The “ULSTEIN THOR” Concept Is Zero Emission

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  • At the same time, the industry faces growing pressure from diverse stakeholders to preserve nature as it is and ban the environmental impact of cruising. ‘
  • MSRs are safe, efficient and operationally proven solutions that work by dissolving Thorium – an abundant, naturally occurring metal with low radioactivity – in liquid salt.
  • I’m excited to see where ‘Thor’ and ‘Sif’ can take us as we look to a zero-emissions horizon.

“ULSTEIN THOR,” a 149-meter 3R (Replenishment, Research, and Rescue) concept by Ulstein, has been unveiled. It will have a Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) to produce enormous amounts of clean, secure electricity as reported by Ulstein.

‘Thor’ new element 

This makes it possible for the ship to serve as a mobile power/charging facility for a new generation of battery-powered cruise liners.

The vessel design has the potential to bring the dream of zero-emission cruise operations to life. Ulstein thinks the notion, referred to as “Thor” from now on, maybe the final element needed to achieve zero emissions across a wide range of maritime and ocean industrial applications. Ulstein has also created the ULSTEIN SIF idea, a 100m length, 160 POB capacity, zero-emission adventure cruise ship, to show that it is feasible. This Ice Class 1C ship will be powered by cutting-edge batteries and use “Thor” to recharge while at sea.

Silver bullet discovery

“We have the goals, ambition and environmental imperative to switch to zero-emission operations, but, until now, we haven’t had the solution,” comments CEO Cathrine Kristiseter Marti, Ulstein. “

We believe ‘Thor’ might be the answer we’ve been looking for. 

“Expedition cruise ships operate in increasingly remote, and environmentally fragile, areas.”

At the same time, the industry faces growing pressure from diverse stakeholders to preserve nature as it is and ban the environmental impact of cruising. 

Thor’ enables replenishment of energy and supplies on-site, while also boasting the technology to facilitate rescue operations, as well as conducting research tasks.

The energy to transform

Thorium has been identified as having huge potential for a maritime industry hunting for clean alternative fuels.

MSRs are safe, efficient and operationally proven solutions that work by dissolving Thorium – an abundant, naturally occurring metal with low radioactivity – in liquid salt.

The ensuing chain reaction heats the salt, producing steam to drive a turbine and create electricity.

Ulstein, famed for innovating the revolutionary X-BOW® design, has seen an opportunity to change that, potentially heralding a new dawn of clean power for cruise and maritime operations.

‘Thor’s’ charging capacity has been scaled to satisfy the power needs of four expedition cruise ships simultaneously.’

Generating excitement

Speaking about the suitability of Thorium MSRs as an energy source for maritime applications, Jan Emblemsvåg, Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, an expert in the field of Thorium and nuclear power generation, notes: “MSRs have enormous potential for enabling clean shipping.

There is so much uncertainty over future fuels, but here we have an abundant energy source that, with the right approach, can be safe, much more efficient, cheaper, with a smaller environmental footprint than any existing alternative.”

“From my perspective, I see this as the most viable, and potentially the only credible, solution for a zero-emission fleet that can operate under commercial terms and cost levels.

The ‘Thor’ concept is exactly the kind of innovation we need for sustainable success at sea.”

An urgent conversation

Both ‘Thor’ and ‘Sif’ feature Ulstein’s eye-catching X-BOW® design, created for greater operability, comfort, operational functionality and fuel efficiency.

‘Thor’ features helicopter pads, firefighting equipment, rescue booms, workboats, autonomous surface vehicles and airborne drones, cranes, laboratories, and a lecture lounge.

The expedition cruise vessel ‘Sif’ can accommodate up to 80 passengers and 80 crew, offering silent, zero-emission expedition cruises to remote areas, including Arctic and Antarctic waters.

‘Thor’ and ‘Sif’ demonstrate what is possible when we approach challenges from a new direction.

“We have huge confidence in this solution and want to engage further in conversations about how we can enable the necessary changes the world demands”, adds Lars Ståle Skoge, Commercial Director at Ulstein Design & Solutions AS. 

Presented the Ulstein Thor concept today

Our team at Seatrade Miami presented the ‘ULSTEIN THOR’ concept today, from left commercial manager Lars Ståle Skoge, Naval Architect Torill Muren and Chief Designer Øyvind Gjerde Kamsvåg.

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Source: Ulstein

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