I’m currently doing a course in sustainable business models, and our lecturer off-handedly mentioned that Maersk “have started building ships” with re-usable modules, so that they can be removed intact during shipbreaking and re-used in newbuilds. This caught me off guard, since I figured this ought to be something I’ve heard about. I’m also slightly mystified as to how this is supposed to work in practice.
My research into the matter (reading through the first page of Google result) didn’t yield anything of value. This is doubly mystifying, because if some major corporate entity had indeed innovated anything as “green” as this, they would surely make a solid effort at communicating this to the world.
Thus I put it to you, especially our resident sustainability advocate @ombugge and naval architect @Tupsis : Is this real? Where’s the technology at? What are the ship design implications?
I have not seen anything about the “invention” by Maersk anywhere.
Reuse of machinery and equipment from scrapped ships is nothing new, especially drilling rigs and other specialized “vessels” packed with machinery and equipment.
There are also many cases where a new hull part has been mated with an existing engine part after a heavy grounding, or cargo fire. (Or the other way around after an engine room fire).
Having “cut lines” in the design to facilitate adding sections into the hull at a later stages is not uncommon, especially for fishing vessels that is built to meet a certain length restriction.
I agree, modules assembly is a standard in some niche of naval eng.
But it could be unviable out of the heavy scheduled military construction.
Imagine an engine module for crude carriers or cruising ships…
Must be a huge step in future (sci.fi anybody?).
I think your course lecturer was giving a wishful thinking with regards to “re-useable” modules. Outside of pulling and reusing equipment from vessels being scrapped; the fact remains ships reach the end-of-life cycle 15 to 20 or more years after construction. Technology moves on, not to mention the effects of 20 years in an operating environment would make any proposed module in need of repair/refurbishment.
Thanks for the input everyone
I pulled up Maersk’s policy on sustainable shipbreaking, and it mentions no such thing:
Indeed I must conclude that this was nothing but wishful thinking. I will have to confront them and ask where they got this from. It did make me wonder about the prerequisites for something like this to work, and it has some interesting implications. For one, such a scheme would only work if module interfaces are standardized to such a level that we could depend on the standard staying constant for several decades.
This in turn could change the face of modular ship building, as someone producing certain modules would be able to market them to a wider audience than a single contractor. Imagine if something like hotel modules were available from a catalogue; This would open the door to both more diverse ship design and lower production cost.
High level module standardization would also move some aspects of the design process out of the design bureau with overall project ownership. This in turn would enable small scale innovation in an otherwise extremely capital intensive sector.
There are some obvious down sides, as well. For example, standardization would impose dimensional constraints that would harm design adaptability.
Ultimate proof we’re locked in a sinkhole of a simulated world.