Shell to builds world’s biggest floating object

by Emma Woollacott

Shell’s announced that it’s to go ahead with plans to build the world’s largest floating object ever, a platform designed to exploit offshore natural gas fields.

The Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) project, moored some 200 kilometres offshore from Australia, will produce gas from offshore fields and liquefy it onboard by cooling it to minus 162 degrees Celcius.

Construction will now begin at a shipyard in South Korea.

From bow to stern, the FLNG facility will be 488 metres long (1600 feet or almost 1/3 of a mile long_. When fully equipped, and with its storage tanks full, it will weigh around 600,000 tonnes – around six times as much as the largest aircraft carrier. Some 260,000 tonnes of steel will be used.

“Our innovative FLNG technology will allow us to develop offshore gas fields that otherwise would be too costly to develop,” says Malcolm Brinded, Shell’s Executive Director, Upstream International.

“FLNG technology is an exciting innovation, complementary to onshore LNG, which can help accelerate the development of gas resources.”

In an industry first, liquid natural gas will be transported by ship straight from the plant to the customer, rather than being liquefied at a land-based plant. The company says the facility has been designed to withstand the severest cyclones – those of Category 5.

The facility is expected to go into production in around 2017 at the Prelude gas field. It expects to harvest some 110,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The FLNG facility will stay permanently moored at the Prelude gas field for 25 years, after which it may be moved elsewhere.

Shell builds world’s biggest floating object


Icona concept offers eco-friendly transport on water and land

Click the image for more pictures.  Icona concept offers eco-friendly transport on water and land

By Paul Ridden

Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to create vehicles that operate on both land and water. It”s fair to say that such designs have generally not caught on. Perhaps it”s because of the fairly limited effectiveness of some of those offerings, or maybe it”s because so many of them have been ugly monsters. Then again, it could be that society just hasn”t found a niche for them yet. By the year 2050 though, we may need to give such craft some serious consideration. Juan Pablo Bernal P has come up with a concept design that certainly ticks all the right boxes for looks, and also takes the environment into consideration.

There have been some water/land craft that have caught our attention, and our imagination, in the past. Certainly one of the most impressive was the WaterCar Python which sped along at 120mph (193km/h) on land and upwards of 60mph (97km/h) on water. Most attempts, however, seem to have ended up looking like a boat with wheels or worse.

For his degree project at Umea Institute of Design in Sweden, which was sponsored by car manufacturer Opel, Juan Pablo Bernal P set himself the task of thinking ahead to the transport needs of people in the year 2050. Dealing with the likely environmental and social challenges ahead, the designer came up with a vehicle with “provocative lines and dynamic looks” that would provide an enjoyable and entertaining way of getting from A to B with as little impact on the environment as possible.

The Opel Icona is described as a family vehicle, yet there”s only enough space for one adult, and maybe room for a child passenger directly in front. There are electric hub motors to the front and impeller drive to the rear, where a keel and sail are also concealed within the frame of the vehicle. When on the water, the rear wheels are drawn up to the body by the trailing suspension arms.

Being able to commute on both water and land, the designer sees such a vehicle opening up new habitation possibilities but, like most concept designs, this one asks more questions than it answers. For instance, Juan Pablo Bernal P does not reveal any significant details about the electric hub motors other than that they are placed at the front. Presumably such hub motors would be sealed against water penetration, but details are lacking.

Of course, mixing an electric motor with a drop or two of the wet stuff has already been done. Nevertheless, some sort of explanation would have been welcome.

Then there”s the question of what exactly provides such a vehicle with the power it needs to head for open land or water. Given that there are quite a few years between now and when the designer sees such a vehicle being developed, presumably the Icona would take full advantage of whatever breaking, clean and efficient technologies are available at that time.

Strand Craft 122 superyacht with supercar garage

Posted by: Naresh Chauhan

If you are one of those sophisticated souls who don’t even wanna put their feet on earth fearing they might get dirty, Strand Craft is all set for its extravagant liner that includes a garage to park the special handcrafted supercar, so you get straight into the superyacht without grounding your feet on the dock. Dubbed the “Strand Craft 122,” the superyacht features an amazing Art Deco interior that the users can personalize according to their individual preferences. Capable of producing over 14.000 horsepower, the Strand Craft 122 can well surpass speeds over 50 knots. Comprising four double and very large staterooms, heads, reception, salon areas and comfortable crew cabins, the high performance streamlined 38-meter Open yacht also integrates 52″ LED TV´s and Bang Olufson sound systems in all rooms, enhancing the experience of the sailors.

For more pictures ->

Eco-compatible catamaran sustains itself with renewable energy

by: Naresh Chauhan

Harnessing the natural resources of energy, Argentine industrial designer Mariano Fajgelbaum has created an eco-compatible catamaran that is sure to add sustainability to your sails on the waves. Developed while working in studio Ustatic in Buenos Aires, the self-sustaining cat taps the vast power of the sea, wind and sun to run its engines, without leaving any carbon footprint. When the ship is not moving, you can release its solar panels to make the most of the solar power during the day, while on the other hand, the catamaran releases the sub-aquatic 180” telescopic turbine to accumulate water current power at night. If you still need more energy, it also integrates eolic turbine cand to produce wind energy with air drafts.
All this energy is accumulated in 116 batteries inside the hulls. If you run out of energy, you still can release the telescopic carbon fiber sail to navigate in the traditional way. At night, the solar photocell line shines making the ship recognizable. Moreover, the dimensions of the catamaran allow the owner design or alter cabins with a free surface of 124m2.

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self sustaining catamaran

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[Thanks Mariano]

Necker Nymph Electric Submarine: See Richard Branson’s “Underwater Plane”

by Michael Graham Richard, Ottawa, Canada

3-Seat Electric Submarine
A couple of months ago Jaymi wrote about Richard Branson’s latest toy, the Necker Nymph, a kind of small electric submarine that looks kind of like a futuristic airplane. As Jaymi pointed out, it’s not exactly zero-impact, but it still makes a few eco claims (it could have been much worse), and if it’s used for something other than joyrides, it could help with shallow water exploration. The Necker Nymph was featured on Oprah recently, and we have the video that shows it in action below.

Gretta Kruesi of the Coastal Conservation League had a chance to sit down and talk with Sir Richard Branson about many of his environmental activities (which are a lot more important than this submarine).

Via Huffington Post

Follow link for 2 videos ->

Light and Smart – achieving the impossible

Posted by StuCon

In March 21, skipper Franck Cammas and his crew onboard the 103 foot, maxi-triamaran Groupama 3, set a new around-the-world sailing record by completing the voyage in just over 48 days. This is the seventh time the record has been set, in pursuit of what is called the Jules Verne trophy, in recognition of his 1873 novel in which Phileas Fogg attempts to circle the globe in 80 days, using all means of transport.

In a post on Sailing Anarchy titled Why sailing feats matter, author Nicholas Hayes talks about some of what made this remarkable feat possible – that the team “did everything that they had to do, and nothing that they didn’t.” He explains that they focused on two key needs: light and smart.

– Light simply means efficient, sustainable, powerful, safe and durable.
– Smart simply means aware, logical, and practical.
– Together, light and smart sum to fast, agile, confident and bold.

Designers and design teams could do worse than analyzing how this group were able to accomplish their task, and take some lessons in communications and teamwork to achieve what otherwise appears impossible.

Thanks to Dale Raymond for the tip!

Researchers Develop Process for Laser Forming and Bonding of Fiber-Reinforced Composites; Marine, Automotive and Aerospace Applications

Components made of fiber-reinforced straps are bonded with an infrared laser.

Researchers at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Germany have developed a process that crafts and bonds fiber-reinforced composites with lasers. Fraunhofer will demonstrate the process at the JEC Composites Show 2010 in Paris, 13-15 April.

Fiber-reinforced thermoplastics are 50-70% percent lighter than steel and 15-20% percent lighter than aluminum; their stability and breaking strength are impressive, making their use attractive in marine, automotive and aerospace applications. However, processing these materials can be complicated and cost-intensive.

<!––>Manufacturers of boat hulls, aircraft components and rotary blades have had to work with expensive forming tools that were lined with glass or carbon fiber matting. In the second process step, a pump siphoned off the air before fluid resin could saturate the matting—the vacuum prevented the accumulation of air bubbles on the fibers, which impede stability. Then, to harden the material, a gigantic oven big enough to accommodate the components is needed. And ultimately, the parts still had to be glued together.

To facilitate the fully-automated production of components out of fiber-reinforced thermoplastics, engineers and scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT devised an entirely new process. The ingredients for tape placement come from within the roll: carbon fibers are integrated into kilometer-long strips of meltable thermoplastic resin.

Despite their negligible weight, these strips have above-average resilience; in this regard, engineers measure and evaluate the impact and tensile strength and tear resistance. To assemble sturdy components from these tapes, multiple laminate layers are stacked on top of each other and then compressed into a compact structure.

In this process, the tape strips fuse with each other and cool off quickly, because the laser rapidly emits precisely measured doses of energy in a targeted manner onto the material. This minimizes the expenditure of energy and time. Compared to prior manufacturing processes—for instance, joining tapes with hot air—the quality is even better, according to Fraunhofer.

Using laser beams, difficult-to-form, bulky components of fiber-reinforced plastic can be joined together in a manner sturdy enough to satisfy the demanding standards enforced by the automotive, aviation and aerospace industries.

All we need for this is a laser that emits infrared light. The infrared laser melts the surface of the plastic components. If you compress them when they are still fluid and then let them harden, then the result is an extraordinarily stable bond. The materials must withstand immense acceleration, vibrations and temperature differences, so a 200-percent level of safety is required.

The know-how sticks in the process control: in determining the gap between laser head and surface; in controlling the time which the laser beam lingers on substrate; in calibrating the pressure. The new joining techniques are suitable for all thermoplastic materials that are subjected to extreme strains.

—Wolfgang Knapp of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT