Fusion powered container vessel concept

Fusion powered container vessel concept

Motivated by cost pressure and environmental concerns, the concept study explored how a future fusion-powered fast and ultra-large container vessel (FPCV) would technically and economically perform in an assumed east-Asia to Europe container transport scenario.

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'Ultra large' container vessels (ULCVs) trade today between east-Asia and Europe, passing the Suez Canal with frequent port calls with typical average speed of 18 knots. For the FPCV, trade routes with only five port calls per round trip were considered, including round Cape of Good Hope. Capital cost estimates for the FPCV included the fusion system, steam system, electrical system, hull and outfitting. Operational cost estimates included Suez Canal fees, CO2 emission costs, and for FPCV additional crew and maintenance, lower container capacity, and express service gains.

The reference case used IMO-compliant low sulphur fuels and three fuel price scenarios were evaluated. A string of FPCVs showed lower cumulated costs than the reference case after five years, eventually saving about 1 billion USD after 15 years compared to the reference case at reference fuel prices. The high/low fuel price scenarios change breakeven to 3/10 years, respectively.

The difference between FPCV via Suez Canal and Cape of Good Hope is small. In summary, the FPCV offers lower transport cost, faster service, and zero emissions to air.

Fusion technology might offer an additional pathway for reaching IMO green-house gas (GHG) targets while removing business uncertainty due to fuel cost volatility.

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