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New York firm showcases project to convert ocean plastic waste into hydrogen fuel – Splash247

New York-based H2-Industries and German naval architects TECHNOLOG Services have joined forces to develop 3D designs for a concept ship that will collect plastic waste that currently blights the world’s oceans and then converts it into clean hydrogen, allowing surplus hydrogen to be shipped back to shore.

Plastic pollution in oceans and other bodies of water continues to grow sharply and could more than double by 2030, according to an assessment by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Plastic debris is currently the most abundant type of litter in the ocean, making up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at least 14m tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year.

The plan is for the concept ship to travel at four knots with the waste plastic collected by two smaller vessels towing a 3 km net that funnels the waste from the surface and up to 10 m below it. The most novel feature of the vessel will be the open bow design that allows the collected plastic waste to be fed onto conveyors and into the storage hold.

This waste will be converted into hydrogen by the same thermolysis process that the H2-Industries’ plants will be using on shore. For every 600 kg of waste collected, approximately 100 kg of hydrogen can be produced and, then, stored in a liquid organic hydrogen carrier, a fluid generally referred to as LOHC, which is a special liquid that can carry hydrogen, in 20-foot containers. These containers will be transferred to smaller vessels by onboard cranes for delivery to shore.

The ship will be designed to run on electric motors using the LOHC produced, on board, as its fuel and creating electricity using H2-Industries’ 19 inch eRelease racks. Each rack will hold 48 KW of installed power and there will be multiple racks to deliver the approximately two MW that a ship of this size will require. This is the same technology H2-Industries has developed and which it intends to deploy in other ships around the world. H2-Industries has received preliminary approval to build its first LOHC hub in East Port Said in Egypt and is currently in discussions with more than 20 countries and, as well, with several ports worldwide.

Michael Stusch, CEO of H2-Industries says: “It is becoming increasingly clear that the shipping industry can make a positive impact on reducing global emissions. At H2-Industries, the plan is to help decarbonise industry and power generation, while cleaning up our water resources and converting pollutants into an energy source. To achieve this, we are looking for investors. Once the investment is in place, we expect each ship will be built within roughly 24 months.”

There’s plenty of other plastic waste initiatives being carried out by the shipping industry at the moment. Japan’s largest shipping line, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), detailed last November how the microplastics fished out of the sea via a special device on one of its woodchip carriers have been converted into energy products not dissimilar to wood pellets.

Maersk vessels, meanwhile, have been instrumental in the ongoing work of The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organisation that develops and scales technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic and has been working with the Danish line to attack the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

In February this year Finnish technology group Wärtsilä and Italian shipowner Grimaldi Group, unveiled a system that uses exhaust gas scrubber washwater to tackle the amount of microplastics in the world’s oceans. Grimaldi has developed and patented a system that filters out microplastics from open loop scrubber washwater. Wärtsilä, in partnership with the Neapolitan group, will take the microplastics filtration system – which traps plastic particles before the washwater is returned to the ocean – to market. The capability to filter microplastics will be an integrated feature of Wärtsilä’s future wash-water treatment system.

Many in shipping have backed Graeme Somerville-Ryan’s Eyesea pollution mapping initiative. The Eyesea app collects and processes oceanic pollution data via the click of a smartphone. The data is used to build detailed maps and charts available free of charge to governments, clean-up groups, researchers, local authorities and a range of other stakeholders, enabling them to take targeted clean-up action and make evidence-based policy decisions.

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