Focus on green ship energy solutions

On 24th June, Imtech Marine & Offshore organised an event for the maritime industry at its premises in Rotterdam, dedicated to the theme Green Ship Energy Solutions. A number of expert speakers from the maritime industry elaborated on the regulations, trends and technological developments concerning Efficient and Green energy management, for example new means and ways to store energy, use new energy sources and in the end achieve efficient electrical networks on board. Payoff of the event being ‘Powered by Imtech – Green Energy Solutions’, Imtech Marine & Offshore presented its vision: zero-emission ships.

‘Environmental awareness is a growing trend in the shipping and shipbuilding industry. We organised this event because Imtech provides technology, expertise and technical competences to influence emissions of ships. Developing innovative solutions for ship energy and management systems is a nominated strategy of Imtech. The strategic research agenda of Imtech Marine & Offshore is focused on emission free and unmanned ships’, says Kees-Jan Mes, chairman of the day. ‘Imtech Marine Group has also recently installed a strategy group on green shipping. Mr. Mes continues: ‘Achieving zero emissions is a challenge which can be enhanced by changing operational ship’s management, but also by the use of alternative fuel sources and alternative technology. We were honored that speakers of Bureau Veritas, TNO, Fugro, Greenpeace and Drivetek were prepared to share their views, experience, opinion and knowledge, which made the program highly interesting’.

Conclusions: ‘A green ship is an evolution, not a revolution’
Conclusions at the end of the day varied in character but started with the agreed statement that ‘Green’ starts with awareness, values and skills. Also the question arose: What is green? Not only funnel emissions but it also involves e.g. noise, solid waste, waste oil, light and scrapping of ships. The general consensus of the meeting was that ‘a green ship is an evolution, not a revolution’. Ships can and will become ‘greener and greener’ by more frequently and more intensively applying various possibilities. Another conclusion: it is of great importance that flag states and IMO provide the industry with ‘a green level playing field’ and clarity in terms of regulations. Managing emissions, according to chairman of the day Kees-Jan Mes, is really a ‘multidisciplinary and complex challenge’. It concerns technology, operational concept and human interface. And return on investment is and always will be an important factor in the decision-making concerning green ships. A guest commented: ‘Although it is good to exchange statements and opinions it is desirable to make clear where we were, where we are and where we expect to be in this world over f.e. the next years. We need each other and have to do it together in this dynamic world.’

‘We will see a lot of solar powered ships’
The program included lectures from Bureau Veritas about regulations, TNO about Innovative Ship’s Networks; Fugro, Greenpeace and Drivetek explained policies and highlighted recent projects like Fugro Searcher, Rainbow Warrior III and PlanetSolar. Imtech elaborated on the latest technology developments in green ship power. The guests were then guided on a tour around the premises of Imtech Marine & Offshore and were shown examples of energy technology and drive systems in production for several projects, as well as simulation possibilities. Some 80 people from five different countries in the maritime industry of several segments (yachting, offshore, naval, shipbuilding) were present at the event and also participated in an interesting forum discussion where a number of theses on ‘green shipping’ and ‘green ship power’ were discussed. The theses were varied and presented by all the speakers in the program, which resulted in an interesting discussion. For example: ‘Green ships are ok, as long as there are no extra investments required’, ‘Can you be competitive without having a green policy as part of your corporate social responsibility strategy?’ and ‘In the next five years the costs for solar modules and batteries will dramatically decrease - we will see a lot of solar powered ships’ to ‘Ship owners are conventional and are not ready for new technology such as DC-mains, electronic emergency generators, solar and wind energy and fuel cells’. Bureau Veritas added: ‘Next to the technical and economical lifespan of a vessel, we now have to deal with the environmental lifespan too.’