Australian Wave Power Project Set for Deployment

By MarEx 2015-06-29 15:10:23

A new wave power project drawing on a natural undersea design has finished construction and is set to be deployed in Australian waters by the end of the year.

The bioWAVE project will be deployed for a year to determine the commercial viability of the technology. The 26 meter steel structure works by swaying back and forth mostly beneath the surface of the ocean. It takes its unique design from undersea plants and has the capacity to lie flat on the seabed out of harm’s way during bad weather.

One of the main challenges wave power technology faces is a high setup and maintenance cost of systems that must function in harsh marine environments. The bioWAVE system sidesteps this issue by being able to lay flat against the seafloor during rough sea conditions.

The device works by creating an oscillating motion in the water, which activates hydraulic cylinders to spin a generator, with the power transported to the shore via a subsea cable. It uses a new method of energy generation, which efficiently converts wave energy to mechanical energy. From there the energy is converted into electrical energy.

Once the final site for the structure has been prepared, the bioWAVE will be installed off the coast of Victoria in south-east of Australia. Currently, the site is in the last stages of preparation for the arrival of the completed unit, with the onshore electrical equipment in place and divers working on subsea power and data cabling.

The company, BioPower Systems Pty Ltd, has been working on the technology since 2006, taking it through an in-depth research and development phase to full-scale demonstration.

The costs for the bioWave project total $21m, with over half of the funding provided by the Australian government.

The bioWAVE technology is expected to operate for at least 12 months, with testing throughout and an independent performance assessment at the conclusion. This data will inform the design of a larger 1MW commercial-scale bioWAVE unit, planned as the next phase of development for the technology.

BioPower Systems CEO Dr Timothy Finnigan said achieving practical completion of the bioWAVE device is the most important milestone in the history of the development of the technology.

“It has been very satisfying to see it come together and to witness functional testing of the onboard systems,” Dr Finnigan said.

The Australian government anticipates that emerging field of wave technology will provide both employment and manufacturing opportunities in addition to a renewable source of electricity.

Major Strides in Wave Power

Last week another wave energy pioneer, Carnegie Wave Energy Limited, celebrated a major milestone when its CETO 5 units reached 10,000 operational hours. The company said the project represents the longest continuous period of operation any in-ocean wave energy project has ever achieved, anywhere in the world.

In the U.S. Northwest Energy Innovations recently unveiled a new device off the coast of Hawaii, which is being deployed to determine the feasibility of using wave power as an alternative to traditional energy sources. The data is set to be delivered to the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy for their use in ongoing efforts to validate wave energy technology and advance the marine renewable energy industry.

According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) many regions around the world have a high potential for successfully recovering wave power. In particular, the western coasts of Scotland, northern Canada, southern Africa, Australia, and the northwestern coast of the United States, particularly Alaska may prove to be especially worth-while.

Additionally, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that the total recoverable resource along the U.S. shelf continental shelf edge alone is 1,170 TWh/yr, almost one third of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the United States each year.


Cosco Group Inflated Profits by $20m, Audit Finds

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-29 12:31:55

Global shipping leader, Cosco Group, has been found to have falsified profits, according to a 2014 work report released over the weekend by China’s National Audit Office.

The findings show Cosco Group falsified documents related to RMB 298m ($48m) in revenue and RMB 169m ($27.2m) in expenses. Overall, the company is accused of overreporting its net profit by RMB 129m ($20.7m) for the five year period between 2008 and 2013.

The report found severe operational violations in two of the group’s subsidiaries – Cosco Logistics and Cosco Dalian Shipyard- which contributed to massive earning losses. Additionally, the audit cited Cosco Group for lacking risk management and supervision in its ship chartering operations. Around RMB 34.1bn ($5.49 bn) in losses for long-term charter deals were reported from 2009 to 2013.

A total of fourteen state-owned companies were found to have financial irregularities in this latest government probe. Between them they have racked up falsified profits in excess of RMB 19bn ($3bn) over the course of the audit period.

This week’s audit report are part of a massive anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping. The main focus of the initiative has been to isolate improper allocation and management of funds among government funded endeavors. Over the past two years the administration has rounded up around 100,000 officials in connection with corruption.

China’s National Audit Office has asked Cosco Group to release their own report detailing corrections to both revenue and expenses incurred over the audit period, which will then be made public.


Savannah sets cargo record

Container volumes and total tonnage hit all-time records in May at the Port of Savannah.
The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) announced on 29 June that its container business grew 16.4% year-on-year in May to 338,000 teu. Bulk cargo across all terminals grew 60% to reach 256,382 tonnes.

BP, Anadarko Bid to Skirt Penalties Rejected

By Reuters 2015-06-29 11:15:55

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected bids by BP Plc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp to avoid penalties under federal pollution law in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The high court left in place a June 2014 ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the companies were liable for civil penalties under the federal Clean Water Act.

The April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and Macondo oil well rupture killed 11 workers and caused the largest offshore environmental disaster in U.S. history, polluting large parts of the Gulf, killing marine wildlife and harming businesses.

BP could face a maximum penalty of $13.7 billion under the Clean Water Act. Anadarko says it could be required to pay more than $1 billion.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans has not yet imposed penalties, but has ruled that BP was grossly negligent and that 3.19 million barrels of oil were spilled.

Overall, BP has incurred more than $42 billion in costs for the spill, including cleanup, fines and victim compensation.

BP and Anadarko owned a respective 65 percent and 25 percent of the Macondo well.

The companies had argued in part that they should not be responsible for oil spilled as a result of failed equipment on the drilling rig, which was owned by Transocean Ltd.

As co-owners of the well, BP and Anadarko would be on the hook for resulting fines, the appeals court ruled.

Transocean agreed last year to pay the U.S. government $1 billion in civil penalties over the spill.

The cases are BP Exploration and Production Inc. v. U.S. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court, Nos 14-1217 and 14-1167.


Port Everglades Deepening, Widening Project Approved

By MarEx 2015-06-29 10:59:43

South Florida’s Port Everglades received a signed Chief of Engineers Report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday that clears the way for the Port to begin the next phase of deepening and widening its channels.

“After almost two decades of study and research, we are confident that the Corps has developed a plan that keeps Port Everglades competitive globally so that jobs are sustained and created locally,” said Broward County Mayor Tim Ryan. “The plan also uses innovative solutions to address valid environmental concerns that have been raised by environmental stakeholders.”

The project is designed to enable safe passage of deep draft Post-Panamax cargo ships. Port Everglades already handles Post-Panamax ships from Europe and South America, but the ships must be lightly loaded, which is inefficient, especially as older fleets are being replaced with much larger ships and the Panama Canal is being expanded.

Main features of the project are to deepen the main navigational channels from 42 feet to 48 feet (plus 1-foot required and another 1-foot allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet), and to deepen and widen the Entrance Channel and parts of the Intracoastal Waterway so that cargo ships can pass safely by docked cruise ships.

“Port Everglades is a giant economic engine for South Florida. The port must modernize and expand or the new current day cargo ships will pass us by – taking with them thousands of new jobs and over $30 million of economic impact each year,” said U.S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel.

The project study received Congressional authorization in 1996. The signed and approved Chief’s Report now allows Port Everglades to move forward to the Pre-Construction Engineering and Design phase.

A key environmental component of the approved plan includes planting approximately 103,000 new nursery-raised corals in 18 acres of existing reef areas, relocating approximately 11,500 existing corals to create 2 acres of artificial reef, and creating 3 acres of artificial reef habitat for natural recruitment which will replace nearly 15 acres of existing hard-bottom reef habitat.

In addition, the mitigation plan includes restoring seagrasses and mangroves, and building environmentally friendly bulkheads throughout the Southport Access Channel. These attributes have significantly reduced the project’s environmental impact from what was originally planned nearly 20 years ago.

The project is anticipated to create an estimated 4,700 total construction jobs and nearly 1,500 permanent direct jobs locally from the additional cargo capacity. The estimated cost is $374 million which will be paid with Port Everglades revenue generated through port user fees, federal appropriations and state grants. No local property taxes will be used for this project because Port Everglades is a self-funded enterprise of Broward County.


‘Grexit’ fear hits shipping shares

Shipping stocks are falling on the threat of a Greek debt default, but some commentators claim industry impact will be immaterial.
The government of Greece placed capital controls on the banking system on 28 June. Greece faces a USD1.8 payment deadline on an International Monetary Fund on 30 June.