‘Emission-free’ ship dismantling pilot launched

A pilot project that aims to make the dismantling of obsolete ships more sustainable is soon to get underway in Germany.

A ship breaking yard (PHOTO: ANT Applied New Technologies)

Waterjet cutting specialist ANT Applied New Technologies plans to utilise its waterjet technology at a site in Bremen, located north of Hanover, to carry out what it describes at “virtually emission-free” ship dismantling.

The pilot aims to build on a similar project that began in June of 2022, and will see the using of ANT’s waterjet abrasive suspension system, which is said to produce no CO2, fumes or slag.

A contactless cutting process, the system is also said to significantly reduce the risk of fires and explosions as it does not generate any heat or sparks.

According to the company, the waterjet abrasive suspension system can produce a high-pressure jet that cuts steel plates of up to one meter thickness at 2,500 bar, allowing 10-millimeter-thick ship steel to be cut at a speed of about 2 meters per minute.

“The extendable cutting system is remotely controlled and positioned close to the steel to be cut,” said the company, adding that the cutting jet consists of a suspension of water and an added abrasive that allows “even multi-layered materials and structures with cavities such as fixtures, insulation and cladding” to be easily cut.

“In contrast to conventional methods, the water jet can also work from the outside to the inside, so that no slag or paint chips can contaminate the surroundings and challenging materials remain safely inside the ship from where they can be collected and disposed of,” it added.

ANT says the technology, which does not cause material deformation, can facilitate the recovery of valuable raw materials that can be used for the production of climate-neutral steel.

“Every year hundreds of ships around the world are decommissioned and scrapped. The steel recovered from these ships is a valuable resource,” said ANT.

It added, “In the light of the ongoing shift to emission-free shipping and a growing world merchant fleet, a significant increase in scrapping activities is expected within the next 10 years. The number of vessels to be recycled is projected to grow from 7,780 ships in the last decade up to 15,000 ships.”

UN accord on ship recycling to start within two years More countries sign up for Hong Kong Convention for ship breaking regulations

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