Geoff Styles at Energy Outlook has an interesting post about the ever increasing cost and reduce availability of marine fuel oil. He suggests that efforts like kites and sails are simply supplements and that the only real alternatives are a return to coal or a turn to nuclear ship propulsion.
As you might imagine, am NOT a big fan of coal fired ships, but I love the idea of nuclear powered commercial ships.
Here is the comment that I left on Geoff’s blog to continue the discussion:
Interesting blog entry. There are several aspects of commercial shipping that favor the introduction of nuclear fission engines:
1. Fuel oil costs
2. Emissions concerns
3. Fuel energy density – ships get paid when they carry cargo. Fuel weight and storage space cannot generate revenue.
4. Ballast water concerns – ships have been blamed for a number of invasive species issues and other forms of contamination caused by discharging ballast water picked up around the world as they burn fossil fuels.
The pollution, the energy density and the ballast water all all worse for coal fired ships compared to oil. That fuel also introduces additional concerns and restrictions.
Nearly 55 years worth of experience on naval vessels shows that nuclear shipping can be done safely and effectively. Cost is still an issue, but as we all know – the Navy is an organization that can manage to make a hammer cost $600.
It will be interesting to see how people respond.