20 Jun 2024
by Amy McLellan

Future of sustainable shipping to be explored in depth

Redesigned and relaunched for 2024, IMarEST’s member-led Annual Conference is set to bring the engineering, science, and technology communities together once again.

Covering hot button topics like new fuels and AI, this one-day event (Future of Ships, Shipping and Environmental Sustainability) is a highlight in the IMarEST calendar, creating opportunities for members to expand their know-how, extend their professional network and help shape the future of this strategic sector.

And this year’s theme couldn’t be more apt, as stakeholders from across the maritime industries tackle the vast challenges presented by net zero commitments while also getting to grips with disruptive technologies changing our world.

As the professional body for scientists, engineers, and technologists, IMarEST needs to be front and centre in these debates, says Stephen Hall, FIMarEST, who will be speaking at the event to update delegates on the ambitious Seabed 2030 challenge.

“As new technologies become available for ship propulsion and higher standards begin to apply for existing ships, IMarEST has a key role to play in helping ensure the best professional standards are applied throughout the global maritime community,” says Hall.

The conference, which takes place in Southampton on Tuesday, July 9, will feature plenary keynotes and lively panels. Organised into three tracks – Technology, Human Contribution and Environment – the conference allows delegates to ‘pick and mix’ their own agenda.

This is an event that is leaning into the future, with the agenda spanning a wide range of issues including the diverse fuel landscape, the intricate web of regulations and politics that influence alternative fuels, the challenges of decommissioning and recycling marine infrastructure and the issues arising from increasingly autonomous operations.

There’s something for everyone, from well-known industry influencers to early career ocean professionals.  “I’m looking forward to learning more about surface ship autonomy, maritime cybersecurity and the possibilities of new nuclear propulsion,” enthuses Hall.

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Nuclear coming to the fore

On the latter subject, there will be a presentation by Tobi Menzies, Director of Business Development at CORE POWER, who will outline the potential of advanced reactors in a maritime setting when compared to eFuels, the acceptance criteria for new nuclear technologies on a floating asset and look at a hypothetical nuclear-electric bulk carrier of the future.

“Both the maritime and nuclear industries stand on the brink of a new era,” claims Menzies. “With the rise of new nuclear technologies, the maritime sector can finally address its huge dual challenge of meeting global climate goals whilst improving energy efficiency.”

Menzies is looking forward to addressing some common misconceptions. “We know nuclear at sea works well,” he states. “Over 700 reactors have operated at sea, enduring the harsh environments of the world’s [choppiest] oceans.”

These marine reactors are based on naval reactor technology, however, and deployment in ports and nearshore environments will require new nuclear technologies that meet certain key criteria. “We need a new set of standards and regulations that can be an appropriate framework for deploying that technology,” concludes Menzies.

The day will round out with a series of roundtables, covering big themes including the responsible use of AI in shipping, human-centred shipbuilding and demystifying decarbonisation.

“Having the three different streams running alongside each other allows for a lot of scope to switch between different themes and subject areas easily,” says Menzies. “It should be a great event.”

Tell us what you think about this article by joining the discussion on IMarEST Connect.

Book your ticket for the Future of Ships, Shipping and Environmental Sustainability Annual Conference.

Main image: world’s first green methanol enabled container vessel; credit: Shutterstock.

Inline image: Tobi Menzies, Director of Business Development at CORE POWER; credit: CORE POWER.