Energy efficiency for today’s ships as well as tomorrow’s

The conference room at the Atlantic Kempinski, Hamburg The conference room at the Atlantic Kempinski, Hamburg
Industry Database

May 2014 saw some 160 shipping and marine engineering professionals gather in Hamburg for the 36th Motorship Propulsion and Emissions Conference. ‘The Motorship’s’ Bill Thomson and Stevie Knight joined the delegates for this important event.

Hamburg is always well-received as the host city for this event, and the Atlantic Kempinski Hotel, which has hosted several recent Motorship conferences, is always a popular venue. This year’s theme was ‘Ship Energy Efficiency Today’, reflecting the double need to design, build, equip, maintain and operate ships for optimum fuel efficiency, bearing in mind both fuel costs and emissions legislation.

On the evening before the event proper, many delegates were given a welcome reception at the Hamburg premises of MAN PrimeServ. Among the machinery and engine parts, including a number of large crankshafts which took on a somewhat artistic quality under blue spotlights, those present enjoyed a ‘flying buffet’ of Hamburg specialities, a supply of beverages and live music.

Welcoming the conference to PrimeServ, senior vice-president Dr-Ing Tilmann Greiner outlined the history of the site, which dated back to 1939 when it was established by MAN Augsburg for production of engines for the adjacent naval shipyard, building MV40/46 engines for submarines. After WW2 it became a repair shop for MAN small engines and turbines, then after refurbishment of the production halls in the 1950s it became an MAN service centre, and during the 1970s the facility was used for assembly of medium speed engines. It became PrimeServ Hamburg in 2007.

The main event began early on 21 May. Conference chairman Lars Robert Pederson, deputy secretary general of BIMCO, reminded 160 delegates that 2015 is just around the corner. This is when ship owners and operators will be forced to drastically cut SOx emissions in ECAs. The vast majority have opted to switch to gas oil rather than the residual heavy oil which is the current choice for the majority. Mr Pederson questioned whether the industry is really ready for this, particularly as there will be huge fuel cost implications and inherent compliance issues will skew fair competition between shipowners. He reminded us that Tier III is now back on track, and IMO is looking at black carbon and carbon emissions in general, all of these likely to involve changes to propulsion technology.

The conference proceedings began with a welcome address from Achim Wehrmann, director of shipping at the German Federal Ministry of Transport. Shipping receives a lot of support from the German government, which welcomes positive moves towards greater efficiency and cleaner ships. The EEDI and SEEMP are the start, and he too reminded us of the positive moves towards the introduction of Tier III NOx limits. But as the EEDI covers only new ships, Germany is promoting a fuel oil reduction strategy to provide data for existing ships.

Niels Bjorn Mortensen, director of regulatory affairs at Maersk, looked at the problems associated with the ECA sulphur limits, particularly ensuring fair competition. He pointed out the lack of enforcement activity under the current port state control regime, with out of 6,900 inspections in EU ports, only 10 detentions due to fuel issues, all of these in the Netherlands. A statement from the EU suggests that only one in 1,000 ships will be inspected for fuel compliance, which with the size of potential savings using HFO rather than MGO in ECAs represents a huge disadvantage for responsible, compliant, owners.

Dr Monika Griefahn, chief sustainability officer of AIDA Cruises, said that being seen to be sustainable is fundamental to success in today’s cruise business, despite cruise representing only a tiny percentage of total shipping. She described AIDA’s actions to cut emissions, starting with exhaust gas after treatment being installed in the next generation of ships, and likely to be retrofitted to the fleet, and the use of shore power, either by cold ironing or by the Hamburg LNG power barge, currently under construction.

Capt Wolfram Guntermann, environmental fleet management director of Hapag Lloyd, spoke about monitoring recording and validation. He questioned whether the various measurements being proposed were really necessary to give a true picture of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, and whether the likely emissions trading scheme was going to be effective, or just an additional cost burden. Existing onboard recording systems like his own company’s performance evaluation system should provide most of what is needed.

Chairman Lars Robert Pedersen introduced the first session, looking at the newbuild versus retrofit question as applied to eco-ships. One of the greatest barriers to introducing new energy saving technology is obtaining the finance, and two presentations, from Christian Nieswandt of the German HSH Nordbank and Pace Ralli from Clean Marine Energy of the US looked, respectively, at the market for eco-ships and innovative financial models to encourage take-up of energy saving measures. TecnoVeritas CEO Dr Jorge M.G. Antunes made a presentation on the economics of retrofitting, while Mr Pedersen himself moved from the chairman’s seat to the lectern, to don his BIMCO hat and examine the age-old charter question, looking at how BIMCO’s documents can accommodate energy saving in charter agreements and divide risks and benefits fairly between the parties.

The second session concentrated on future fuels, with a range of subjects starting with alternative fuels. Christos Chryssakis of DNV GL looked at the ‘pathways to 2050’ taking a long-term view of low-emission fuels, including renewables and biofuels as well as gas. The low speed gas-fuelled engine was the subject of a paper from Kjeld Aabo of MAN Diesel & Turbo. Mr Aabo outlined the concept and design philosophy of the ME-LGI engine, designed to operate on low flashpoint fuels like methanol or LPG as well as conventional fuels. Ingve Sørfonn, technical director of hybrid systems at Wärtsilä, explained how hybrid systems could help improve fuel and emission profiles and performance by different approaches to incorporating batteries into ship systems. Tuvia Berger of Green Energy Engineering described his company’s micro emulsion technology that promises 3% to 8% fuel savings, eliminating PM and soot and cutting NOx, SOx and carbon emissions.

Following lunch, sponsored by ABB, the third session looked at the all-important lubrication issue, relating both to the current cold corrosion issue and the effect of low sulphur fuels in the near future. Jean-Philippe Roman of Total Lubmarine, John Schakel of Shell Global Solutions and Steve Walker of ExxonMobil all gave their own angles, all presenting 100BN cylinder oils for applications at risk from cold corrosion, and giving their views on oils for older engines operating at part load and likely outcomes of the 0.1% sulphur limit, the effects of which are still very uncertain, at least in marine applications. Parker Kittiwake’s Stuart Lunt rounded off the session with a presentation on onboard analysis methods, which the oil companies agreed was an important consideration.

Session four looked at energy efficient technology for ships, starting with Caterpillar’s twin fin propulsion system, which was explained by Tobias Huuva, and continuing with an update from Napa’s Esa Henttinen on the ClassNK Napa Green software solutions. Klaus Vänskä from ABB looked at a system for optimising the diverse systems and sub-systems found on a ship to obtain the best overall efficiency, while Daniel Kane, vice-president of US company Propulsion Dynamics presented data from over 10 years of hull and propeller performance monitoring onboard some 400 ships.

Day One concluded with the conference dinner, sponsored by DNV GL, and held at the Parlament restaurant in Hamburg City Centre. The basement of the town hall, which was once the Ratsweinkeller, a beer house serving the occupants of the town hall as well as the wider Hamburg public, is now a gourmet restaurant, and the delegate package included a traditional German style three-course meal with accompanying wine.

On the conference’s second day, May 22, discussions began with presentations on the EEDI from Pierre Sames of DNV GL and Dr Jan de Kat of ABS, followed by a shipowner panel, including Capt Wolfram Guntermann of Hapag Lloyd and Lars Dessen of Wilhelmsen, with ship managers represented by Stefan Lindberg, Technical Director, Brise Bereederung. Allraised some important and relevant points about EEDI implementation.

This was followed by a session on monitoring exhaust emissions, with speakers from the European Community Shipowners’ Association (Benoit Loicq) and the Danish Shipowners’ Association (Hans Otto Kristensen) representing the owners. The industry was represented by Rudi Spinner and Kay Tigges from Siemens, and Edwin Schuirink of VAF Instruments. An interesting discussion following the day’s first two sessions stressed the importance of a fair, global and universal system of monitoring and classing ships for energy efficiency, with some owners querying the sheer amount of data that seemed to be needed onboard.

Following the lunch break, sponsored by ExxonMobil, the emphasis shifted to another important emissions-related environmental topic, with a review of ballast water management. Stamatis Fradelos of ABS looked at the safety issues of various types of onboard ballast treatment systems, and Per Warg of Alfa Laval explained the implications, from a supplier viewpoint, of the US Coast Guard type approval system, and how it differed from the IMO procedures.

Low speed engines will have to meet considerable challenges in drastically cutting NOx emissions with the 2016 date for the introduction of IMO Tier III, initially in the North American ECA but with others certain to follow. Ole Grøne of MAN Diesel & Turbo outlined the company’s EGR and SCR solutions for IMO Tier III compliance. He described various aspects, in particular how EGR and SOx scrubbers can be combined to give a total emissions reduction solution when running on HFO, which he expects to remain the dominant marine fuel for some time.

The important and controversial question of enforcement of emissions legislation rounded off the programme of presentations before a final shipowners’ panel discussion. No one listening to Ulf Petereit of Hamburg’s Waterways Police (WWP-HH) could fail to recognise the burden of compliance on shipping companies, charterers, crew – and of course the police itself, the sharp end of legislation.

He explained that these new rules add to “the huge sphere of activities” of the force, but even given the diversity of regulations - international, European, national and regional – he believes that Waterways Police need to be scrupulous in their application of the rulebook; it’s a fair point, given the uneven handling of regulations by some port state controls. With this in mind, WWP-HH has decided on a pragmatic, preventative approach along with enforcement: it’s reaching out with information at every opportunity, for example inspections are seen as a chance for information exchange; the department also keeps out a listening ear for concerns with a 24/7 phone line.

However, just how clear sulphur directive compliance really is seems to be another issue. Michael Green, of Intertek Lintec, ShipCare Services explained firstly, although there may well be enough sulphur compliant fuel produced, if you ask is it going to be available in every single port that needs it, “the short answer is probably no”. Secondly, the distillation involves aggressive process so “we will expect to find issues” around lubricity, oxygen stability, poor combustibility and FAME introduction.

Thirdly, ships could find a black hole between the various points on the ‘compliance proof’ paper trail that accompanies bunkering – and here it’s all about the margins. This is because there’s no definitive result from testing: the necessary statistical variants mean the supplier’s fuel blend could be a little higher than a ship will be happy with: it’s possible that a fuel test scrapes in under the ISO standard, but still later test as non-compliant under the Marpol regime. (For those that find it confusing, help is soon going to be available on the CIMAC website).

However all this got put into perspective by the roundtable discussion, the speakers being joined by Per Brinchmann of Wilhelm Wilhelmsen and Stefan Lindberg, Brise Bereederung. In response to a question by chair Lars Robert Pederson, Mr Brinchmann underlined the argument that efforts should really be focused, not on the ships “making reasonable efforts toward compliance but on those who wanted to cheat”.

There are, after all, huge temptations for the unscrupulous: unlike the smaller price-tag on most other types of legislation, those purposefully dodging the sulphur control cap could fraudulently avoid paying out what Mr Lindberg described as ‘significant sums’ of money.

All in all, another very successful event organised by Mercator Media and The Motorship. It could not, of course, have happened without the aid of the event sponsors, Caterpillar, DNV GL, MAN PrimeServ, Rolls-Royce, Total Lubmarine, ABB, ABS, Siemens, ExxonMobil, Aqua Metro, Shell Marine, Tecno Veritas, Parker Kittiwake, InsaTech Marine, Colfax Fluid Handling, CMT, VAF Instruments, Sauer Compressors, Kral, ClassNK and Alfa Laval. The conference was supported by VDR, InterManager, ECSA, Danish Shipowners’ Association, SSA, Danish Maritime, BIMCO, IBIA and Russian Register of Shipping.

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