Global shipping and energy supply chain provider Crowley has teamed with nuclear power provider BWX Technologies, Inc. through a memorandum of understanding for a ship concept that has the potential to generate alternative, zero-carbon emission energy for defense and disaster needs by including a microreactor on board.
The new memorandum of understanding with BWXT's Advanced Technologies subsidiary will allow both companies to jointly pursue and develop opportunities relative to the design, engineering and development of new shallow-draft hull ships that will supply small-scale nuclear energy to shoreside locations. The new ships would feature the latest technology available for factory fabricated microreactors, readily deployed into a shipyard configuration for ease of installation on the vessel. The onboard power plant would supply energy to shore facilities, such as military bases in remote island locations, backup utility grids after disasters, and provide power in other scenarios where traditional electricity sources are damaged or not possible.
The new vessel concept envisions a 378-foot ship that pulls from the logistics and marine capabilities of Crowley, a longtime operator with in-house vessel design by its Crowley Engineering Services, and the nuclear capabilities of BWXT, a leading supplier of nuclear components, fuel and services to the U.S. government at the highest levels of safety and security for more than 60 years. Both Crowley and BWXT are based in the United States and have been in business for more than a century.
This new vessel concept pairs traditional propulsion while carrying a modular reactor between 5 and 50 megawatts that can be activated upon arrival at the destination and be deactivated and transported after the power supply is discontinued. Buoyed power delivery cables will enable the ships to deploy energy connections to shore. Shallow draft hulls allow the vessels to maneuver to strategically deliver power for military activities or if disasters limit harbor access.