GL Exchange Forum – “Towards a Cleaner Maritime Industry”

Hamburg, Germany – In a world increasingly dominated by the need to reduce environmental impacts, what role does shipping have to play?

Technological solutions exist, but which will prove to be the most beneficial and cost effective, and which lie over the horizon? What impact will the other players in the marine and coastal realm have, as energy generation moves increasingly offshore? How can the industry best meet the challenges of reducing emissions, increasing efficiency, and minimising impacts? These themes were reflected in the presentations and the discussion at the GL Exchange Forum “Towards a Cleaner Maritime Industry” held at the Maritime Museum Hamburg last week.

An invited group of almost 70 representatives from the maritime industry, shipping companies, ship management agencies, shipyards, maritime journalists and stakeholders met to consider the future of the industry and hear presentations from GL experts and industry representatives. The guests were welcomed to the Forum by GL’s Hans-Günther Albers, who introduced the themes for the evening; the use of technology to reduce carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide emissions and the emissions reductions to be gained from existing and future technologies in the maritime industry.

Torsten Schramm GL COO gave an introductory presentation which gave a detailed survey of the challenges facing shipping as it seeks to reduce its impact on the air, coasts, water, and ocean spaces, both above and below water. He looked at the direct regulatory impact on the maritime industry and what the likely outcomes may be.

An inside perspective came from Harald Schlotfeldt, Managing Director of shipping company F. Laeisz. Mr Schlotfeldt presented some of the systems F. Laeisz has in place to recognise and reduce the environmental impact of the company and some of the measures to be taken in the future: including the introduction of a Ships Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) and Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM).

To respond to the CO2-emission challenge, breakthrough technologies need to be considered, said Dr. Pierre. C. Sames, Senior Vice President Strategic Research and Development of GL Maritime Services. He presented a design concept for a zero-emission container feeder vessel (pictured) which targets Northern European feeder services and uses liquid Hydrogen as fuel to generate power with a combined fuel cell and battery system. Dr. Sames explained the technology requirements of the concept and the commercial boundary conditions which would make it attractive in the future.

The design concept addresses typical feeder services with a full open-top 1,000 TEU intake and 160 reefer positions at a service speed of 15 knots. The vessel is powered by a fuel cell system which delivers up to 5 MW to two podded propulsors. A battery system provides peak power. Multiple type C tanks hold 920m3 of liquid Hydrogen to facilitate a roundtrip equivalent to ten full operating days.

The concept envisions that the liquid Hydrogen (LH2) would be produced offshore close to a wind farm. Surplus energy from the wind farm would be used for LH2 production. A 500 MW wind farm could produce LH2 for up to 5 container feeder vessels, estimated Dr. Sames. The cost for LH2 produced offshore is several times higher than currently used marine gas oil (MGO), however, it is expected that costs for MGO could be similar to costs for LH2 after 2025 if emission surcharges are introduced.

Not only far reaching options but concrete solutions were presented by GL Experts at the forum. Albrecht Grell’s presentation, GL’s Executive Vice President Maritime Solutions, laid out some of the ways in which emissions could be reduced with existing technologies, without sacrificing commercial viability. Mr Grell emphasised the importance of looking for a tailored solution to a company needs for each particular vessel and then making use of the most effective and worthwhile technologies from the tool box on offer. Ship owners and operators needed to prioritise individual systems which were easy to use, install and had short payback times, he said.

Mr Grell then highlighted some of GL’s solutions to increase ship efficiency; such as ECO Monitor, which provides easily identifiable and transparent breakdowns to help improve engine operation efficiency and ECO Assistant which provides trim optimisation for vessels.

Not only the maritime but the energy sector is looking to reduce emissions. What happens when these two intersect? Andrew Garrad, President of GL Garrad Hassan looked ahead to an increasingly crowded seascape, with the expansion of offshore energy generation, particularly offshore wind. Offshore wind is set to play an even greater role in energy generation, especially in the light of the current move away from nuclear power, and as wind farms grow and turbines grow with them. The continuing bottleneck in vessels able to deal with these ever larger installations meant that players in the maritime industry who were prepared to take the risks to develop vessels capable of dealing with the technological challenges of the next generation of turbines could reap great rewards, he said.

Source: GL Group