2006-2007 Projects

  • Main Report: GLMRI Annual Report (Oct. 2006 – Oct. 2007)
  • Tab 1: Hydrodynamic Optimization Testing of Ballast-Free Ship Design Click to Download
    Michael G. Parsons, University of Michigan
    The current phase of this research project focuses on the further hydrodynamic investigation of the Ballast-Free Ship concept; both experimental and numerical. The experimental investigation was performed by utilizing the Seaway-size bulk carrier model that was designed and built as part of the initial phase of this project; also sponsored by the GLMRI. The resistance and propulsion tests were performed in the towing tank of the University of Michigan Marine Hydrodynamic Laboratory in January 2007. The numerical investigation was performed utilizing commercial CFD software, namely FLUENT.

    The computational results were utilized both as guidance for the experimental setup and also to corroborate the experimental results. Specifically, the selection of the trunk flow inlet and outlet locations utilized in the towing tank experiments was guided by the numerical results. The ballast trunk flow inlet was located in the center of the bulbous bow. Two different locations were tested for the water discharge: one at the level of the upper part of the propeller disk close to Station 17 (near the forward engine room bulkhead, full scale) and one lower close to Station 19 (near the aft engine room bulkhead).

    The experiments in the towing tank consisted of detailed resistance and propulsion testing with and without the ballast trunk flow. The analysis of the model test data revealed that the experimental results were in good agreement with the numerical results. Overall, discharging water at the stern of the model slightly increases ship resistance, but proper design of the discharging arrangements can overcome this negative effect. Another source of modest ship resistance increase is the trunk inlet at the bow. Given the limited positive-pressure region at the bow of the vessel, an inlet location other than that currently utilized will probably result in a significant reduction in the available pressure differential, without providing a noteworthy benefit in terms of ship resistance.

    Nonetheless, the proper water discharge at the stern of the vessel has a favorable effect on the propulsion characteristics for the Seaway-size bulk carrier design investigated. The computed reduction in powering requirements, relative to the initial unmodified design, at an assumed ballast speed of 15.5 knots was 7.3% for water discharge close to Station 17 and 2.1% for water discharge close to Station 19. This gain in propulsive efficiency outweighs the increase in ship resistance. The method utilized for computing the ship propulsive requirement is based on a well-established extrapolation procedure that contains significant levels of uncertainty; therefore, only a full-scale implementation of the concept can provide a precise determination of the actual propulsive gains.

    In order to investigate the economic benefit of the aforementioned propulsive improvements, a pragmatic operating scenario for the grain trade to Europe was adopted for the Ballast-Free bulk carrier. The change in the Required Freight Rate (RFR) with respect to an alternative filtration and UV ballast treatment system was calculated. The net savings would be $0.93 per ton of cargo for the water discharge close to Station 17 and $0.44 per ton of cargo for the water discharge close to Station 19. The overall ship design would also benefit from placement of the water discharge near the forward engine room bulkhead. A different operating scenario could result in even lower savings. Nevertheless, cost-effectiveness combined with a numerically-demonstrated foreign-ballast-elimination capability confirms the Ballast-Free Ship concept as a viable alternative to more costly ballast treatment systems. Even though the current project focuses on a smaller Seaway-size bulk carrier, the concept should also be applicable to other new-construction ships of different types and sizes.
  • Tab 2: Expanding Regional Freight Information Resources for the Upper Midwest Phase II: Implementation of the Great Lakes Maritime Information Delivery System Click to Download
    Peter S. Lindquist, University of Toledo
    This phase of the project is a continuation of a long-term endeavor to develop and maintain a comprehensive data repository and information clearinghouse for the maritime industry in the Great Lakes. The system will serve as a central focus for diverse interests within the industry and is designed to support the promotion of sustainable maritime transportation in the region. The first major function of the system involved the acquisition, management and exchange of data for dissemination to analysts within the industry. In addition, the system also provides a central location for the dissemination of information for public policy decisions and for drawing the linkage between maritime freight movements, economic viability, and environmental quality throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

    Furthermore, this system will serve as an effective tool for evaluating intermodal transportation opportunities in the Great Lakes Region; it can be used to model flows between modes to improve the flow of commodities within the region and to minimize environmental impacts. This project started with the development of a comprehensive GIS-based freight database for the Upper Midwest Freight Corridor Study (Midwest FreightView). The maritime database has thus been added to the existing database and provides a framework for establishing intermodal connections between waterborne transportation and other modes in the region. This location-based GIS database will remain as the core for the maritime transportation database in this project, but we will expand the information delivery system beyond this geographic focus to include text, tabular, graphic and prepared maps for users.

    Finally, significant effort has been devoted to acquiring, managing and storing detailed economic data to document patterns of activity among all of the economic sectors linked to freight movements. This resource will be a multidimensional web-based delivery system designed to support the following functions:
    • A detailed data repository for vessel movements, port functions, commodity flows, economic activities and environmental impacts, etc.,
    • A GIS data viewer for advanced users to view and analyze a variety of data,
    • An information delivery site for maps, tables, graphics, text and other features,
    • An information clearinghouse and centralized data facility to furnish links to other information resources, private vendors furnishing commercial products, and government agencies,
    • A data exchange to support user inquiries and furnish information on demand.
    This system has been launched on an initial web prototype and will be continuously updated over the next phase of the project.
  • Tab 3: A Review of the Great Lakes Shipbuilding and Repair Capability – Past, Present and Future Click to Download
    David J. Singer, University of Michigan
    The study presented addresses the research area of Economics and Development of the Great Lakes Marine Transportation System and specifically Concepts to Expand Great Lakes Ship Repair and Shipbuilding. The study’s goal is to provide an analysis of past, present and potential capabilities for the ship repair and shipbuilding on the Great Lakes that will be useful for future ship repair and shipbuilding research and planning projects.

    Preliminary findings have been mixed. The Great Lakes shipbuilding industry has a meaningful history, especially in WWII. Except in a few cases, such as the luxury yacht market, in recent years the Great Lakes has suffered from the same plight as the rest of the U.S. shipbuilding industry. There are only a few viable shipbuilding facilities and repair facilities still in business. Occasionally new companies try to enter the ship repair business without much success. Even with protective markets and government contracts, the low and unstable demand and more lucrative business opportunities for local governments the U.S. shipbuilding industry, including the Great Lakes, are not competitive in the international commercial shipbuilding market. To compete in this market, significant investments would be needed in the facilities, technology, and people.

    Another similarity between the Great Lakes shipbuilding when compared to the U.S. shipbuilding industry is the missed opportunities to gain market share in niche markets such as ferries, high-speed vessels, and unique non-steel vessels. The same factors that made U.S. shipbuilding noncompetitive also eliminated those possible opportunities for the Great Lakes.

    From a facility capacity perspective, the Great Lakes region has potential excess capacity. Legacy piers, graving and floating dry docks, and general heavy industry infrastructure exist within the states surrounding the Great Lakes. The major issues that the researchers feel inhibit the viability of Great Lakes shipbuilding are the lack of the necessary skilled labor and technical engineering talent needed to either create a new market or compete in the existing general commercial market. Some have commented that the current U.S. Navy and Coast Guard needs could be used to "jump start" the Great Lakes shipbuilding industry recovery. The authors feel that this is a highly unlikely option given the fact that the government, for national security reasons, needs to focus on the currently operating US shipyards to make them more cost effective.

    Even though the expansion of shipbuilding as a major industry within the Great Lakes does not look reasonable if no policy, legislation, or funding changes are made, the ship repair business seems to be viable, but again demand is currently met by existing facilities. As the Great Lakes fleet ages, ship owners are opting to convert and repair the vessels, including major machinery upgrades, instead of replacing the vessels. The skills required to maintain a ship repair business are vastly different than shipbuilding, and are better suited for the seasonally variable employee profile that currently exists in the region.
  • Tab 4: The Effect of Long-Term Cold Storage on Biodiesel Blends Click to Download
    Daniel N. Pope, University of Minnesota Duluth
    The current project consists of two parts; the identification of the potential issues involved with the shipboard use of biodiesel blends, and the development of a long-term cold storage test and subsequent testing of biodiesel blends. The two parts of the project were conducted concurrently and in collaboration with fuel suppliers and carriers.

    A review of typical diesel-powered ship systems was performed. In general, long-term cold storage of biodiesel blends is a concern in the following shipboard systems.
    • Hatch/Deck Crane – This system has a low fuel turnover rate and is exposed to the external environment.
    • Lifeboat Power Pack – This system has a low fuel turnover rate and is exposed to the external environment.
    • Fuel Bunker and Main Engines – Even if heavy fuel oil (IF 280) is used as the primary fuel in the main engines, one fuel bunker is generally filled with no. 2 diesel near the end of the shipping season. Test results indicate that particulates may form in the fuel if a high percentage biodiesel blend (greater than B20) is used during winter layup.
    A long-term cold storage test was developed and results were presented for two different temperature ranges (23-25°F and 30-32°F). The test covered a period of four weeks and included a storage tank test for density variation via hydrometer testing of top and bottom tank samples, and the use of small samples to visually check for preferential gelling of the biodiesel component. The results of the long-term cold storage test indicate the following.
    • The hydrometer tests indicated no measureable density difference between the top and bottom tank samples and thus no separation of the biodiesel component. This result was consistent for both temperature ranges.
    • Particulate formation and settling was observed for a B50 blend in both the small sample and the bottom tank sample. This result was consistent for both temperature ranges.
    • Blends up to B20 exhibited good cold storage characteristics for both temperature ranges.
    • The flash point and viscosity of the small samples in the 23-25°F cold storage test were determined at the end of the test. All of the samples met the required fuel specifications.
    An additional test to determine the effect of a common cold flow additive on biodiesel blends was also conducted. The test utilized small samples of no. 2 diesel, B5, B10, B20, B50, and B100 both with and without the additive. Sample temperatures were varied from 45°F to -9°F in 3°F increments. The samples were kept at each new temperature for a minimum of 24 hours to achieve thermal equilibrium. Visual inspection of the small samples and a review of the results established the following.
    • The additive had a noticeable effect on the temperature at which a given biodiesel blend begins to gel. This was particularly evident for the B100 sample.
    • The relatively simple procedure employed for this test yielded results for the B10, B5, and no. 2 diesel samples that appear to be inconsistent with the average cloud point of no. 2 diesel (3°F).
    • Additional testing of a more quantitative nature could be undertaken to identify the appropriate mixture fraction of additive for each biodiesel blend.
    There were several observations made during the tests that merit further investigation. The following additional work is therefore recommended to provide more detailed information.
    • The chemical composition of the particulates formed in the B50 sample during the cold storage test should be determined.
    • A filtration test using the samples from the cold storage test should be performed to check for particulates that could potentially plug fuel filters.
    • A quantitative test to determine the appropriate mixture fraction of cold flow additive for each biodiesel blend should be performed. The test would consist of measuring the cloud point, pour point, and cold filter plugging point of biodiesel blends with varying mixture fraction of additive.
  • Tab 5: Structure of Bacterial Communities Associated with Accelerated Corrosive Loss of Port Transportation Infrastructure Click to Download
    Randall E. Hicks, University of Minnesota Duluth
    Steel sheet piling material used for docks, bridges and bulkheads in the Duluth-Superior harbor has been reported to be corroding at an accelerated rate. Corroded areas on steel sheet pilings in this harbor have an orange rusty appearance characterized by blister-like, raised tubercles on the surface. These tubercles vary in diameter from a few millimeters to several centimeters and when removed, large and often deep pits are revealed. This pattern of corrosion is consistent with the appearance of microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). Using a community DNA fingerprinting method called T-RFLP, we demonstrated that bacterial communities on corroded steel sheet pilings in the most affected part of this harbor were different from bacterial communities on these structures at a less affected area just outside the harbor. Siderooxidans lithoautotrophicus, a microaerophilic chemotrophic bacterium that oxidizes Fe2+ to Fe3+, was repeated isolated from the corroding structures. Sequencing the 16S rDNA gene of bacterial clones indicated that the majority of bacteria on the surfaces of steel pilings at the corroded sites examined were from three bacterial phyla, the β and α Proteobacteria, and Cyanobacteria. This clonal analysis also indicated the presence of a bacterium most similar to an iron-reducing bacterium (Rhodoferax ferrireducens), which can grow well at the low temperatures (4°C) seasonally encountered in this harbor. Although we cannot provide conclusive evidence that these iron bacteria are the causative agents of the accelerated corrosion in this harbor, our preliminary results indicate that the corroding steel structures are covered by complex microbial biofilms that contain bacteria of the type responsible for corrosion of steel in other environments.
  • Tab 6: Testing Relationships between Propagule Pressure and Colonization Success of Invasive Species Click to Download
    Donn K. Branstrator, University of Minnesota Duluth
    This multi-year project addresses the issue of ballast water treatment by examining the efficacy of the standards that will be applied concerning permissible levels of biological pollution. The main objective of this project is to measure relationships between propagule pressure and colonization success of zooplankton in the Duluth-Superior Harbor and St. Louis Estuary through dose-gradient experiments that bracket International Maritime Organization standards.

    The objective of this first year of work was to characterize the density and diversity of crustacean zooplankton in the Duluth-Superior Harbor and St. Louis Estuary, a first step in developing the experiments. Twelve locations were selected for sampling. These reflected a random, geographic distribution spanning from the Oliver Bridge to the Duluth Entry. On each of 10 dates between April and October, 2007, the 12 locations were sampled during day time for crustacean zooplankton and a variety of physical and chemical variables. The same set of locations will be sampled again on 10 dates in 2008.

    Preliminary data analysis indicates strong gradients in temperature, water clarity and primary productivity across the 12 sampling locations, but little variation in dissolved oxygen concentration. Densities of individual species of zooplankton peak during midsummer which may be explained in part by seasonal variation in water temperature. Zooplankton composition and density show spatial gradients that may be the result of mixing with Lake Superior, but may also reflect variation in the degree of ballast water exchange from ships. Additional data and data analysis will permit us to test this hypothesis. A second year of sampling and analysis will permit us to develop a solid picture of the spatial and temporal characteristics of the zooplankton assemblage in the Duluth-Superior Harbor and St. Louis Estuary. This will provide the context necessary to carry out the other objectives of this project.
  • Tab 7: Multibeam Bathymetry Survey of the Duluth-Superior Harbor Click to Download
    Richard D. Ricketts, Nigel J. Wattrus, and Steven M. Colman, University of Minnesota Duluth
    This project is a continuation of the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) 2006 project, ‘Feasibility study: Usefulness of modern acoustic methods to the maritime industry in relation to changes in water depth in the Great Lakes’ by Colman and Ricketts. We used state-of-the-art acoustic imaging techniques to address a fundamental issue for Great Lakes mariners: water depth in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. The project addresses the GLMRI focus area ‘Marine transportation and port environmental issues.’

    We collected high resolution multibeam bathymetry data and used the data to make detailed maps of water depth in the survey area. The data can be used to create ‘fly-through’ animations, although this has not yet been done with the data from the project. The results of the survey show a variety of features that may be of interest to the maritime industry, such as the configuration of the main basins in the harbor. Maximum water depths in the harbor are found in areas with the heaviest ship traffic, especially where freighters are expected to turn, for example just inside the Duluth and Superior entries, and in the northern section of the East Gate Basin. Anchor drag marks are found throughout the harbor and scour marks associated with water flowing in and out the harbor are found at both the Duluth and Superior entries.

    This type of survey can be used in other areas where water depth is critical, such as the St. Mary’s River near Sault St. Marie. Also the data collected here will be used as baseline data for comparison to data collected during any future surveys collected by the Large Lakes Observatory.
  • Tab 8: Great Lakes Maritime Transportation K-12 Education Program for Teachers, Students and Communities, Year 2 Click to Download
    Joan Schumaker-Chadde, Michigan Tech
    This project builds upon the successes of the Great Lakes Maritime Transportation education activities conducted by the Center in Year #1 of GLMRI funded support. Throughout the project the following activities were completed:
    • Conducted one 6-day Summer Teacher Institute in Duluth, MN, from July 29-August 3, 2007,
    • Maintained and enhanced K-12 Maritime Transportation Education website,
    • Developed Great Lakes Shipping Curriculum & Activity Guide for K-12 Educators,
    • Provided financial incentives for Institute participants to engage in educational outreach,
    • Developed and disseminated 12 Great Lakes Shipping education "chests" for schools and museums,
    • Attended state and national conferences to recruit institute participants and disseminated Great Lakes Maritime Transportation teaching tools,
    • Working on developing "F is for Freighter" children’s book on Great Lakes shipping.
  • Tab 9: Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation: Develop an Environmental Management System Model Click to Download
    Lynn Corson, Purdue University
    The American Great Lakes Ports Association has partnered with the Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana to examine the environmental management aspects of port operations, including the oversight of tenant operations that could negatively impact the environment.

    The research has been and will continue to be conducted via two-day site visits to 12 American and Canadian ports and interviews with port and tenant personnel, tours of port facilities and internet and other document research.

    The research will produce an environmental management system "model" for adoption by small, public ports and a compendium of best environmental management practices to prevent or reduce negative impacts on the environment from port and tenant operations.

    The research, through Phase 1, and the analysis of operations at four of the 12 ports revealed:
    • Environmental compliance of the port and its tenants appears to be influenced by a combination of management resources and community interest, as well as regulatory agency and corporate oversight;
    • The provisions of port lease agreements with tenants pertaining to environmental protection could be strengthened;
    • The issuance of environmental permits to ports and their tenants are not uniform among the states/provinces;
    • Few ports have initiated a "master" plan for controlling stormwater run-off and responding to spills/releases of hazardous materials, both of which are regulated activities;
    • Ports have engaged in environmental projects of various types, individually and with partners, affecting their property and neighboring property;
    • Community outreach programs to engage, involve and respond to the public vary considerably among the ports.
    Phase 2 of the research will include visits to eight American and Canadian ports to pursue the project purpose and objectives and refine the analysis of Phase 1 findings.
  • Full Report: 2006-2007 (45.6 MB) Click to Download

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Latest News:

Inland Waterways LNG Stakeholders Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri

The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) in conjunction with and support from the Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation, hosted a meeting of stakeholders to discuss the possibilities of using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a marine fuel for the inland waterways".

Third annual meeting on regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) potential held May 21st

LNG experts discussed LNG uses and the safety culture along with their experiences as current users. The afternoon panel highlighted the potential benefits of using LNG, themed "greening the supply chain". More details here.

Meeting to Discuss Base Local Demand and Siting for an LNG Liquefaction Plant

Potential LNG fuel users from mining, agricultural, trucking, rail and maritime sectors met to determine if there is sufficient base load demand within a 200 mile region to warrant development of an LNG liquefaction and fuel transport, storage and distribution network centered in Duluth/Superior. Work continues to consider siting and determine supply chain demand. Presentations from the meeting

Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Meeting Highlights

The SNAME Section meeting was held on Feb. 13-14 in conjunction with the Great Lakes Waterways Conference in Clevelandl. Read meeting highlights here