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Malin plans for Scottish shipbuilding revival with zero emissions prototype

Malin Newbuild, a Scottish marine engineering company, is partnering in a groundbreaking project to lessen shipping’s environmental impact.

Part of the Malin Group, and specialising in delivering complicated multidisciplinary design and build projects, the company is aiming to demonstrate that a vessel fuelled by renewable energy can lead to a revival of civil shipbuilding in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.

The alternative technology, known as FastRig, has been developed by Wiltshire-based Smart Green Shipping who have been in discussions with the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise about funding the demonstrator’s construction.

This month, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) revealed that greenhouse gas emissions from shipping rose by 10% between 2012 and 2018, largely due to a surge in the number of ships fuelled by liquefied natural gas. [1]

Malin Newbuild director Ben Sharples said: “We believe there is a real opportunity here for Scotland to be at the forefront of rapidly developing innovation. Our work so far on FastRig has convinced us of its potential.

“We are currently working with Smart Green Shipping to develop the concept with a view to delivering a full-scale, 40-metre-high test-rig that can be showcased to the world when COP-26, the UN’s climate change conference, comes to Glasgow.

Smart Green Shipping’s founder, Diane Gilpin, said: “Shipping is the world’s sixth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.  There are 60,000 vessels in the world running on heavy fuel oil which represents two-thirds of operating costs.

“That is unsustainable. China is well advanced on retrofitting ships with wind-assist technologies and has just started on fully optimised newbuildsNorway is also very active in zero-emission solutions for shipping.  

“We think there is a real chance for Scotland, with its engineering abilities and shipbuilding history, to be at the forefront of this transition.

The retrofitted demonstrator vessel will be partially powered by wind – with the intention to integrate other renewable energy sources, including hydrogen, into future designs.  

A feasibility analysis, supported by the Innovate UK programme, of retrofitting FastRigs to an existing 63,000-tonne bulk carrier showed annual fuel and emissions savings of 20%. This would lead to payback for ship operators within three to five years, according to the analysis. [2] 

Ms Gilpin said it would cost around £6m to get a demonstrator in the water. She said: “There are a lot of people interested but are reluctant to take the first step.  No matter how much computer modelling you can show, there is an understandable desire to see that the technology actually works”.

Malin Newbuild Ltd specialises in the fabrication and outfit of complex marine equipment and vessels to a client’s own set of drawings and specifications. Their in-house execution team consisting of project managers, fabrication experts and planners allow them to take a set of client plans, either fully realised or part designed, and assist turning these into the reality of a working end product. They form part of the Malin Group, a family of specialised brands and teams, who together provide end to end solutions to the marine industry. As such, the group offer a full range of services to the offshore and maritime industry – over a variety of projects, across a range of sectors, all over the world.

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