Rik van Hemmen's blog

We discussed hydrogen generation techniques in our 2014 guest blog by Matt Stern. Since that time, the world has continued its fascination with this element, and recent developments show some interesting progress. 

 

Our present intern Karley Hildin provides an update:

 

One really interesting example is a project taking place in Orkney, an island chain in the Northern Isles of Scotland (Figure 1).  Orkney has been leading the way in energy innovation since its first commercial wind turbine was built in 1951.  Since then, the islands have accumulated 700 wind and 350 solar generators.  Their renewable energy generation has been so successful that it exceeds Orkney’s electricity demand and now they are looking at energy export.

 

So, what is their solution to an overabundance of electricity? Actual transportable sustainable hydrogen production.

 

                     Figure 1. Orkney, Scotland

 

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It is a pleasure to introduce Michael Raftery as a member of the M&O consultant team.

 

Mike is an ex-Navy SeaBee diver who studied Oceanography under the GI Bill. After graduation, he worked as a space launch manager and then obtained his Master’s Degree in Ocean Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he performed cutting edge research and design on Wave Energy Recovery systems, ultimately culminating in the award of his patent on a novel wave energy recovery approach.

 

Over the years M&O has become continually more involved in ocean structures and sustainability issues. Mike’s background in ocean engineering and wave energy recovery will significantly enhance the depth of M&O’s knowledge and experience in those fields. He is still an active diver instructor and has vast experience in underwater installation and construction projects.

 

Besides working on the typical basket of M&O projects, Mike will be particularly active in the fascinating field of Ocean Wave Energy Recovery.

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It is a pleasure to introduce David Del Corso as a member of the Martin & Ottaway consulting team.

 

David is a 2015 US Merchant Marine Academy Marine Engineering graduate and, after stints as a ship's engineer and design engineer, has joined Martin & Ottaway to reinforce the junior engineer echelon.

 

Martin & Ottaway has survived and thrived since 1875 by carefully nurturing its talent to provide a continuous level of the highest quality of surveying and consulting services. We achieve this by combining deep experience with highly motivated young talent who know that the path to senior engineer status is hard, but deeply satisfying when engaged in new challenges every day.

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May Paper: Engineering Ethics Clashes and Crashes

 

Presenter: Hendrik "Rik" van Hemmen, President of Martin & Ottaway, Inc.

 

Both licensed engineers and SNAME members function under a code of ethics. While it may not occur often, just about every engineer will occasionally encounter ethics challenges and proper conduct under those challenges can mean the difference between professional respect and career suicide. This presentation discusses the various applicable codes and provides examples of situations where the use and application of the code can assist engineers in doing the right thing.

 

 

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It is a pleasure to introduce Capt. Leonard Pucci as a member of the M&O consultant team.

 

I have known Lenny for many years, and worked with him on quite a number of projects. Besides providing our standard basket of services (particularly in the Rhode Island area, where he will be based), Lenny’s area of specialization is in large yachts. Lenny is a rare combination of a 3000 ton licensed Master, who has captained many large yachts, and a University of Michigan Naval Architect and Marine Engineering graduate. 

 

Most recently he has been the project manager on a number of successful very large yacht projects in the US and abroad, and he will continue to provide those services in addition to working on other M&O projects.

 

Lenny and I first started working together on the 1987 Eagle America’s Cup campaign; but, as is well known, the only way to make a small fortune in yacht design is to start with a large fortune. Therefore, when the America’s Cup campaign was winding down, Lenny and I had to look for new ways to make a living.

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A week or so ago, for a minute, Lenny Pucci and I were thinking about jointly owning a sailboat. That immediately raised the next question: Well, what kind of sailboat?

 

I did not hesitate, and immediately suggested a Freedom 44. To me it is one of the most useful sailboats out there.

 

Fortunately, our boat owning fever subsided quickly, and we returned to our normal state of boat ownership immune response.

 

But, for a second, I felt a certain lightness in my heart about finally having my hands on a substantial sailboat with freestanding masts.

 

I love freestanding masts. They are a design miracle that continues to be ignored by the larger sailing community. To us regular sailors, there are too many advantages (my favorite is to be able to tack upwind in a narrow channel without putting my cup of coffee down).

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I am not sure if I have ever expounded on my theory on the path to the middle class in the M&O blog. The theory is simple: Only maritime provides a reliable path to the middle class for those who seek it. There are very good technical and economical reasons for that assertion, which I may make the subject of another blog some time in the future. Meanwhile, find me a solid middle class anywhere in the world, and I will bet that maritime had an important role in it.

 

Unfortunately, in the US, we have lost our connection with that reality, and our middle class is weakening as I am writing this, but, fortunately, there are people out there who are willing to make an effort to fix the problem.

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The collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge will undoubtedly result in some serious soul searching by the engineering community. In looking at it from the outside, my first gut instinct tells me that there was an error in the structural analysis of this rather pretty, but really quite complex structure, while it was only partially installed. I suspect this structure was designed with the use of a finite element (FEM) program, and since it is a non-conventional reinforced concrete structure, the analysis is far from straight forward. I could very well be wrong, but, at this stage, I suspect that the program misinterpreted, or did not recognize, a failure mode in the erection stage that eventually resulted in the collapse.

 

I am tending towards such a conclusion, because in the last few weeks I have been struggling with a weird result in a fancy hydrostatics program. We were analyzing the sinking of a small sportfishermen and trying to determine what happened in the last few seconds before sinking. 

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As American parents, my wife and I went through the usual terrors of teaching the offspring to drive.

 

Once we were reasonably sure our youngest could drive on her own, she asked us if we would pay for her Street Survival class. We had never heard of this program, and this is a shame, because it turned out it is one of the greatest training programs I have ever seen.

 

Street Survival was the brain child of sports car enthusiast in the US who realized that, because young drivers never had driven their car at the performance edge, they were bound to fail if they found themselves at a performance edge emergency.  (Think of a young driver flipping the car while trying to avoid a deer crossing the road.)

 

With support of a number of automotive supply companies, these sports car enthusiasts developed a one day program that they run themselves. For very little money ($95), young drivers will be exposed to an effective and fun learing experience that can truly save their lives, but, besides that, the program also provides useful training ideas for other training programs, including maritime.

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Capt. Terry Ogg published a thoughtful article on safety culture and training on LinkedIn. The title is “Why it's time to deep-six our current safety culture,” but within the article he provides an even better meme: The Whac-a-Mole Safety Game.

 

The meme explains the tendency to simply hit at every possible human error that occurs and to paper it over with new procedures. Capt. Ogg, instead, advocates the cognitive approach. He is speaking about training highly functioning humans who have a desire to stay alive and can figure out how to do that regardless of the situation they find themselves in. To me that is the classic definition of a mariner: A human who goes away on ships and through training, experience and intelligence manages to deal with the natural unpredictability and complexity of the seas and make it back in one piece, and does this time and time again.

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