Ships Green Lean & Mean by 2020 Says New Analysis

By George Backwell at November 24, 2012 04:10
Filed Under: General, Research & Development

The world fleet will be greener, leaner and meaner in the next eight years according to DNV’s Research and Innovation Unit in their just published ‘Technology Outlook 2020’ as they follow the example of the poet Tennyson – “For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see, saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.”  So too, the DNV team made many correct predictions in its last 2008 ‘Outlook’ (although they admit surprise that the wind energy sector developed so rapidly) which gives added weight to their latest analysis.

Photo credit:stock.xchange (Goodmorph)

Key prognostications with a bearing on developments in marine power and propulsion technology, follow.

Upcoming Energy Efficient Design Index (EEDI)
The EEDI (Energy Efficient Design Index) regulation requires new-buildings in 2025 to be 30% more energy efficient than today’s average ship which will drive implementation of energy efficiency measures and LNG as fuel. The question remains whether shipowners will press ahead of the EEDI schedule and start building these ships today.

In this regard the research model used by the DNV team predicts:

    •    More than 1-in-10 new-buildings in the next eight years will be delivered with gas fuelled engines.
    •    In 2020, the demand for marine distillates could be as high as 200-250 million tonnes annually.
    •    New-buildings in 2020 will emit up to 35 per cent less CO2 than today’s ships.
    •    At least 30 per cent of newbuildings will be fitted with exhaust gas recovery or selective catalytic reduction systems by 2016. 

The use of scrubbers may be minimal until the global SOx limit is implemented. New exhaust gas emission requirements in ECA’s are not expected to drive sales of a significant number of scrubber units. However, shipowners may make room in ships built between now and 2019, but they are likely to defer the installation itself until the technology has matured further and the global sulphur limit is confirmed.

The Low Energy Ship
Presently, rising fuel prices, market uncertainties, intense competition, climate change, and societal pressures for greening are driving the introduction of new technologies and concepts into the world fleet towards 2020.

In this connection the research team draws attention to the further development of air bubble and air cavity hull lubrication systems, and the use of hybrid materials in ship construction.

Hybrid propulsion systems (combinations of shaft propellers, pods, and efficiency enhancing devices, such as pre- and post-swirl fins) though expensive may be expected to provide fuel-savings of up to 10%, depending on utilisation and ship types, for example container or multipurpose ships.

Hybrid Electric Ships

The hybrid electric ship of 2020 might contain a mix of conventional and superconducting motors and generators, fuel cells, and batteries as power generation works best when operating at a single, defined condition; fluctuations in power demand or supply reduce efficiency. Switching to electric propulsion and powering will offer more flexibility at higher efficiency, as multiple power sources can be included.

The objective of DNV's ‘Technology Outlook 2020’ is to share views and to stimulate discussion about future technologies towards 2020: it is available for download here.


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