World’s 1st circular ship dismantling yard wins EU backing

CMT yard
Illustration; Image credit: CMT

Circular Maritime Technologies (CMT), a Dutch startup targeting to automate shipbreaking processes, has secured an EU subsidy that would help the company take the project to the next stage of development.

CMT said that it won a subsidy as part of the Kansen voor West III, a program largely financed by the European Regional Development Fund, which is intended for the four main Randstad provinces in the western Netherlands: Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht, and Flevoland, and four major cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.

According to CMT, the proposal was pitched in June and it passed with ‘flying colors.’

The project will now move toward the test and demonstration stage. As disclosed, the central technologies will be tested and improved in 2023, such as the wire-cutting technology with Huisman and the automated block processing with Grimbergen Industrial Systems.

“The subsidy is a great step in towards realization of CMT, showing trust in the solution and providing a solid basis to build on. Following this project, the first full-scale CMT solution will be deployed in an existing drydock to dismantle the first ships. Heading towards a truly circular, safe, and competitive solution to ship dismantling,” the start-up said.

CMT aims to become the world’s first circular ship dismantling yard by developing and integrating technologies to automate the shipbreaking process while taking out the human element to secure a high standard of safety.

The yard will reduce the size of the vessel step by step through various automated tools, up to the point where each part of the ship’s steel structure is reduced to many small pieces. The CMT yard will go from a 3D structure to a 2D material package of steel plates. This process is executed quickly and precisely, managed by tailored control tools and software, but overseen by specialized CMT staff,” the company explained on its website.

The startup is being set up by ASECO Europe and engineering company KCI, which focuses on the oil and gas industry and the renewables sectors. The venture is part of the THRUST program based in the Netherlands, which stands for Towards Hydrogen-based Renewables Used for Ship Transportation.

 Other partners of the project include Damen Shipyards, Enviu, Fluor, Grimbergen Industrial Systems, Huisman Equipment, Jansen Recycling Group, Sea2Cradle, Sojitz Corporation and Stork.

The CMT project aims to launch soon its proof-of-concept prototype in the Netherlands, after which the goal is to set up yards with international partners and attract business from shipowners by matching the price paid by South Asian competitors.

The yard aims to provide an alternative to unsustainable shipbreaking practices that have seen ships taken apart by hand on South East Asian beaches, and prevent large amounts of CO2 emissions and toxic materials from being emitted into the environment.

The project is also important having in mind that the EU is struggling with securing sufficient ship recycling facilities that meet its ship recycling standards. Specifically, the facilities in the EU are generally not dedicated to the recycling of large ocean-going ships and therefore do not have sufficient capacity.

Hence, the EU has had to look elsewhere, in particular to Turkey to dismantle ships in an ecological manner. However, it is of strategic importance for the EU to develop its own ship recycling infrastructure.

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