The Ulstein Thor is a project that would allow this ship to be a self-sufficient electric vehicle. In fact, she would become the supplier of many other ships.
The vast majority of mobility segments are observing and investigating different ways to reduce dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. This, however, presents great difficulty in some types of means of transport, such as air or sea. After all, the consumption of this type of vehicle is much higher, which would imply a significant reduction in the autonomy that they would be able to offer.
Even so, we are seeing how there are more and more projects that aim to a transformation of technology towards purely electric options. For a few years, the showcase to look at is the Yara Birkeland, which has become the first freighter not to rely on thermal engines. This case, however, is not unique. In fact, the first fully electric cruise ship, called Yangtze River Three Gorges 1, is already circulating in China. As you can see, there is a clear upward trend.
Well, today we want to show you how there is a project that could have, even more, a greater impact. This is so because the qualities offered by the Ulstein Thor, an imposing boat that draws attention for its imposing image. Even so, the most surprising thing is its mechanics, which is electrical and is powered by a thorium molten salt reactor (MSR). Thanks to this, it is capable of generating a greater amount of electrical energy.
Let us see, therefore, what are the main characteristics of the technology that it incorporates, why it may be an option that should be exploited over the next few years and, of course, to what extent we are facing a revolutionary product in the maritime environment. Are we facing the end of conventional fuels on the high seas? Here are some of the keys to this curious sustainable boat.
A boat designed to offer backup electricity to other boats
The first thing that catches the attention of this boat is its 3 possibilities of use in the medium term. On the one hand, it will serve as a resupply vehicle, as well as carrying out research or even rescue activities. This triple function will stand out, above all, for having a wide endowment at the level of energy supply. For this reason, it could serve as support for assistance in crossings of other ships.
According to the information provided by TechEblog, we are facing a boat that stands out for having a somewhat peculiar design. The Ulstein Thor features technology that is specially designed to generate electricity self-sufficient, so it requires a large set of electric batteries to be able to keep it inside. In this way, we could be before a first deposit of electricity in movement.
We have the goals, the ambition and the environmental imperative to move to zero emissions operations, but, until now, we have not had the solution. We think ‘Thor’ could be the answer we’ve been looking for. Cathrine Kristiseter Marti, CEO of Ulstein.
As you can imagine, its applications on the high seas would allow this ship to act as a station for other ships, which would come to remain anchored to it for a few hours. After charging the respective batteries, they would continue their march, at the same time that Thor would take the opportunity to generate, still, a greater amount of electrical energy. Following this process, we could be facing a business model that would positively help achieve a faster electricity transition.
A risky bet that could propel the installation of electric motors
The electrification has a series of limitations in everything related to the maritime environment. The objective, therefore, seems quite clear. Reaching a number of orders with electrical mechanics is a process that will still take a few years, but the standardization of this type of measure could speed up the transformation. Even so, the density of the batteries should be improved, since increasing the autonomy is what will allow larger models to enjoy the benefits of the electric product.
The electric motor has proven to be an option with great potential in the sector. However, it is the battery pack that is the main problem. If it is not possible improve the technology available in this facet, the incorporation of these options would increase the chances of success of electrification. Even so, this ship, with a length of 100 meters, does not yet exist, but it could be a reality in a few days. Going from blueprint to reality will require research and investment.
The maritime environment is adapting to the new needs of the sector. Even so, it can be seen how clearly there is still a preference for conventional mechanics. Naturally, higher production costs continue to be the main problem for this new avenue of mobility. The existence of the Ulstein Thor is not assured, but if its production is confirmed, we would be facing a kind of floating power station.
Related topics: Motor