been developed, along with scalable techniques for industrial production, they might offer terrific strength-to-weight and elasticity properties, as well as those of conductivity. But these are still experimental. I will be very excited to see these materials employed in real-life applications, but I don't know how soon that might be.

I don't think they need to be using any particular technology, as there are many solutions. Graphene supercapacitors, for instance, sound terrific, but superconducting magnetic energy storage has the lowest conversion losses of any energy storage, so I think perhaps I would like to see graphene put to use in that sphere.

As existing technology requires cryogenic temperatures to remain superconducting, and copper is far cheaper than graphene or any other superconductor, I feel that a copper-based powertrain including a superconducting magnetic energy storage device would make the most sense as a huge first step. Airbus is experimenting with what they call their ASCEND platform (standing for Advanced Superconducting & Cryogenic Experimental powertrain Demonstrator). They arrived at it via hydrogen fuel cell technology, but I feel it has merit all on its own, even if the hydrogen is just an advanced coolant system (copper is only a superconductor at cryogenic temperatures).

All the technology exists to power and operate large vehicles, even entire stationary systems, like this. It's conceivable that something the size of a cruise ship or aircraft carrier could operate primarily on solar power, were all that surface area covered in durable solar sheeting, if the systems were made super energy-efficient as they would be with such a system.

Likewise, a hyperloop system, or more likely, a properly sized train made to operate within the context of a continental hyperloop-style system, could be entirely solar and wind-powered, with any number of wind power generation devices or solar panelling, or combinations thereof, installed on the tube superstructures.

But I get off topic.

One of the things I definitely love about Ceiba and the company's approach is the use of appropriate technology. I feel, though, that experimentations in shipbuilding using sustainably grown bamboo with recycled steel reinforcement will yield the largest and most cost-effective structures. Honestly, I love the idea of traditional wooden masted vessels as much as anyone who's lost themselves in the Master and Commander series, but I don't feel that traditional masted sailing ship architecture is necessarily the best direction for cargo shipping.

Imagine instead an ocean-going freighter, as you'd see loaded down with cargo containers. I would look to container ships, building no larger than the Panamax-class size (the largest the Panama Canal will accomodate), so less than 965' long, less than 106' beam, and with a draft of no more than 39.5'. That class of ship can accomodate 3001-5100 20' cargo containers (the unit of measurement for cargo space in container ships and ports is TEU, or twenty-foot equivalent units).

Now try to envision it, for a moment, constructed of bamboo sheeting made of layers of interlocked split cane (where the split cane edges are secured in the concavities) and a steel keel and framing with round bamboo reinforcement, and cargo container storage racking system, all constructed from recycled hulks. The powertrain would be modelled after Airbus' ASCEND platform, but instead of a hydrogen fuel cell, it would use a copper-based cryogenic hydrogen power- and drivetrain with a superconducting magnetic energy storage device or array.

I want to say that we'd be able to replace giant bladed rotors in the water with a really neat magnetohydrodynamic drive system, but I would settle for something impeller-based, that minimized damage to marine life, including sonic damage. I suspect that being deafened in the water might have something to do with marine life becoming disoriented and beaching themselves.

And to that we'd add kite-sails, except as imagined above, there'd probably be some amount of fly-by-wire control, such that the number of kite-sails on a single tether could be maximized. Also, I could see it as an advantage if there were two tether masts, fore and aft, such that emergency manoeuvres, such as rapidly orienting the bow of the ship into oncoming waves in a storm, could easily be accomplished. Being able to feather the kite sails so as to be able to keep them aloft as control measures without having them pose a hazard could prove invaluable.

If the magnetic energy storage could be charged at port from zero-emission renewable sources, there would be less demand for onboard production. Nevertheless, I envision sections of deployable solar panels inspired by NASA's ROSAs (roll-out solar arrays) and looking something like the rolls of material that are deployed on dump trucks at highway speeds to keep wind from spreading debris all over the roadway. They would deploy overtop of the containers that would stack on deck, retracting in foul weather, and recharging energy storage in fair.

This should not in any way diminish the accomplishments of the Ceiba and the people building her. But in my honest opinion, she's very much a test and tourism platform, with a strong eco-tourism angle. I feel that my zero-emissions bamboo and steel solar-electric and wind-powered container ship concept, capable of carrying between 333 and 566 times the volume of cargo (though likely on the lower end, to be sure) represents its scaling potential in the direction of cargo. I imagine you could take a similar approach for a cruise ship, or a giant yacht. I consider the latter two options a little vain, personally, but these are things that also exist, and if everything started going that way, we'd have only extractive industrial fishing processes to worry about. And sea-based petroleum and mining operations. And rivers carrying untreated urban sewage out to sea, along with agricultural and industrial runoff...

Yeah, we have a ways to go.

-CK
 
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