Stena Bulk has unveiled its concept InfinityMAX hybrid bulk carrier design to facilitate the implementation of zero-carbon, sustainable, multi-modal vessel design in the shipping industry.

The InfinityMAX concept, which is designed to carry both dry and wet cargoes in modular compartments, is built with several new core principles that, accumulatively, represent a ‘paradigm shift’ in cargo transportation, the company said.

The ultra-flexible, zero-emissions design has been created in response to the ‘huge challenges’ that the global shipping industry faces in the coming decades.

In a proposed advancement that could be considered as impactful as containerisation was for intermodal freight trade, the creation of standardised and modular cargo units that can carry dry bulk, liquid bulk or liquified gas products will significantly streamline the process of transporting wet and dry bulk cargoes.

Each of the modular cargo units is designed to be totally self-sufficient in terms of its energy use, with wind turbines and solar panels generating all the electricity needed for internal systems.

The modular units have also been designed to be able to be dropped off outside ports and picked up by tugs, avoiding congestion and reducing call times, according to the company.

The new concept, which will use hydrogen as a marine fuel and wind turbines to generate further energy, could come into service between 2030 and 2035, with the right level of matured technologies.

Collapsible wing sails and a shark skin hull have also been incorporated in the concept design to improve efficiency.

Although the vessels will be crewed for safety and flexibility reasons, Stena Bulk has designed the concept to be semi-autonomous.

That will improve crew wellbeing, with less hard labour and more focus on monitoring and interaction with operators ashore.

The new design will drive improved world fleet utilisation and the potential for more standardised supply chains, as well as cutting the unnecessary environmental impact of empty tanks being shipped around the world in search of new cargo.

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