1. Where do you expect the JOSPA TUG “JT” to be used first?
The Jospa Tug (the “JT”) must introduce its natural strengths in innovative applications which are topical, where our tug can make challenging new applications economically viable and truly benefit the environment. The first, where the normal speed of the JT is ideal as slow is necessary,are:
* Ocean garbage clean-up where some hundreds of JTs could continuously sweep thousands of square km rubbish gyres clean of plastics.
* Towing of water bags or even icebergs from areas of plenty – Alaska and the Southern Seas of Antarctica – to areas of drought – southern California, the Arabian/Persian Gulf, and parts of Africa.
A more conventional early application is carrying low-value bulk materials such as sand and gravel to the sites of major projects. Also, bulk ores being moved from e.g. Brazil to China would be a target. In this case, logistics may need to be optimised for example by having a continuing procession of JT pulled barges to maintain the necessary stockpiles at minimum cost.
Experience gained over the first years with the JT may inspire modified designs and new applications.
2. Are these very limited applications, so it will be difficult for the JT to be commercial?
No. The shipping market is vast and any one application tends to be major. Success in even one of them would have major value. And the need is growing. Garbage/pollution, – are at very early days, ocean clean-up is only beginning. Water likewise, trials have been conducted based on using expensive tugs, population growth and climate change will help drive the need. Massive ocean movement of sands gravels and ores is growing as availability of nearby deposits declines.
3. What stage of readiness is the JT at?
The JT is at a very early stage where the tug action has been observed, the theory has ben investigated to validate it, and many ideas to develop it are being investigated. There are a series of well known steps to bring it to commercialisation. Because of its importance
funding support is expected from a variety of EU programmes as well as support from the Irish government and wider afield.
4. What is the roadmap to commercial deployment?
First Phase. Jospa is presently planning or tank tests at small scale and preparing the necessary model approx. 10m long. Time to completion is 4 – 6 months. This will characterise speeds and pulling forces for a variety of seas and conditions.
Second Phase. A wider range of tank tests follow, to study steering, survivability, and various refinements being planned. It’s very likely that a 2nd prototype will be built for phase based on the experiences of the first phase. Incorporation of the pilot tug will be included. A further 4 – 6 months.
Third Phase. Further design modifications and ideas will lead to production of a ¼ scale model 35- 40m long for sea trials. Experience suggests that adaptations might be made to the smaller scale model from time to time to test improvement ideas. 4 months.
Fourth phase: Deployment for ¼ scale sea trials at test site in Galway Bay Ireland. This should preferably run a full year to validate survivability in particular.
Fifth Phase – pre-commercialisation. Construction of full size approx. 150m long JT, perhaps 2-4 units, for full sea trials in 1 or two chosen applications.
While this is a programme of perhaps 3 years that is a relatively short time for a major new development. The phases may be telescoped to an extent, depending on progress and size of development resource available to Jospa (number of staff etc.). There could of course be unexpected delays, while these can’t be anticipated now that is the nature of unwelcome surprises.
5. Are any breakthroughs required to make it work
We believe not. Jospa has some novel items to incorporate, not yet disclosed, that will improve the JT, but all are essentially applications rather than novel untested theories. Jospa seeks the solid marine engineering that a suitable trade partner can bring.
6. What is the function of the ‘pilot tug’ in front of the JT
The function of the pilot is to apply a minimum pull to the JT that straightens out its spine and aligns the fins. This slight tension must be maintained at all times or the JT will lose synchronisation and lose way (i.e. stop).
7. Describe the Pilot Tug its advantages and disadvantages
In the first years it is intended that the pilot will be a standard type of diesel tug. Controls for the JT will be added to it.
Later it is intended that a purpose-built all-electric pilot tug will be developed and used. Power will come from PV panels running along the spine of the JT combined with a battery unit. The tugs propeller will be electrically driven. At this stage the JT system will be fully zero polluting and use zero fossil-fuel energy. There are already some craft that resemble the electric pilot,
Further versions of the pilot may prove desirable, e.g. one that couples intimately with the JT so that they are one integrated unit. A small diesel engine mounted at prow or stern (front or rere) of the JT would drive a propeller. This could also be far cheaper than a seagoing tug as pilot while the electric pilot tug is readied.
8. If the pilot stops for any reason will the JT ram it?
The speeds are low, typically 5.5km/hr., and as answered in 6 above the JT will ‘shut down’ i.e. not power ahead when the pilot’s tension ceases. Likewise the large towed object astern of the JT will just lose way. Any bumping will be minimal. It is possible collisions could occur in a severe storm……….but
9. Presumably it can only go one direction, can it change course?
On the contrary, and unlike wind-powered vessels it can go forwards with the waves and also in travel reverse at the same speed. When the pilot exerts a pull at the far end of the JT it travels into the waves.
Directional changes are made in the same way as ‘tacking’ by yachts and other sailing ships. The JT essentially can travel in any direction within 3600.
10. What are its advantages/disadvantages compared to other renewable energies, is it as limited in scope as sailing vessels?
Compared with e.g. sailing its advantages are its full 3600 directional ability and its massive pulling power. However its speed can never match that of a sailing ship, and it needs the fetch of a wide, open ocean.
11. Would ocean currents not overcome the speed of the JT?
Ocean currents are specific and well known. They are not nearly as strong as coastal currents. The JT is intended for ocean use. Managing the voyages of the JT to maximise the benefits of ocean currents and minimise unwanted effects will be useful.
12. What is the IP situation on the JT
Jospa’s IP is strong and can be discussed only when the interested party has FILLED OUT A SHORT QUESTIONNAIR E AND signed an “NDA” (non-disclosure agreement). LINK HERE FILL QUESTIONNAIRE & REQUEST NDA
13. Is there more IP to come?
Yes. Development suggests improvements, some of which will likely be IP.
14. What is an autonomous operation?
We have all heard of ’driverless cars’. For vessels the term ‘Autonomous Operation’ is used. Modern technology – GPS for accurate position, the Internet via satellites for two-way communication, radar, intelligent sensors – enable autonomous operation. Such technology is available now and is not overly expensive. It has much to recommend it instead of expensive manned operation in long tedious and sometimes arduous conditions.
15. How safe is it to operate?
The JT is inherently very safe as will be understood from the previous answers. The slow speeds are an advantage in this case. At the very very worst it could do no more than lose way and drift, while its weight will be comparatively very low and it will not have spillable pollutants. It would not be a threatening drifting object.
16. How will it deal with storms, debris at sea or fish?
This has been partly answered in the previous question. When more development has been done specific further storm mitigating measures are likely to be found. The loss of a tow line is no different than for any vessel but the JT may lend itself better to carry a redundant spare tow line or a safety as per land vehicles towing trailers.
17. How much will it cost to build?
It is too early to make useful estimates but the nature of its construction with its multiple identical fins, and the absence of an engine, suggest it will be extremely competitive.
18. Will there be different versions of the JT
Yes –as it must be at least one wavelength long its length will vary according to the intended location. A version to pull threatened wrecks away from rocks would have a particular lightweight design, and there are a number of configurations included in the IP. However the differences, save for the latter design, will be minimal from a design and manufacture point of view so extra costs would not arise.
19. Describe the pros and cons of the JT
Pros – minimal running expenses, no fuel costs, zero emissions, towing power, probably very competitive to build.
Con – slow speed, need for conventional tug when in coastal waters greater than for conventional vessels.
20. Describe the basis of the movement of the JT
Please ensure your loudspeakers are on when watching the video below:
Please click this link to view the Basis of Towing Video
21. Can you explain knots and units?
o Speeds (a table showing speeds in a number of units)