December 17, 2009
B9 plans to build sailing coasters in U.S.
B9 Shipping is developing fossil fuel free 3000 dwt, commercially competitive--in price and performance-- motor sailing coasters, to service coastal markets around the world and to assist small island developing economies adapt and mitigate against climate change. The ships are powered by a combination of proven technologies--conventional soft sails and biogas marine engines
Larne, Northern Ireland, based B9 is also in contact with a company in one quite developed small island, Manhattan, about the possibility of building a series of the ships in the U.S.
Managing Director David Surplus tells us that the main market for the ships is transportation of biomass, wood chips and pellets, from the Baltic Sea area to England.
"We are also interested in the future biomass feeder trade on the east coast of U.S.A .and Canada from sawmills etc. to transatlantic loading ports," he says. "Twenty to thirty million tons per annum of wood could be moved from the U.S. to the U.K. and the U.S.A.'s own biomass power station build program could open new trades for B9 ships too."
"Sixty percent of the ship's thrust will come from sails and 40% from engines fueled with biogas derived from the anaerobic digestion of food waste," he continues. "To store sufficient fuel onboard we will be liquefying the methane component of the biogas. This then means that we can specify Rolls Royce spark ignition engines designed for LNG with no need for any technical modifications. We can also refuel with LNG in the event of short supply of biogas--but we hope this will be avoided by contracting with our sister company B9 Organic Energy to carefully develop strategically located anaerobic dgestion plants near our operational ports."
"This has already been kicked off and we are in discussions with a company from Manhattan about tapping into some of the organic waste streams from the NYC area. It is our intention that any ships deployed on the U.S .coast would be built on the U.S. coast. To that end we are currently preparing a supply chain definition and manufacturing plan for discussion with a U.S. shipbuilder that we have already identified as having the lean manufacturing capabilities we are looking for and the capacity to move to mass production. Your readers may also be interested to know that we are working on a products tanker / chemical tanker version of the B9 ship for transportation of liquid biofuels such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel."
B9 Shipping is part of the B9 Energy Group, founded by David and Norman Surplus in 1992 It manages, operates and maintains 45 wind farms comprising 650 turbines at sites across the U.K and Ireland. It is also developing tidal projects with Statkraft and producing biogas with B9 Organic Energy. This biogas powers the B9 Ship engine.
David Surplus is a former Lloyd's Register surveyor, who says that more than 20 years ago he was surveying North Sea oil rigs and was stuck out at sea for prolonged periods. "I was beginning to feel uncertain about the sustainability of fossil fuels and so in my time off, there being few other distractions, I began to research renewable technologies and climate change. It became abundantly clear to me that immediate action had to be taken to avert a global disaster that would make WW2 look like a tea party. Innovative, engineering solutions are essential to de-carbonize the industrial economy."
His response was to set up B9.
"B9 has foreseen the low carbon future and is helping to make it happen," he says. "We are embarking on a similar journey now in the shipping sector."