Global shipping and energy supply chain leader Crowley has joined forces with BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) through a memorandum of understanding to explore a groundbreaking ship concept with the potential to provide alternative, zero-carbon emission energy solutions for defense and disaster response needs. This innovative ship concept incorporates a microreactor on board.
Under the memorandum of understanding, Crowley and BWXT’s Advanced Technologies subsidiary will collaborate on the design, engineering, and development of new shallow-draft hull ships equipped with small-scale nuclear energy capabilities. These ships will utilize cutting-edge technology for factory-fabricated microreactors, making installation on the vessel straightforward. The onboard microreactor will supply energy to shoreside locations, including remote military bases, backup utility grids in disaster-stricken areas, and other scenarios where traditional electricity sources are compromised or unavailable.
The envisioned vessel is approximately 378 feet long and draws upon Crowley’s extensive logistics and marine expertise, including in-house vessel design through Crowley Engineering Services, as well as BWXT’s nuclear expertise, as a leading supplier of nuclear components, fuel, and services to the U.S. government for over six decades. Both Crowley and BWXT are long-established U.S. companies, with over a century of business history.
“This collaboration with BWXT marks Crowley’s entry into the nuclear energy sector, aligning with our commitment to sustainable, alternative energy sources. This concept aligns with the U.S. Department of Energy’s goal of maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear energy technology and supports several strategic objectives of the U.S. Department of Defense regarding operational energy,” stated Shiju Zacharia, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Crowley Government Solutions.
The new vessel concept combines traditional propulsion with a modular reactor ranging from 5 to 50 megawatts, which can be activated upon reaching the destination and easily transported after the power supply is no longer required. Buoyed power delivery cables will enable these ships to establish energy connections to the shore. Their shallow draft hulls enable strategic power delivery for military operations or during situations where harbor access is limited due to disasters.