Passenger Ship Sustainability Unites the Industry to Reduce Emissions and Improve Fuel Efficiency
Chaired by Richard Vie, Former VP Technical Development and Quality Assurance, Carnival Corporation, Day 1 of the Passenger Ship Sustainability meeting brought the industry together to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.
In the morning we heard Tom Strang describe the initiatives Carnival is taking to improve the environmental performance of its ships. He described Carnival’s programme for fitting exhaust gas scrubbing systems and he gave an insight in to the design philosophy and investment decisions behind some of the company’s latest new buildings that will be powered entirely by LNG (liquefied natural gas).
We then heard from Erik Schumacher who was involved in the EU sponsored e4ships programme that looked at the use of fuel cells in marine applications. He described the work done to date and the developments that are continuing through the assistance of the German National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW).
Whilst this work is still very much at the concept development phase the possibilities to incorporate fuel cell technologies in to a hybrid power system, including batteries and internal combustion engines, appear promising as a means of reducing emissions.
The Port of Helsinki’s approach to environmental protection and sustainability was described by its CEO, Kimmo Mäki. He highlighted the many innovative ways in which the port, located in the centre of a major city, is addressing both the concerns of the surrounding population and the needs of its customers, the ships using the harbour. He demonstrated that a considered approach and incentives for better environmental protection practices can bring benefits for all stakeholders.
We then held a panel discussion to debate the issues surrounding the Ballast Water Convention. It was interesting and enlightening and helped to obtain a better understanding of where we are now and the future path towards compliance with not only international regulations, but also national requirements, and particularly those of the US. The need for clarity in terms of regulation to allow ship owners and operators to plan their investment decisions efficiently was emphasised and this was to become a common theme across many of the topic areas discussed.
In the afternoon the subject of LNG as a fuel was further discussed. Yves Bui from MSC Cruise Management described MSC’s LNG powered cruise vessel new building programme and highlighted the research done and the solutions implemented to address the safety issues associated with bunkering LNG as a fuel.
By adopting a number of measures the safety exclusion zone around the bunkering point can be much reduced in size thus allowing bunkering to continue without impacting on the passenger experience for those onboard.
Alexandre Tocatlian of GTT then described its LNG membrane storage tank design development and how these types of tanks optimise the storage capacity of LNG within the space constraints of a ferry or cruise vessel design.
The Port of Barcelona in the person of Sergi Ros then provided an interesting description of the research done to measure the impact of the shipping on the local population adjacent to a major cruise and ferry port. As a port with a large LNG infrastructure for the importation of gas, incentives to use this as a fuel are being put in place in parallel with an anticipation that it will be powering more ships in the future.
In the final session of the day Trine Heinemann from the Danish island of Aero gave a fascinating presentation on the project to design and build an electrically powered ferry to run between the island and the mainland, a 22 nautical mile round trip. With financial support from the EU the ferry will enter service in 2019, after a period of testing, and the batteries that provide the energy storage and supply onboard will be charged from renewable energy generated on the island.
Dr Sari Repka from the University of Turku and Prof Gunnar Prause from Tallinn University of Technology are working on the modelling of the environmental impact of low emission shipping regulations, the economic decisions that are made to comply with the requirements and the measurements that are made to verify compliance.
Their field of study is the Baltic emission control area (ECA) and their initial findings include the conclusions that compliance levels are very high and that the economic impact and resistance to change has been less than expected.
Finally, Dr Nishatabbas Rehmatulla from the UCL Energy Institute described some of the different pathways that shipping might follow if it becomes part of the overall effort to limit the rise of global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.
His view on the different energy sources and fuel mixes for shipping is that LNG as a fuel is not a solution to meeting the goal of decarbonisation as once the considerable investment is made for its adoption it will continue to be used as a fuel and this will inhibit investment in other low or zero carbon sources of power.