** Sagar Sandesh print version ceases to be published from December 31, 2017. New look E-paper would be available from Jan. 1, 2018 onwards. free of cost.**

Cross-sector cooperation & increased focus on R&D seen essential for shipping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The IMO decision of April 2018, calling the international shipping industry to decarbonise and at least halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, was an important milestone and was largely welcomed by the global engine builders’ community. 

 

Only thru cross-sector cooperation with focus on R&D, shipping to reach IMO 2050 target

 

Although some parties found that the IMO target could have been even more ambitious, it clearly marked a paradigm shift: improvements in existing technologies will not be enough. Only through cross-sector cooperation and an increased focus on R&D in carbon-neutral technologies (such as batteries, fuel cells, or synthetic fuels) will shipping stand a chance of reaching the IMO 2050 target.

 

2050 – The day after tomorrow

 

2050 may sound distant, but for the shipping community it is not. Between now and 2023, the IMO will work out the legislative steps that will pave the way for the shipping industry to achieve its goal and enable the industry to invest in new, low-carbon or zero-carbon power and propulsion systems. If these challenges are met, it will most probably be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2050.

 

Failure is not an option

 

 If new technologies can be developed and brought onto the market in time, there is a good chance that market mechanisms will enable the fulfilment of the IMO targets. In any case, failure is not an option: not only for the sake of shipping’s reputation but, looking at the big picture, for the good of future generations.

 

No ‘silver bullet’ in immediate sight

 

Whatever the future may hold, there is no immediate "silver bullet" to meet the challenge of the IMO targets. There are some promising technical solutions, such as battery-driven ships or fuel cells, but as of today, these are unable to cover the propulsion of—for instance—sea-going container vessels. One always needs to keep the end-user in mind.

 

Moreover, current changes such as the switch to LNG are necessary and helpful, but should only be considered as bridging technologies...

 

Other ideas may include innovative ship design (more efficient hulls, system integration and optimisation) as well as broader digitalisation (including optimisation of port calls and the supply chain at large). These all call for an even wider scope of parties to be involved.

 

Focused R&D activities with well-defined aims 

 

Consequently, there is a need for a consensus on finely focused R&D activities with well-defined aims that avoid dilution of effort by pursuing several directions at once and so wasting valuable resources. Support from regulatory bodies is key here and this means research funding; but first and foremost a clear and stable global legal framework is needed, which does not predetermine any specific technical direction. Only a rule-making that is seen to be technologically-neutral has a chance of attracting the necessary investments worldwide.

 

Some low-hanging fruit is there for the taking

 

To support the development of technical solutions in the medium- and long-term, an efficient cross-sector R&D framework must be defined and supported without delay. Moreover, there is also a need for other short-term measures. These need to focus on efficiency improvements and take account of existing and close to market-ready technical solutions, such as LNG retrofits or system optimisation. 

 

De-rating the engines 

 

There may be some unintended consequences to seemingly quick fixes such as a direct call to speed reductions; they do not incentivise technical progress and the switch to new technologies. Such short-term measures must be part of a larger toolbox. They must be specifically focused on the least efficient ships, and part of a range of solutions that shipowners may choose from. Moreover, some thought should be given to the fact that power limitation may be a much more efficient way to address this issue. Indeed, de-rating the engine offers the possibility of lowering the vessel’s maximum speed and, thereby, optimising the actual load point with the design load point. Such a measure, based on a power limitation on the vessel, would inherently provide a speed advantage for the best performer / best design.

 

The necessary developments require cooperation between all stakeholders, namely, shipowners, shipbuilders, engine manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, system integrators and the Classification Societies, emphasises a release by CIMAC (International Council on Combustion Engines).

 

Disclaimer
Copyright © 2019 PORT TO PORT - Shipping Services Portal ( Sagar Sandesh ). All rights reserved.

Follow Us