Renewable Energy Project

By Keith Henderson at October 16, 2010 17:03
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Lloyd's Register is collaborating on a project to create a fleet of commercial coasters powered by a combination of sails and marine engine using biogas as a fuel. The project was instigated by B9 Shipping, based in Northern Ireland. part of the B9 Energy Group. which operates and maintains 45 wind farms on the British Isles as well as developing tidal projects and biogas production.

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels by replacing it with biomass is achievable, given the surplus material of the Nordic countries, however transporting it to where it is to be used, in this case the UK, also needs to be as environmentally friendly as possible to achieve the desired result.

Estimates by the International Energy Agency (IEA) show that UK biomass power generators may need up to 45 million tonnes of biomass per year. B9 shipping wants to harness this renewable-energy program by building as many as 50 vessels to carry upward of 30 million tonnes a year of wood chips, wood pellets and biocoal pellets from mainly Scandinavia by 2020.
The 3,000 dwt coastal vessels envisaged for this project are equipped with sails that are estimated to provide about 60 per cent of propulsion needs with the balance coming from Bergen spark ignition biogas powered engine(s) when sail power is not available.

B9 Shipping has two very good reasons to believe that now is the right time to press forward with this project. Firstly, given the UK government’s targets on renewable energy as a European Union (EU) member, it is committed to secure 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 compared to the present figure of only 3 per cent. Secondly, for transport, the European Commission (EC)’s Renewable Energy Directive says 10% of fuel should be from renewable sources, mainly biofuels, by 2020: the present figure is only approximately 2.5 per cent.

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