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热刺曼城英超直播: 靠這家公司的“黑科技”,航運業擁抱綠色未來

热刺贝尔 www.gyplwd.com.cn Jennifer Alsever 2019年11月06日

目前,有幾家海運公司已經使用了來自Silverstream Technologies公司的技術,它可以將船只外殼用泡沫包裹起來,以節省燃油。

圖片來源:COURTESY OF SILVERSTREAM TECHNOLOGIES
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到了明年,依舊將有幾百萬名游客在嘉年華公司的游輪上,一邊喝著香檳,一邊觀賞船舷邊的日落。而與此同時,嘉年華公司的工程師們卻會集中精神觀察著船身下方的一組泡泡。

在接下來的幾個月里,嘉年華公司的工程師們要把這些重達11.5萬噸的郵輪拖進干船塢,然后爬到船殼底下,將9個席夢思床墊大小的金屬箱焊接到船殼外邊,使它們呈“V”字形排列,然后在郵輪內部安裝空氣壓縮機。這套系統是由Silverstream Technologies公司研發的,它可以在郵輪和海水之間形成一層由氣泡構成的氣墊。這樣做的好處是可以減少海水的阻力,將燃油效率提高5%至10%。這樣下來,每艘郵輪每年便可以節省100萬美元的成本。

嘉年華公司負責海運技術的副總裁邁克·卡奇馬雷克表示:“一艘郵輪就好比一座海上的城市,會消耗大量能源。我們一直在尋找最新的前沿科技。而這個理念很簡單,很聰明,而且很管用?!?/p>

航運業是全球的排污大戶。就在這家全球最大的郵輪公司想方設法提高能源效率的同時,整個航運業從今年1月開始也迎來了全新的環保規定。面臨嚴格的環保新規,各大航運公司也是新招迭出,有的用上了充滿未來感的風帆技術,還有的用上了超大號的電池,各種“黑科技”紛紛亮相。

雖然如此,但要想切實減輕航運業對環境的影響,仍然是一個艱巨的挑戰。海運是世界貿易的中流砥柱,每年還有數百萬游客乘船旅行。對于這樣一個巨大的產業,新技術本身能做的畢竟還是有限的。

無論是運油輪、集裝箱船還是郵輪,都會消耗大量的燃料。船用燃油含有大量的硫,這意味著它燃燒時釋放的有毒氣體和有害顆粒比汽車燃油還多。總的來看,航運業排放的溫室氣體約占全球排放總量的2.5%,并且要為幾百萬個兒童哮喘病例和數千人的過早死亡負責。

為了降低航運業對環境的影響,聯合國下屬的國際海事組織要求,到2020年,所有國際輪船(除游艇外)使用的燃油的含硫量不得超過0.5%(目前的要求為含硫量不超過3.5%)。要使用這種清潔燃油,全球航運企業的燃油成本就會上漲30%到60%,約合每年300億美元。

特拉華大學的海洋科學與政策教授詹姆斯·科比特評價道:“這是一個世紀以來,全球海運燃料領域最顯著的進步?!?/p>

Silverstream Technologies公司的總部位于英國倫敦。過去9年間,該公司的創始人諾亞·西伯施密特一直在努力讓行業關注這家公司的空氣潤滑技術。該技術的物理學原理早在1865年就出現在了相關文獻上,但各大航運公司直到最近才開始接受這項技術。除了嘉年華公司之外,挪威郵輪公司旗下的郵輪、荷蘭皇家殼牌旗下的一艘運油船,以及意大利航運巨頭Grimaldi集團旗下的十幾艘貨輪也用上了這項技術。西伯施密特表示:“以前,人們對這種激進的想法并不感冒,而現在整個行業都在覺醒?!?/p>

除了利用空氣潤滑技術,嘉年華公司還在研究利用其他技術來節能減排。比如采用能夠減少污染排放的濾清器,采用更流暢的船身設計來減少阻力,采用液化天然氣等清潔能源,等等。該公司正在探索的技術還有很多,這些只不過是其中的一部分。

為了實現節能減排目標,過去四年間,丹麥航運巨頭馬士基集團在類似的項目上已經投資了10億美元。馬士基在全球運營著700余艘貨輪,該公司計劃到2050年實現碳中和的目標。馬士基的航運技術主管奧利·格拉·雅克布森表示:“在接下來的10年里,我們需要一些大的突破?!?/p>

其中,轉子風帆技術可能是一項的重大創新,也就是下圖中這個高大的、會旋轉的圓柱體。它是由芬蘭的初創企業Norsepower生產的,其工作原理與傳統的風帆類似,但自動化程度更高,動力也更強勁。它可以減少輪船5%到20%的燃料消耗。馬士基和維京郵輪公司已經在一些船舶上安裝了這套設備。

Next year, millions of vacationers will sip Champagne as they watch the sun set over the ocean on Carnival cruise ships. All the while, company engineers will be engrossed by a different set of bubbles—under their vessels.

In the coming months, Carnival’s engineers will begin pulling 115,000-ton ships into dry dock and crawling beneath the hulls. There, they’ll weld nine mattress-size metal boxes to the outside of each hull in the shape of a “V” and install air compressors inside the vessels. The system, from Silverstream Technologies, will ?create a carpet of tiny air bubbles between the ships and the water. The expected benefit: less drag and 5% to 10% better fuel efficiency, achieving up to $1 million in annual savings per ship.

“Just one ship is like a floating city consuming energy,” says Mike Kaczmarek, Carnival’s vice president of marine technology. “We’re always looking out for new, cutting-edge advances, and this concept is simple, clever, and it works.”

The world’s largest cruise ship company’s quest for energy efficiency comes as the maritime industry, among the world’s biggest polluters, faces sweeping new environmental regulations in January. The new rules are forcing shipping companies to clean up their act, and they’re responding by deploying everything from futuristic sails to supersize batteries.

That said, reducing the environmental impact of shipping is a profound challenge. New technologies, by themselves, can do only so much for an industry that transports a huge chunk of world trade and ferries millions of tourists.

Oil tankers, container ships, and cruise liners guzzle massive amounts of fuel. This “bunker” fuel is chock-full of sulfur, which means it emits more poisonous gases and harmful particles when burned than does motor-vehicle fuel. All told, the maritime industry is responsible for 2.5% of all greenhouse gases along with millions of childhood asthma cases and thousands of premature deaths.

In 2020, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization will try to reduce that environmental impact by requiring all international vessels except yachts to use fuels that contain no more than 0.5% sulfur, down from today’s limit of 3.5%. The cleaner fuel will drive fuel costs up 30% to 60%, or an estimated $30 billion annually.

“This is the most dramatic improvement in global marine fuels in a century,” says James Corbett, a marine science and policy professor at the University of Delaware who co-led the research that prompted the new rules.

For nine years, Silverstream founder Noah Silberschmidt struggled to get attention with his London-based company’s air lubrication technology. The physics behind the bubble tech was first mentioned in maritime literature in 1865, but big shipping companies only recently started embracing it. In addition to Carnival’s leap into bubbles, Silverstream’s technology is being used by Norwegian Cruise Line, a Royal Dutch Shell oil tanker, and soon, a dozen Grimaldi Group cargo ships. “People weren’t interested in radical thinking,” Silberschmidt says. “Now the industry is waking up.”

Besides bubbles, Carnival is investigating additional techniques to reduce fuel costs and emissions. Scrubbers that cut pollution, sleeker ship designs that reduce drag, and cleaner fuels like liquid natural gas are just some of the possibilities.

Maersk, the Danish shipping giant, has put $1 billion behind a similar effort over the past four years. The company, which operates 700 container ships, intends to be carbon neutral by 2050. “In the next 10 years,” says Ole Graa Jakobsen, Maersk’s head of fleet technology, “we need some big breakthroughs.”

One such innovation may be rotor sails: tall, spinning columns manufactured by Finnish startup Norsepower that work like wind sails but are automated and more powerful. They reduce fuel consumption by 5% to 20%. Maersk and Viking Line have already installed them on some ships.

上圖中的轉子風帆是海運行業近期比較關注的節能減排技術之一。圖片來源:COURTESY OF NORSEPOWER
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排放并不是航運行業唯一的污染問題。2016年,嘉年華公司因為向海洋中傾倒塑料、食物和生活廢水而被判處4000萬美元???,并被列入五年觀察期名單。今年夏天,該公司又因為在觀察期內再次違規,而被判???000萬美元。

鑒于航運業以往的“劣跡斑斑”,有環保人士擔心,一些公司可能會無視這些新規。在許多情況下,監管松懈的國家都需要加強執法力度,比如利比里亞和巴拿馬,而在這些國家,注冊的船只數量也越來越多。

嘉年華公司的副總裁卡奇馬雷克表示,不管怎樣,嘉年華公司一定會致力于降低對環境的影響,而在這個過程中,空氣潤滑技術能夠扮演一個重要的角色?!拔頤塹撓事直匭敕匣繁9娑?。目前在郵輪領域的研發并不多,所以我們必須解決這個問題?!保ú聘恢形耐?/p>

本文另一版本登載于《財富》雜志2019年11月刊,標題為《大型船只走向綠色未來》。

譯者:樸成奎

Emissions are not the industry’s only pollution problem. In 2016, Carnival was hit with a $40 million fine and five years of probation for discharging plastic and food into the ocean, while also illegally dumping “gray water” from showers and kitchen sinks. This summer it received another $20 million fine for violating that probation.

Given the industry’s spotty track record, environmentalists are concerned that some companies will flout the new rules. In many cases, enforcement will fall on countries with lax oversight, like Liberia and Panama, where an increasing number of vessels are registered.

Whatever the case, Carnival’s Kaczmarek says his company is committed to reducing its environmental impact, and bubbles may play an important role. “Our ships have to be in compliance. There’s not a ton of R&D in cruising, so we have to figure it out.”

A version of this article appears in the November 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “Big Ships Tack to a Greener Future.”

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