In search of a new

Promising developments are born not only in scientific research institutes and design bureaus. We picked up several connected with the sea of interesting technologies, the creators of which are paving the way for their inventions in the format of start-UPS.

Ice reconnaissance from Drift+Noise

In the polar regions of the planet from the massive glaciers from time to time break off huge icebergs. Their length is tens of kilometers, and the area they are comparable and sometimes even superior to the major cities. Scientific organizations around the world to register such events and to monitor the decay process of these monsters, which takes many years.

For example, the iceberg B‑9 (154 × 35 km away) hanging in the seas of Antarctica since 1987 and under continuous supervision researchers gradually split apart. After sitting on the shelf near the Mertz glacier 18 years, in 2010, the fragment‑9B collided with the floating tongue of the glacier and again began to move, mangled new giant icebergs. Two of them sailed around the continent counterclockwise, from time to time blocked the entrance to the Bay than it is hurting not only people but also birds and marine animals.

Large icebergs are dangerous to shipping, but at the same time incredibly beautiful: who would not admire them aboard expedition yacht? To see some of the icebergs is quite simple, as well as to avoid them, because they are very visible and devices, and watch. But only a tenth of all free-floating icebergs towering above the water surface, while the other is drifting in her column and are the source of serious problems. Traditionally, ice reconnaissance carried out from the water and from the air, however, with the advent of artificial satellites has added another powerful tool for operational monitoring of the ice situation.

  • Data visualization of satellite radar Copernicus Sentinel

The German company Drift+Noise Polar Services has become one of the most successful providers of ice maps, created on the basis of American, European and Japanese satellites (NASA, ESA and JAXA). Two years ago, she provided maps of ice conditions the expedition to the Bay Commonwealth, organised by Heritage Expeditions, which took place in a small Russian cruise ship ice class “Akademik Shokalsky” (length 71 m, displacement 2140 tons). East Antarctica is known for its abundance of dangerous icebergs, and Drift+Noise transmitted on Board the satellite imagery with a resolution of 250 m per pixel from different sources in near real time. By combining them, the crew could quickly make decisions to adjust your route and carry out strategic planning.

To facilitate the interpretation of images you can overlay a transparent layer on which the red color shows the concentration of sea ice, which allows you to control the situation even when the skies are covered with clouds. For a deeper understanding of the situation and make tactical decisions every 1-4 days Drift+Noise can provide images from the radar satellites of the European Copernicus Sentinel‑1, the resolution of which reaches 30 m per pixel. This is not the limit, and, if necessary, available even more detailed images taken by the satellites of the Copernicus Sentinel‑2.

To come into force in 2017, the new requirements of the Polar Code be obliged to accompany any activity in polar waters corresponding forecasts of ice conditions. Today, information is available from several sources, but not all of them give the actual data, because during the day, the ice is drifting for miles. According to the statement Drift+Noise, the only company who provides a highly detailed forecasts PRIIMA (Predictive Ice Images) based on satellite radar data and to more accurately calculate the risks.

Navigation Aquaplot

Another young German startup called Gestalt Systems also works with space technology and develops software for the automatic construction of navigable routes. Online platform Aquaplot, the development of which is supported by the business incubator of the European space Agency and the European Union, already has more than 12,000 users worldwide, and its capabilities allow not only to estimate the distance by water between the two ports. Aquaplot database includes more than 17 000 points, between the routing, and the initial and final points can be not only ports, but also arbitrary coordinates, and users can choose different channels and passages, comparing the costs of time and money. In fact, it is analogous to planners that are part of a car navigation: here you can block a route, for example, by shallow channels, or select the path based on the type of vessel. In addition, the program may exclude from the calculation of potentially dangerous zones of piracy and military conflicts listed in the lists of Joint War Committee.

Based Aquaplot lies a proprietary algorithm EvoSwarm working on the proven principles of artificial intelligence. It interacts directly with the data array on which to build vector maps, and the route is not based on historical information. According to the developers, EvoSwarm solves the problem by the same method that the person has provided similar data (card), just makes it more accurately, in milliseconds, and is never tired.

  • Route from Monaco to Tokyo can be laid across the Indian ocean, however, in this case selected to avoid problem areas (red zone in the horn of Africa)

Today Aquaplot largely addressed commercial fleet, and the founders of Gestalt Systems set an ambitious goal to create a global system of monitoring cargo ships with the ability to predict their movements. However, nothing prevents use of “brains” EvoSwarm and captains of pleasure yachts — at least for comparison and optimization of their calculations.

To sliding bubbles

The idea of feeding under a going vessel, the microbubbles of air for reducing friction is not new: on the air lubrication of hull was known in the nineteenth century. With the ever-increasing fuel prices and increasingly stringent requirements for emissions, the ability to use a gas “cushion” today looks particularly attractive. “Value” “sulfuric Directive” of the EU (in 2020 the concentration of sulfur containing compounds in the exhaust of ships in the EU shall not exceed 0.5%) for commercial shipping is very high: currently, this industry accounts for about 4% of the total consumption of fossil fuels and 2.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions, and shipowners strive in every way to reduce operating costs.

In a number of companies have successfully used air grease bottoms on new vessels (superyachts with such a system is, for example, Lürssen), but increasingly there is a need for modular solutions that can be installed during repair or upgrade existing ships. The development of such efficient, cost effective modules and engaged the Dutch company Marine Bubble Flow.

The main difficulty of designing systems, air grease bottoms is to transfer results obtained during testing of scale models, on the ship in real conditions. Until now, such systems imply a large number of holes in the bottom, through which is pumped the air. Underneath, a layer of bubbles to reduce the frictional resistance to 2-12% and save about 5% fuel. On barges to GDP has been tested alternative solutions such as air cavities, however, their effectiveness is still in question. Anyway, both methods increase the complexity and manufacturing cost of the hull.

Marine Bubble Flow solved this engineering problem differently, failing to significantly improve the efficiency of air lubrication in comparison with existing analogues. The proposed technology allows to control the size and flow of air bubbles. Testing in the testing tank are proposed pool Delft University of technology showed that the potential resistance can be reduced by one third, achieving fuel economy and reducing exhaust up to 10-15%. In addition to proper lubrication of the body, the air layer changes the conditions of the biological environment on the bottom and reduces the rate of fouling by marine organisms, which is confirmed by several studies.

According to the founders of Marine Bubble Flow, this patented system can be installed on most naval vessels, and the maximum gain from its use will be relatively flat-bottomed hulls. This will require a mount on the bottom of three to six modules in the form of strips with a width of 0.3 m with channels for air supply. Tape going from side to side and can be installed in a conventional dry dock, for example, during regular maintenance of the vessel without requiring expensive structural changes of the housing.

The energy in containers

Founded in 2017, the Dutch startup Skoon Energy is addressing another topical industry issues related to electric propulsion. If motors and drives are all more or less clear, the imperfection of the batteries, including the duration of their charge remains the cornerstone of preventing widespread electric ships. While engineers around the world are seeking ways to increase the efficiency of batteries, the founders Skoon Energy to provide the courts exchangeable battery modules and to develop a network of coastal infrastructure for charging and sharing. A similar approach is already used for example in Norwegian fjords, where run electric ferries, but it is a local solution for a single model ship.

Staff Skoon Energy has developed a mobile module Skoonbox on the basis of standard sea containers, which ensures trouble-free transportation on water and on land. In addition, they have created a platform Skoon Sailor, which allows users to order the modules in the desired locations. In this case, payment is in fact using batteries, that is the usual pattern of sharing (sharing), not require the user to have a large initial investment in equipment.

It is noteworthy that Skoon Energy does not restrict the application of the battery modules only shipping and proposes to use them in various areas where you need eco-friendly mobile power sources (for example, when organizing open air festivals or on building sites in the centre of large cities). Initiatives of founders Skoon Energy was noted by the Directors for strategic development of seaports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and last year they were awarded Innovation Funding Award for the most promising startup. The idea of this energy management and liked the Damen group, which signed with Skoon Energy agreement of understanding on this issue.

The first vessel using Skoonbox, will be the 110-foot barge Borelli, which can overcome part of the way between Rotterdam and Hengelo (city in the East of the Netherlands, near the border with Germany, a distance of about 200 km) on electric.

The question remains: where Skoon Energy is going to take electricity to charge battery? After all, if to use this energy, which is produced, for example, power plants, initially the idea there is a RAID of soot. However, the founders had anticipated this and plan to primarily use excess energy produced at the peak of its production with wind turbines and solar cells.

Hunters Il

Hackathon or programming sessions focused on the joint development of prototype applications of a certain category, not only can bring substantial benefits to the IT industry, but also to help in the task of major ports. So, at the hackathon WPH17 organized by the port of Rotterdam, was the goal for the day to come up with software solutions to pressing practical problems like optimal forecasting of dredging.

Port services periodically carry out bathymetric studies, measuring the depth with an accuracy of a few centimeters, but this data is updated once a month and do not allow effective monitoring of the accumulation of silt in different places happening at different speeds. However, data on depth is obtained not only vessels with special equipment, but also tugs, pilot boats and other service boats: all are equipped with echo sounders and daily connections via the port. Only one does not collect and does not apply.

  • Competent data acquisition and processing sonar, using DockTech allows ports to monitor silting of the waters almost in real-time

Startup DockTech proposes to use the results of these measurements (accuracy within 100 mm) and process them using Google’s algorithm is “ultra-high resolution”. It allows using array is not too precise single measurements to visualize constantly changing the shape of the bottom surface in high resolution. Besides, observing the dynamics of changes in sediment for some time, you can predict their behavior and plan dredging.

Of course, there are not so many marinas, comparable in size to the port of Rotterdam, however, this technology requires minimal cost, it can be applied on a smaller scale, especially if it will be possible to obtain data from the echo sounders pleasure craft.

SUBA for Archimedes

The company AiCT offers its own solution familiar to every diver tasks. Beginners, submersible diving, at first faced with two problems: they need to learn quickly and in time to “blow” the ears and to control their position and movement in the water by changing buoyancy. If the first is largely dependent on individual characteristics of the organism, buoyancy, the situation is the same as with the clutch pedal for those who first sat behind the wheel of a car with a manual transmission. Under water to have to solve many problems, and in order to safely enjoy the diving skill of buoyancy control needs to be honed to automatism.

The inventors of AiCT has developed SUBA (Smart Underwater Buoyancy Assistant) the system automatically maintain neutral buoyancy at a predetermined depth and a controlled ascent at a safe rate. SUBA consists of four components: an advanced dive computer with proprietary software (supports CCR rebreather); a transmitter that transmits information about the supply of gas; the controller of intake and exhaust gas, and special buoyancy compensators.

According to the founders AiCT, after five years of development and testing SUBA they have perfected pilot samples for various conditions, including icy water, and more than half of them scuba divers-Amateurs has shown interest in the use of this device. However, experienced divers SUBA can cause scepticism, since the use of “assistant of buoyancy” can be compared to an unmanned vehicle, where speed and acceleration controls on-Board computer, and the person can gain control only in a critical situation.

  • BCD SUBA similar to a conventional diver’s vest, but allows for automatic feed and discharge gas

However, SUBA can become a passport to the underwater world to those who find it difficult to master the control of buoyancy, and for people with disabilities. In addition, the system will have to place in those cases when you need a long time to perform any work at a given depth, for example to maintain objects of mariculture, exploring wrecks, collecting scientific samples, or to clean underwater structures from fouling.

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