2021: Muddling Along To A Healthy Year In Dredging

Calendar picture of a sunny dredging site
Calendar picture of a sunny dredging site

Dear readers, I sincerely wish you all the best for this new year. As things are looking positive on the vaccine front, we should keep testing negative this year. There are lots of items and events to look forward. Last year was not quite what we’ve hoped for and wished each other.

I do hope all of you are OK and are still together with your loved ones. I am fortunately in that respect. So, next to the Covid situation, there were a lot of other noteworthy items. Most of them have been featured here on Discover Dredging. My trip to Bangladesh, just before all the lockdown measures. The graduation of Carsten1 and Omar2 that were completely over Teams. Some attention to our Damen Dredging Experience3. And some other items. Did you enjoy the Donald Duck review?4

Opening scene of ‘Muddy Fine Business’ or ‘Success Test’ (Credit: Disney)
Opening scene of ‘Muddy Fine Business’ or ‘Success Test’ (Credit: Disney)

One sad event was, the last issue of Dredging and Port Construction5. We’ve had to say goodbye to our trusted DPC. Although by now, there has been a kind of digital revival on the CEDA Website6. They opened up a section for Industry News, edited by Namrata Nadkarni. It stands out from the other online media covering dredging as there has been some attention to smaller topics, that would normally not get covered. As I think it is a good initiative, I urge you to subscribe and also participate by sending them any noteworthy news items for publication. Not specifically the usual company press releases, but also the more thought provocative opinions and perspectives on the activities of our dredging community. Active participation could make this CEDA Industry News flourish this year.

Announcement of the CEDA Industry News section (Credit:CEDA)
Announcement of the CEDA Industry News section (Credit:CEDA)

Further personal activities within CEDA are the Dredging Management Commission7 and I am looking forward to the exciting new concept for the CEDA Dredging Days8. Will you participate? Also, I already took the course on ‘Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure’9, but you should keep an eye out on the next instalment, coming soon10.

A continuation from last year on my Discover Dredging will be some more articles on our Damen Dredging Experience. There are still some exhibit left to review and teaser:… There are some new exhibits arriving! Hope to have that covered when the pandemic will fizzle out we can show you around through our museum. And I hope to continue on pump and dredge technology.

Overview of the Damen Dredging Experience
Overview of the Damen Dredging Experience

Currently, there are some students working on their graduation thesis. Their very interesting topics will be highlighted here as well. Some others will start soon. When you are looking for a fun place to have your internship our your graduation, you might consider a visit to our career page11 or contacting Frank Bosman for any opportunities. Although most positions are filled at the moment, later this year we would welcome fresh brains again.

As our offices will be closed for regular work, I will be working from home most of the time. Probably most of you will do likewise. To keep track of the passage of time over the days, you should have a calendar. As a special service to my audience, I was granted the use of a set of beautiful pictures to create a calendar. You can download the file here and with some DIY skills you should have some original wall decoration for this year.

Stay healthy and stay safe. Hope to see you later this year.

Selection of calendar pictures
Selection of calendar pictures

References

  1. Graduation Of Carsten Markus: Designing And Casting Of Impellers, Discover Dredging
  2. Graduation Omar Karam: Rock Cutting The Egyptian Way, Discover Dredging
  3. Selected articles on the Damen Dredging Experience, Discover Dredging
  4. Book Review: Donald Duck A Muddy Fine Business; Artistic Equipment Design; Discover Dredging
  5. The Last Dredging And Port Construction Magazine, The End Of An Era; Discover Dredging
  6. Debut of CEDA Industry News section and monthly newsletter, CEDA
  7. Selected articles on the CEDA Dredging Management Commission, Discover Dredging
  8. Call for Papers for CEDA Dredging Days 2021 issued, CEDA
  9. Book Review: Dredging For Sustainable Infrastructure, Discover Dredging
  10. 2nd Online Course Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure planned for March 2021!, IADC
  11. Welcome to the best years of your life, Damen

See also

Book Review: Dredging For Sustainable Infrastructure

‘Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure’ (Credit: CEDA & IADC)
‘Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure’ (Credit: CEDA & IADC)

Last week, I attended the last sessions of the ‘Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure’ course, jointly organised by CEDA1 and IADC2. This course is intended to quickly absorb the contents of the book of the same name3 and have a hands on experience of the novel methodology proposed. The book has been written by many different people as members of the participating organisations. As such, it is the condensed knowledge and ideas of the dredging community on a modern approach to infrastructure projects. Although there is a straightforward structure in the book, the publishers initiated courses as an introduction to the book.

Structure of the book (Credit: CEDA & IADC)
Structure of the book (Credit: CEDA & IADC)

As Covid-19 swept across Europe and thwarted the intended live course days, the sessions were postponed and eventually held online. The presenters, Erik van Eekelen, Thomas Vijverberg and Mark Lee did a good job of introducing us to the book and supervise us in the break out working groups. The central storyline of the working groups was the harbour expansion of the fictional port of Tomigo in the fairy land of Quandany. Each of the participants was assigned a role to represent the consultant, the fishing community, the nature conservancy organisations, the power plant etc. A revelation for me from this interaction is how easy you are inclined to be egocentric in the defence of your interests. With just a little more attention to the other interests, there might be much better opportunities for yourself and for the whole of the project.

New harbour basin development at the port of Tomigo (Credit: CEDA & IADC)
New harbour basin development at the port of Tomigo (Credit: CEDA & IADC)

The incentive to produce a book on this novel approach in dredging projects was the UN initiative to launch 17 Sustainable Development Goals4 and the book addresses most of these goals. If we can truly lift the proposed working procedures into an industry standard or even a social mentality, this will be a paradigm shift from where the project was the centre of attention to: ‘Where can nature and society benefit from an economic requirement?’ The next step will be from philosophy to action.

United Nations ‘Sustainable Development Goals (Credit: United Nations)
United Nations ‘Sustainable Development Goals (Credit: United Nations)

The focus of the book is very much on the initial stages of a project: include sustainability on the basis of the design of a project, demonstrating options for sustainable solutions suggestion of sustainable techniques. As a dredging equipment manufacturer5, most of the topics will not affect my daily work. Still, in the work group sessions, it was interesting to see the interaction between the various parties that are involved with the initiation of a project. As a dredge builder4, we usually meet the requirements for the equipment applied. Though, the technical solution to achieve this might be not the most commercial solution. However, the book makes it clear and provides examples, that taking all aspects of a project into account, including social and nature opportunities, the benefits of a sustainable approach of a project might still make a viable business case.

Three pillars of sustainability (Credit: CEDA & IADC)
Three pillars of sustainability (Credit: CEDA & IADC)

The verdict on the book: it is a reference book. And as such it is very tiresome to plough through. However, the course is very enlightening as introductory lectures into the contents. Then the meticulously compiled information starts to live. Don’t depend on the courses alone, also leaf through and note all the valuable tables, graphs and diagrams, especially the guiding boxes that can assist you in setting up your dredging project. It definitely belongs on your bookshelf.

‘Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure’ in our bookshelf
‘Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure’ in our bookshelf

References

  1. CEDA and IADC launches new ‘Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure’ Course, CEDA
  2. Online Course ‘Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure’, IADC
  3. Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure, CEDA&IADC
  4. The 17 goals, United Nations
  5. Damen Dredging Equipment, Damen

See also

We Choose To Adopt Energy Transition, But How Will We Succeed?

President John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice University on September 12, 1962 (Credit: NASA)
President John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice University on September 12, 1962 (Credit: NASA)

‘We choose to go to the moon.’ Was the famous speech at Rice University of President John F. Kennedy to express his ambition to send his nation to the Moon1. At the time, his call was far from clearly achievable. But it was a very clear roadmap and it quickly gained traction. The success of the Apollo project is well known. Neil Armstrong did land on the Moon within a decade and the American flag is still planted on its surface.

Panel discussion at the CEDA Dredging Days 2019 with Mike van der Vijver
Panel discussion at the CEDA Dredging Days 2019 with Mike van der Vijver

At the CEDA Dredging Days 20192, there was an interesting panel discussion on ‘Energy transition: the views in our dredging community’3. Panel members were: Eric de Deckere, Michael Deruyk, Kaj Portin and Klaas Visser. The discussion was moderated by Mike van der Vijver from MindMeeting. As an introductory teaser to the audience, he posited the claim: ‘Excessive ambition drives breakthroughs’. The question is: ‘Is the dredging industry ambitious enough to convert to a new fossil free energy source?’ The audience was polled for their opinion on a scale from one to ten and the response ranged from three to eight. The three represented the position, that the industry is not doing much. What is visibly done, are only single purpose, company specific solutions that are not adopted by the community. On the other hand, there was also a very positive signal with an eight for ambition. The sense of urgency is very well present in the community. Most companies are developing plans and cooperating in working groups, such as the CEDA Working Group on Energy Efficiency4. Also, the government is pitching in with initiatives on zero emission maintenance dredging, where the dredging community is actively participating in putting forward proposals.

So, why is there still no zero emission dredge? What is the ambition lacking? The hint is the opinion that the effort is not focussed. The strong motivation in Kennedy’s speech was that there was a very clear picture what to do. What do we do: ‘Put a man on the Moon’. When: ‘By the end of the decade’. How: ‘Bring him safely back’. Ambition with a clear plan can indeed achieve great things. Ambition without motivation will only bring daydreaming and lethargy.

Block diagram of influencers for energy transition in the dredging community
Block diagram of influencers for energy transition in the dredging community

To achieve something, we need motivation. And who is responsible for pulling this off? Mike polled the audience again for: 1) Government, 2) Public opinion, 3) Companies, 4) Technology. There was not a clear picture here either. All positions are valid. Another driver is the reward for the effort. The Apollo project effectively created part of our modern society. What would the energy transition yield for the dredging community: ‘Learning by challenge’, ‘Flexibility and resilience in energy generation’, ‘Low maintenance and higher independence’?

At this website I can’t change the world, but addressing most issues mentioned, I can only put forward my idea on the ‘How’ motivation. We know how to apply power. As long as the power arrives electrically, we can use it. Essentially, we have to generate electricity with a flexible power source. The investment lifetime of a dredge often exceeds 30 years, but under the current circumstances, the power plant only lasts ten. The solution would be to have some separate module for power generation. Either locally, near the dredge, or remote at the end of the pipeline. As every project and application will be different, it will be a challenge to design the specific solution. But I am looking forward in developing the solutions below with any interested customer5.

Transition schedule to convert to fossil fuel free dredging equipment
Transition schedule to convert to fossil fuel free dredging equipment

References

  1. We choose to go to the Moon, Wikipedia
  2. CEDA Dredging Days 2019, CEDA
  3. Programme 7 November 2019, Panel Discussion, CEDA
  4. CEDA Working Group on Energy Efficiency, CEDA
  5. Innovation at Damen Dredging Equipment, Damen

See also