Core Power unveils clean fuel solution for North Atlantic green shipping corridor

Core Power, a UK-based development company specializing in scalable atomic power technology for ocean transport and heavy industry, has presented a clean fuel solution for the planned Atlantic green shipping corridor.

Core Power
Core Power
Courtesy of Core Power

The company has shown how ‘green fuel‘ for shipping can be produced reliably at low cost using a floating nuclear power plant design combined with an ‘ammonia refinery‘ at either end of green corridors being proposed in the Clydebank declaration.

The Clydebank declaration, signed at COP26 in November last year, calls for the creation of zero-emission maritime routes between two or more ports to help the shipping sector decarbonise.

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The Belgian Port of Antwerp-Bruges and the Canadian Port of Montreal are currently working to create the first green shipping corridor in the North Atlantic.

“Making green ammonia from 100% clean hydrogen and nitrogen is very energy intensive and requires reliable low-cost electricity, and production of fuels must happen where we need it and when we need it,” Rory Megginson, head of Analytics at Core Power in London, explained.

During the launch event of Core Power’s Client Program on 13 July, the company demonstrated how a single installation in the US Gulf could produce 1.3 million metric tons of 100% green ammonia, at a cost that could compete with low sulphur bunker fuel and carbon taxes.

Core Power is pioneering the work of developing the market for marine-appropriate new nuclear technology.

“Placing a floating refinery at either end of a ‘green corridor’, in the US Gulf and UK Continent would provide a reliable, low-cost fuel supply to all ships trading on that route and have plenty of green hydrogen-based fuel left over for supply to the inland and coastal markets,” Megginson said.

The Core Power design features a cylindrical ‘spar type’ hull of 90 metres in diameter fitted with four molten salt reactors, producing 1,200 MW of electricity round the clock, whatever the weather.

“The key advantage of the molten salt reactor for this purpose is that we can top up the fuel at full power, so we don’t have to stop to refuel, and that means we can run for a very long time at max capacity,” Giulio Gennaro, Chief Technical Officer of Core Power, said.

“The MSR is an ambient pressure reactor which cannot pollute the environment in the event of a mishap or an accident, and that’s popular. The lack of pressure also means the emergency planning zone around the installation should be confined to the boundary of the ‘site’ or the hull itself,” Gennaro added.

The global shipping industry is seeking solutions to replace fossil fuels to meet climate targets set by the member states of the IMO. Green ammonia is one of the candidate fuels being considered, despite the low energy content and high toxicity of the substance as a fuel. Proposals to produce green ammonia from weather-dependent power machinery are struggling to solve intermittency and reliability issues and as a direct result, bringing the cost of production to levels where demand can be formed.

Showing how a reliable power solution could be built in the coming decade, Core Power also demonstrated how offshore wind can feed power to the system when conditions are right.

“Combining the output of intermittent offshore wind with reliable floating nuclear means the billions spent on renewables can live up to its promise and shake its heavy dependence on fossil fuels on still or stormy days,” Megginson concluded.

Last year, X-Press Feeders, the world’s largest independent common carrier, made an investment in Core Power as one of six shipping players that have invested in the company.

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