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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.

Norway’s DNV GL created waves when it first presented maritime predictions in its Shipping 2020 report in 2012. As one of the world’s largest technical service providers, it predicted new-builds would emit 30% less CO2 emissions by 2020. The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) would be a driver for more than half of the reduction.


Three years later, the company now foresees connectivity as one of the next emerging technology trends. Global high-speed Internet coverage, increased computing power and “Big Data” solutions are increasingly making the connected ship a reality. The spread of these technologies will enable the shipping industry to intensify its focus on enhancing operational efficiency.


“We are getting the Internet of all things (whereby) all equipment is starting to work with each other and the cost of sending data is going down,” said Tor Svensen, DNV GL group executive president, during a presentation at the Nor-Shipping Conference in Oslo this June, citing the quadrupling of bandwidth over the past five years.





The Big Data revolution dominated many sessions at Nor-Shipping. Sturla Henriksen, Norwegian Ship owners’ Association chief executive, called the maritime industry the “World Wide Web of logistics carrying 90% of global trade” in his opening conference speech to hundreds of industry participants.


In a follow-up panel debate at the Transformative Technology session, Walter Qvam, Kongsberg chief executive, pressed for open software platforms for the future intelligent fleet. Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce Holdings vice president of innovation, engineering and technology, spoke of a not-so-distant future filled with remote controlled ferries. And DNV GL’s Svensen highlighted three areas of opportunities for Big Data within safety, smart maintenance and increased operational efficiency in ships.


“By bringing together and analyzing both data from on-board monitoring systems and from external sources, a comprehensive insight is gained of voyage, engine and hull performance,” said Svensen.


One example is the Oslo-based company and exhibitor Xenata, which in 2012 developed the world’s largest freight intelligence platform.  Through big data collection and analytics, its on-line platform provides insight into tens of thousands port-to-port pairs and lets users browse the routes and get both the most recent as well as historical redevelopments on their trades.

Source: DNV GL

DNV GL and Jotun signed a cooperation agreement at Nor-Shipping to work on improving hull performance. From left to right: Dr. Torsten Büssow, DNV GL’s Head of Fleet Performance Management; Albrecht Grell, Director of the Maritime Advisory division at DNV GL; Geir Boe, Vice President Marine Coatings at Jotun; and Stein Kjølberg, Global Sales Director, Hull Performance Solutions at Jotun. Source: DNV GL




A recent DNV GL initiative taking advantage of Big Data is the newly signed collaborative agreement with Norwegian paint manufacturer Jotun that brings together its two performance management services – Jotun’s Hull Performance Solution and DNV GL’s ECO Insight solution – to collect and analyze data on hull degradation.


According to experts, hull and propeller degradation accounts for up to 17% of the world fleet’s fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Stein Kjølberg, Jotun global sales director, said its advanced hull coatings and application technologies with compliant performance measurements had helped customers reduce fuel costs and emissions by up to 16%. 


“Jotun’s Hull Performance Solutions using its premium marine coating SeaQuantum X200 has saved the industry $1.7 billion in energy efficiency, or 15.5 million tones of emissions, over a five-year period based on 350 vessels sampled compared with a market average antifouling system,” said Kjølberg.


The new agreement, signed at Nor-Shipping, provides Jotun with hull and propeller performance computations based on ECO Insight’s computational fluid dynamic models that take into account the complete operational range of the vessel to help improve hull performance even further.


“This approach generates a much greater amount of baseline data than a conventional model tank test could deliver and provides customers with the information they need to prove that they reduce both fuel consumption and emissions to charterers, for example,” said Torsten Büssow, DNV GL’s head of fleet performance management.





However, Big Data is just among the latest trends. The maritime industry has previously been focusing on other ways to improve ship energy efficiency. Albrecht Grell, DNV GL director of maritime advisory, said there have been three efficiency waves since 2007 running in three-year cycles: slow steaming, individual trim tools, such as coating and retrofits, and bow retrofits.


One of the latest innovations within the latter is Ulstein’s X-STERN concept, the winner of this year’s Nor-Shipping Next Generation Ship Award. The prize honors the most promising design for ships that will be at sea in the coming decade, with the ship project demonstrating the greatest advances and innovation in design with respect to energy efficiency, innovation, suitability and flexibility, use of technology, safety and security and environmental sustainability.

X-Stern Next Generation Ship Award
Ulstein vessel with the award-winning X-BOW and X-STERN. Source: Ulstein Group


The unusual sloping and higher stern on X-STERN is based on the same innovative design used in X-BOW, which won a design award in 2005 and was first used on anchor handling tug supply vessel Bourbon Orca in 2006. The X-STERN has been developed for vessels dependent on the best possible motion characteristics, such as those supporting offshore wind turbine maintenance. It enables a vessel to stay positioned with the stern facing towards the weather even in harsh conditions.


Ulstein has already been commissioned for two SX175 offshore wind service vessels to be built at Ulstein Verft in Norway for German owners Bernhard Schulte/WINDEA Offshore. Set for delivery in 2016 and 2017, the vessels will provide support and maintenance for wind farm operations under a long-term charter contract for Siemens. At Nor-Shipping Ulstein also launched a new twin X-STERN concept vessel with a heightened stern at both ends that can service larger scale wind energy farms far from shore.


“When approaching turbines, you need a vessel that doesn’t make big moves,” says Tore Ulstein, Ulstein deputy chief executive officer, regarding X-STERN. “We have made a hull form that is rolling and pitching less. The design gives approximately a 30% reduction on the longitudinal forces from waves on the stern and can easily reduce fuel cost by up to about 30%.”

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