Berge Bulk revealed as second shipowner to invest in budding British atomic power venture

James Marshall-led Berge Bulk has been revealed as the second shipowner to invest in Core Power, a British firm developing advanced atomic power solutions for shipping.

Splash reported in May that Tim Hartnoll-led X-Press Feeders, the largest independent common carrier in the world, had bought into Core Power, one of six shipowners to have invested into the technology as of two months ago. As of today, Core Power has managed to get investments from 36 entities, of which Splash understands more than half come from shipping-related entities. Details of the other shipowners have yet to be revealed.

Mikal Bøe-led Core Power, together with Bill Gates-chaired TerraPower, Southern Company and French atomic group Orano, is developing a modular molten salt reactor (m-MSR) to propel ships and provide reliable energy for manufacturing synthetic green fuels from hydrogen. The first prototype reactor is due to start trials in 2025.

When contacted, a spokesperson for Core Power said that the shareholding of the company is a matter of public record, but that Core Power has a policy of not discussing details of any of its stockholders.

Berge Bulk is far ahead of most shipping companies in terms of its pledge to go green having set a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2025 at the latest.

Marshall, the CEO of Berge Bulk, told sister title Splash Extra last September: “Atomic technology is interesting but I wouldn’t say imminent. There are a number of possible solutions to zero carbon emissions and in a stressed planet atomic batteries powered by safe and new molten salt reactors are worth including in these potential solutions, whether to power production of synthetic fuels on shore or in the longer term and if proven safe as a direct power source.”

Splash reported last week that Berge Bulk has launched a pilot test on its 262,583 dwt ore carrier, Berge K2, to trial the maritime application of solar technology.

This test installation produces around 100 kilowatts of electrical power, which is fed into the main electrical grid on the ship to supplement the ship’s diesel alternators.

Through the test, Berge Bulk is observing and assessing how the panels withstand the stresses while at sea and during in-port cargo operations. Following the pilot, the company plans to evolve the trial to a 1,000 kilowatts installation.

Starting this year, the company is offering clients an option for carbon neutral cargo delivery via offsets.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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