Damen partners with Maris to consider seaweed solution
Damen Shipyards Group and Maris Projects have joined forces to tackle the issue of invasive Sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean region – including the Dutch Caribbean Islands, the company said in its release. The partners are working towards the developments of a holistic solution. The work of the two companies is expected to greatly increase knowledge of bioprocessing, leading to the design of efficient and scalable technologies with the capability to deliver both environmental and socio-economic benefits.
A significant – and to date, inexplicable – rise in the quantity of Sargassum in Caribbean waters and along its shores, has been recorded in recent years. The weed is causing considerable problems in the region. Aside from the stench it gives off when decomposing, which has led to beach closures, the seaweed also clogs the engines and nets of fishing vessels. Additionally it is also smothering sea grasses and coral reefs as well as releasing greenhouse gases as it decomposes.
To attempt to find a solution, Damen Green Solutions has partnered with Maris. Damen’s role in the partnership is to develop a dedicated solution based on a specially developed MultiCat for harvesting, preprocessing and transportation Sargassum. Maris brings experience in scalable preprocessing and anaerobic conversion technology. With this, the consortium is assessing the viability of turning the Sargassum into methane for energy purposes.
The two partners have identified a local operating partner – CMC – that can harvest the seaweed in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Currently, the partners are discussing a contract that will create the consortium to be known as Blue Caribbean Energy Solutions.
The consortium aims to collect and purify Sargassum, then turn it into biogas via a two-step process using low temperature anaerobic digestion as the first step. The residues of this process will then be fed into a high temperature anaerobic thermal reactor to turn them into usable methane.
Damen Green Solutions director Marcel Karsijns explains: “Currently, the solutions to the Sargassum challenge only go as far as removing the weed from the sea. Often it is brought onto land and left to decompose, where it gives off damaging greenhouse emissions. What we are attempting to do is develop a holistic, circular solution that turns a negative into a positive. As well as offering clean energy, the aim of the project is also to deliver sustainable benefit to local economies.”
As well as the short term aim of turning Sargassum into energy, the partnership will consider the economic viability of turning the harvest into fertiliser and/or feedstock for the agriculture industry.
The consortium will present the developments of their solution thus far at the forthcoming The Decade SARG EXPO between 24 and 26 October in Guadeloupe.
Damen Shipyards Group
Damen Shipyards Group operates 36 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 12,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 6,500 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers around 175 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept Damen is able to guarantee consistent quality.
Damen’s focus on standardisation, modular construction and keeping vessels in stock leads to short delivery times, low ‘total cost of ownership’, high resale values and reliable performance. Furthermore, Damen vessels are based on thorough R&D and proven technology.
Damen offers a wide range of products, including tugs, workboats, naval and patrol vessels, high speed craft, cargo vessels, dredgers, vessels for the offshore industry, ferries, pontoons and superyachts.
For nearly all vessel types Damen offers a broad range of services, including maintenance, spare parts delivery, training and the transfer of (shipbuilding) know-how. Damen also offers a variety of marine components, such as nozzles, rudders, winches, anchors, anchor chains and steel works.
Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) has a worldwide network of eighteen repair and conversion yards of which twelve are located in North West Europe. Facilities at the yards include more than 50 floating (and covered) drydocks, including the longest, 420 x 80 metres, and the widest, 405 x 90 metres, as well as slopes, ship lifts and indoor halls. Projects range from the smallest simple repairs through Class’ maintenance to complex refits and the complete conversion of large offshore structures. DSC completes around 1,300 repair and maintenance jobs annually, both at yards as well as in ports and during voyage.