DNV GL updates 2020 vision

01 Jun 2015
Hybrid propulsion and big data are transforming the industry more rapidly than anticipated, said Svensen

Hybrid propulsion and big data are transforming the industry more rapidly than anticipated, said Svensen

On the first day of Nor-Shipping 2015, DNV GL has recast predictions for the year 2020 firstm published in 2012, with an amended outlook for LNG and scrubber uptake, hybrid propulsion and the use of big data across the maritime sector.

Hybrid propulsion and connected ship solutions are emerging technologies that are gaining ground faster than expected, outlined Tor Svensen, chief executive officer, DNV GL – Maritime. “While operational efficiency and emissions reductions are the main motivators behind these developments, the update shows that the future fuel mix will be much more diverse,” Svensen said.

LNG as a ship fuel was one of the standouts from the last report, but due to continuing high investment costs and slower development of infrastructure the prediction of up to 1,000 LNG-fuelled vessels by 2020 will most likely not be met, Svensen said. However, as more bunkering options come in place, growth could accelerate.

Scrubbers, on the other hand, were seen as a regulatory compliance option that would not be a significant option until after 2020 and the introduction of tighter global (not just ECA) restrictions on sulphur. Today, the scrubber market is developing faster than expected, with more than 200 confirmed projects.

The rise of hybrid vessels was also unanticipated in the original “Shipping 2020” report. Svensen noted that the substantial drop in battery prices and improved energy storage capacity means that hybrid systems are now becoming a real option for the shipping industry, best suited for vessels with large variations in power demand, coastal routes and operations within emission control areas.

The technology is also becoming applicable for some deep-sea shipping segments, for example in crane operations, Svensen explained. Pilot projects indicate that hybrid technology is robust and leads to fuel savings of 15% for an offshore vessel. A hybrid engine system allows the ship to operate at its most efficient point, regardless of power requirement or load.

“There are already 33 hybrid vessels in operation or on order, and it is possible this number will top 100 by 2020,” Svensen said.    

Svensen anticipated that the spread of enhanced connectivity, computing power and big data soutions will enable the shipping industry to focus even more on enhancing operational efficiency. He note that while enhanced safety through sensors and automation on board is an advantage of connected ships, the robustness and reliability of software dependent systems has to be assured.

Applying Integrated Software Dependent Systems (ISDS) standards and verifying reliability through Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing is therefore growing in importance, Svensen said. “Originally used for mobile offshore drilling units, we expect that ISDS standards and HIL testing will play a greater role for shipping in the near future – at first in some of the offshore vessel segments as well as for large passenger ships.”.

Alongside these opportunities are new threats. “As ships become more connected, they could fall victim to cyberattacks,” he warned. To mitigate risks, Svensen recommended the development of guidelines and standards together with cybersecurity audits to improve systems protection.

“The update once again aims to review the ‘big picture’. It points out how market conditions and the regulatory framework have influenced technology uptake, and how we expect this to develop as we move towards 2020,” he said.

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