Nuclear Fuel Market for Marine Propulsion Systems: Overview
Marine industry is anticipated to grow during the forecast period as it is one of the largest means of transportation. This will increase the consumption of marine fuels. Combustible fuel is the primary means of powering a shop across the globe. However, harmful effects of unburnt fuel and air pollution are concerning factors for maritime. This is expected to increase the demand for nuclear fuel for marine propulsion systems.
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Maritime transport accounts for approximately 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and this is a major contributor to contamination close to ports and coastal areas, many researching organizations have been conducting research on alternative fuel for ships. Nuclear propulsion is proved to be a more efficient compared to other alternative fuels to combat the reliance on combustible fuel.
Nuclear Fuel Market for Marine Propulsion Systems: Key Growth Enablers
Nuclear fuel for marine propulsion systems is becoming increasingly popular due to its negligible emission through nuclear propulsion. Factors such as installation, maintenance, safety concerns for the crew and disposal cost were obstructing the use of nuclear as a fuel for marine propulsion system, however these hurdles are slowly being overshadowed, as more funds are being invested by many countries for marine industry worldwide. The nuclear reactor produces heat on the ship, which is used to generate steam that is used to power turbines.
Nuclear fuel can be used in two ways for propulsion such as in combination with conventional marine fuels and an only fuel on the tanker. The percentage of conventional fuel substituted with nuclear fuel will have a direct impact on the vessel’s emissions including greenhouse gases. For marine propulsion nuclear fuel can be of different type depending on the fusion capability such as thorium, uranium and plutonium.
Nuclear Fuel Market for Marine Propulsion Systems: Segmentation
The global nuclear fuel market for marine propulsion systems can be segmented on the basis of different types of propulsion used on ships and vessels that need to be self supporting for extended periods without refueling such as ultra large crude carriers (ULCC) and very large crude carriers (VLCC). The U.S. was the pioneers of nuclear fuel as marine propulsion in 1940 and after the success of the research; first nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus began its voyage in 1955. Later on this technology was similarly implemented for cargo and other vessels. Britain, France and Germany in Europe are spending on R&D to use nuclear fuel for marine propulsion systems. China has also initiated research on the use of nuclear energy for marine propulsion. The Russian fleet known as ice-breaker is one example, where nuclear power is fully adapted operating in the northern sea route.
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Environmental concerns, stringent emission norms, availability of fossil fuels, cost of conventional fuels and energy security are some of the factors driving the global nuclear fuel market for marine propulsion systems. Some of the regions that are likely to provide lucrative opportunity for nuclear fuel for marine propulsion systems includes North Sea, the Baltic, Sea of Marmara, Hong Kong, parts of the coastline of Guangdong in China and a zone extending 200 nautical miles from the coastline of North America due to stringent emission norms.
Some of the key players for nuclear propulsion retrofitting and new installation are China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, General Electric and Babcock International Corporation.