Shipping - Uniting for the environment

Estimates in 2006 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change provide compelling evidence that shipping is the most efficient and environmentally responsible transport industry, especially given the large volume of goods carried globally by this means. The IEA estimates that the industry’s global share of CO2 emissions is around 10%, compared to 76% from road transport, and 12% from aviation. In addition, the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) produced a paper earlier this year with the support of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), describing the industry as the “backbone of globalization” (Climate Change and Shipping ECSA Position Paper, January 2008). Compared to ECSA’s estimate that shipping carries some 90% of world trade, the corresponding percentage of emissions are impressively low.

The Norwegian shipping industry takes the challenges related to emissions and climate change very seriously. Working closely with the industry, the Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway support a wide range of initiatives related to innovation, development and application of new techniques and technologies that aim to make the industry even more environmentally responsible. These include the Research Council’s programme for maritime activity and offshore operations (MAROFF), emphasizing the importance of strengthening the Norwegian maritime cluster and developing cooperation between the business, technology and research elements of the industry.
 
The Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute (MARINTEK), concentrates on developing marine technology research solutions together with national and international companies and authorities. Finally, the MARUT initiative was established in 2004 by the Norwegian Trade and Industry Department with the aim of increasing value creation in the maritime sector, emphasizing the potential of a close-knit national maritime cluster.
 
Common to all the initiatives is co-operation found throughout the industry. Just one example is MARUT, working with the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Norsk Industri, the Research Council, Innovation Norway, Marintek, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and others. This is the synergy of Norwegian organisations, operating within a common framework with the goal of increasing the profile of the Norwegian maritime industries and producing solutions that ensure the continued development of environmentally-supportive technologies.
 
MARINTEK – Researching Holistic Environmental & Safety Solutions
Together with the Department of Marine Technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), MARINTEK constitutes the Marine Technology Centre in Trondheim, with research facilities that include the Ocean Basin Laboratory. This simulation tool allows scientists to monitor wind and waves over a depth of ten metres – unique testing conditions for fixed and floating structures and offshore deep-water structures. Other MARINTEK’s facilities include a Ship Model Tank, a Marine Structures Laboratory, and a Cavitation Tunnel. The opportunities for developing a wide range of technology within these facilities are nearly unlimited.
 
Marintek Ocean Basin Lab Unique research opportunities are offered at the Ocean Basin Laboratory in Trondheim, where scientists can examine the effect of wind and waves on floating and fixed structures over a depth of ten metres.
© Thor Nielsen/SINTEF

MARINTEK’s current programmes include the international collaborative project “Flagship”, (European Framework for Safe, Efficient and Environmentally-Friendly Ship Operations). MARINTEK’s e-Maritime Department Research Director, Jan Ørnulf Rødseth explains; “In my opinion, the whole Flagship project is directly or indirectly concerned with the environment. The idea is to produce safe and efficient shipping by developing new solutions that will also benefit the environment.” 
 
The four-year Flagship project budget is EUR 19.4 million, and is co-ordinated by the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) in Brussels, with MARINTEK providing project management support. Synergy is an important theme for Flagship, with a general vision being to pool expertise in order to address practical problems faced by ship operators in relation to the vessel, its day-to-day operation, and emergency occurrences.
 
“One sub-project deals with the technical operation strategy for ship owners, managers and equipment and service suppliers,” says Rødseth. “The idea is to use new information technology to find better ways to perform the business processes. This will in turn have the potential to lower the environmental footprint of shipping, although this is very low already,” he says.
 
Flagship adopts a holistic approach to the environment that takes into account indirect causes of inefficiency. Rødseth pointed out, for example, that the project is also involved with increasing safety levels in shipping, therefore reducing the likelihood of accident-related environmental spills, adding that “Another sub-project is directly dealing with energy-efficient operation and will look into the problem of reducing the carbon footprint by better technical solutions, better logistics and better operational procedures. This activity is also looking into ways to handle the environmental issue at the legislative level.”
 
Arctic Emergency Operations – MARINTEK’s Commitment to Cold-climate Safety
MARINTEK is a specialist when it comes to shipping in cold climate conditions in rough weather, with several projects in focus, including Arctic Emergency Operations (AEO), an international project, with participants from Japan, Germany, France and the Russian Federation This three-year project, supported by the Research Council of Norway, is coordinated by MARINTEK at its facilities in Trondheim.   Safety is a key issue, with the goal to produce guidelines on emergency operations for disabled tankers in ice-infested waters and collision scenarios for vessels in Arctic Waters. The Ship Manoeuvring Simulator is the basis for MARINTEK’s developing proposals.
 
Emergency towing operations are a theme at this international workshop at the Ship Manoeuvring Centre in Trondheim, where participants from many different countries come to learn from Norway’s extensive experience and research.
© Bård E. Bjørnsen SMS
Tor Einar Berg, Principal Research Engineer of Marine Operations and Simulation, was full of praise for the latest of a series of workshops held for an international environment related to emergency towing operations, this held at Ship Manoeuvring Simulator Centre (SMS). “It was a very successful workshop,” says Berg. “There were around 40 participants from a number of countries - Iceland, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain and England. The mixture of operators presenting current cases, and experts from different environments within the maritime industry, gave grounds for good discussion and input into new training elements in simulator practices. It also provided material for the presentation of current, fresh cases for teaching in colleges and universities.”
 
The Research Council and MAROFF are important to AEO’s continued development, again showing the synergy so effectively modelled by the Norwegian industry. Berg highlights the importance of MAROFF’s seminars in making the AEO project visible to national maritime actors; “In addition to finances, the information spreading through MAROFF’s seminars contributes towards the presentation of the project to maritime actors in Norway. The project will also participate at the MAROFF seminar which will be held in Svalbard in the beginning of March.” 
 
Financial Incentives for Innovative Projects
R&D financial support continues to open up new possibilities, including additional funding to MAROFF for user-steered innovation projects (BIPs) that prioritize methods of reducing NOx leaks from the shipping industry. MAROFF, working together with MARUT’s new “Coast Gas” initiative, are geared towards projects encouraging the use of gas as fuel for ships, looking to further Norwegian progress within the field. The hope is that this collaboration will provide new cost-effective contributions to the industry’s applied research into emissions.
 
MAROFF has selected 14 programmes for the 2007-10 timeframe, including Det Norske Veritas’ Maritime Emission Mitigation; Safe and Cost Effective Ship-to-Ship Operations in Arctic Waters by Bergesen Worldwide Gas; a system for secure and effective surveillance and control of underwater operations by Rolls-Royce Marine AS; as well as a project investigating hydrodynamic aspects and control strategies for ship-to-ship operations. MAROFF’s broad scope and ability to finance a wide range of projects is a sign that the industry has the real opportunity to match its ambitions. Also, the Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister, Dag Terje Andersen indicated further good news for the shipping industry with the government’s maritime strategy “Steady Course” contributing additional budget funds for both the industry in general as well as MARINTEK. 
 
Working to Strengthen the Norwegian Cluster
As MARUT enters its fifth year working to make Norway a more competitive maritime nation, the role of “Strategisk Råd” (Strategic Council) is central. The Council is led by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and its aim is to debate the challenges of the shipping industry, and to contribute to MARUT’s direction and development. MARUT emphasizes their policy conviction when they indicate the great potential to be gained with a tighter working cluster within maritime research and innovation, and that Norway’s clear goal must be to “have the most competitive and innovative maritime cluster in the world,” These high aims reflect the reality that the Norwegian maritime industry is already experiencing, that in fact solutions to environmental and safety problems benefits transcend individual shipping companies and have a clear positive effect nationally and internationally.
 
Norwegian “Grassroots” innovation and research create synergies that have the potential to resonate across the huge global shipping industry. It is in this light that Norway’s shipping industry should be viewed. Specific programmes, such as AEO and Flagship, have excellent chances for success with this multi-level support from the R & D community in this country.
 
ECSA and the International Chamber of Shipping have laid down a fundamental principle for the international shipping industry as it faces climate concerns. “International shipping must work for international solutions…applicable to all ships regardless of flag”. At a national level, the Norwegian shipping industry is already modelling that philosophy, with support and guidance coming from a wide range of governmental and research organizations.

MAROFF
The Research Council of Norway’s MAROFF (Maritime Activities and Offshore Operations) programme supports projects that build and develop expertise within areas that are necessary to realize innovation within maritime activities and offshore operations.
For more information on the MAROFF programme, visit www.rcn.no/maroff.

 

Related articles

Latest articles

Norwegian Seafood Enjoyed Worldwide

Norway exported 2.6 million tonnes of seafood 2015. That represented more than 11 billion main courses. But the number of meals containing Norwegian seafood is possibly in the order of more than 20 billion. Seafood is ofte...

Mother-Daughter Ship to Boost Short Sea Cargo

More goods will need to be transported by ship to meet stricter environmental guidelines. A Norwegian maritime cluster has found the answer in a ship-in-ship short sea cargo concept.

More Sustainable Fish Feeds

The Norwegian seafood industry is experimenting with new sustainable fish feeds like tree yeast and sandhoppers that won’t compete with the foods we eat and also help farm more fish.

Spotlight Tanzania: New Offshore Gas Opportunities

Africa is both promising and challenging. The Norwegian offshore industry is eyeing petroleum field developments in Tanzania for possible opportunities.

Norway's Future Green Fleet

A dramatic fall in battery costs and stricter emission regulations are spurring the Norwegian maritime to develop the most environmentally friendly fleet of coastal vessels.

The Fishy Biotech Future

There is something fishy about two of the Research Council’s six large projects under the new strategic initiative “Digital Life.”

Engineering Nanoparticles to Boost Oil

Norwegian scientists are combining nanotechnology with petroleum research to enhance recovery. In the future, even nanoparticles from trees could squeeze out more oil.

Ship Energy Efficiency: The Fourth Wave

Shipping has seen three waves of energy efficiency trends since 2007. The latest buzz is the Big Data revolution.

Sustainable Fish Farming Solutions: From Feed to Egg

The challenge of rising fish feed and sea lice costs is stimulating new sustainable technology solutions in Norwegian aquaculture. In the future, producers might raise salmon in egg-shaped offshore farms.