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

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

Innovations In The New MAD Series To Increase Uptime And Reduce Fuel Consumption

Innovative Marine Aggregate Dredge for gravel dredging
Innovative Marine Aggregate Dredge for gravel dredging

This week, there will be a lot of interesting presentations at the CEDA Dredging Days 2019 in Rotterdam1. I would like to draw your attention to one particular presentation that I was involved with at certain moments in the project, though not in writing the paper. Kudos to my colleagues Frank & Frank to write the interesting manuscript2.

The topic of the presentation will be the change of perspective for the concept of marine aggregate dredging. Historically, the marine aggregate dredging takes place relatively close to shore. With the depletion of the deposits and the increase in demand, other locations further out at sea are coming into focus. As Damen, with a heritage in the design of offshore operating vessels, it was a natural choice to cross breed the offshore supply vessels with the marine aggregate dredges. The resulting offspring: the MAD series of hopper dredges3. Frank de Hoogh will elaborate on the seakeeping abilities of this innovative design.

Other dredging related innovations are the suction tube and ancillary equipment, the screening towers and the process sensors. Of those, I have some personal anecdotes on the screening towers and the density sensor. For all other interesting stories, you’ll have to attend the presentation.

The screening towers are fundamental to the efficiency of the process. If the screening is improved, shorter dredge cycles are possible and a better product can be landed onshore. Also, if the requirement for the product change, the screens have to be adapted to the new specifications. Ideally, this changing has to be done at one unloading phase, otherwise you miss a complete dredge cycle. A lot of effort has been done to optimise the design. But the real test was to actually build, modify and test the complete screening tower, before it was even installed on the vessel. So, we had this construction right here at our doorstep for a thorough evaluation.

Screening towers for fit and fat testing at our yard
Screening towers for fit and fat testing at our yard

One other component, that I was even more involved with, was the non-radioactive density sensor. There are regulations in place to phase out nuclear density sensors4 and a lot of alternatives are available. Back in the !VAMOS! project5, we had the opportunity to test a unit of an electro tomography system. The results indicated a good reliability and a worthy replacement for the traditional nuclear sensor6. Because of the tomography picture, there was an additional benefit: we received an early warning on the slurry behaviour. We could actually see when we were too close to the deposition limit in the pipe line. This enabled us to work with higher densities at lower velocities, resulting in better efficiency and less wear. As the rough process conditions in the mining pit were similar to the marine aggregate dredging industry, we proposed to use this on this MAD also. How we further developed and tested this system is for you to hear and see at the presentation.

Testing the non-radioactive density sensor
Testing the non-radioactive density sensor

Due to the physical processes involved in slurry transport, the mixture does not behave like a normal Newtonian fluid. It is some non-linear viscous substance. At high speeds and low concentrations, it is similar to the carrier water. Slowing down, there is a certain critical speed, where there is a minimum hydraulic gradient. At that flow condition, the specific power consumption of moving a cubic meter of soil is the lowest. So, although working at critical speed is dangerous, it has its advantages: low fuel consumption and less wear. Actually seeing the mixture approaching this critical speed from the deposition is an interesting feature of this new density measuring sensor.

Explanation on slurry flow conditions, critical speed and specific power consumption
Explanation on slurry flow conditions, critical speed and specific power consumption

References

  1. CEDA Dredging Days 2019, CEDA
  2. Next generation marine aggregate dredger as platform for innovation and basis for fleet renewal, CEDA
  3. Damen unveils Marine Aggregate Dredger, Damen
  4. Regeling bekendmaking rechtvaardiging gebruik van ioniserende straling, Staatscourant
  5. Project ¡VAMOS! Let’s Go Real!
  6. Real time production efficiency based on combination of non-nuclear density and magnetic flow instrumentation, WEDA

See also