Crowley moves into nuclear energy sector with BWXT
Florida-based shipping and energy supply chain company Crowley has teamed up with nuclear power firm BWX Technologies through a memorandum of understanding for a ship concept that has the potential to generate nuclear power.
Under the cooperation, the duo will work on the design, engineering, and development of new shallow-draft hull ships that will supply small-scale nuclear energy to shoreside locations.
The new ships would feature the latest technology available for factory-fabricated microreactors, readily deployed into a shipyard configuration for ease of installation on the vessel. The onboard power plant is intended to supply energy to shore facilities, such as military bases in remote island locations, backup utility grids after disasters, and other scenarios where traditional electricity sources are damaged or not possible.
The proposed 378-foot ship (115 meters) concept combines the logistical and marine expertise of Crowley, its in-house vessel design Crowley Engineering Services, with the extensive nuclear capabilities of BWXT, a trusted supplier of nuclear components, fuel, and services to the U.S. government for over six decades.
This new vessel concept pairs traditional propulsion while carrying a modular reactor between 5 and 50 megawatts that can be activated upon arrival at the destination and be deactivated and transported after the power supply is discontinued.
Buoyed power delivery cables will enable the ships to deploy energy connections to shore. Shallow draft hulls allow the vessels to maneuver to strategically deliver power for military activities or if disasters limit harbor access.
“Our cooperation with BWXT will move Crowley for the first time into the nuclear energy sector, a key part of our commitment to sustainable, alternative energy sources. This concept supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s goal of maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear energy technology as well as many the U.S. Department of Defense’s strategic goals for operational energy,” said Shiju Zacharia, senior vice president and general manager, Crowley Government Solutions.
“We are excited to work alongside Crowley to leverage our ongoing reactor development and demonstration programs, advancing nuclear technology into new and novel markets to deliver zero carbon emissions energy generation to strategic locations,” said Joe Miller, president of BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC.
Nuclear power is emerging as a compelling avenue for the maritime sector to combat carbon emissions and generate clean energy. As concerns over environmental sustainability mount, shipping companies are exploring innovative solutions to meet ambitious decarbonization goals.
Nuclear technology is gaining traction due to its potential to provide a stable and emissions-free power source, promising to revolutionize the industry’s approach to clean energy production.
A number of industry leaders are dipping their toes into research studies involving nuclear power including Samsung Heavy Industries, Italian shipbuilding major Fincantieri, Sinokor and HMM.