DNV GL: Setting the Stage for Greener Future (Interview)
Driven by the desire to meet the 2020 environmental targets, the maritime industry branches have recognized the demand for thinking out of the box and pursuing alternative solutions to reduce their ecological footprint.
During Offshore Energy 2013 exhibition and conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we spoke with DNV GL – the Norwegian headquartered class society representatives to find out more about their role in classification of new ships, market trends and the work they are doing on introducing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a fuel alternative and more.
Our interlocutors were: Bas Veerman, Principal Surveyor, Business Development Manager at DNV GL and Jeroen Van Der Veer, Head of Section Rotterdam Offshore Services.
1. What is the focus now when it comes to classification of new ships? Are you moving to more environmentally-friendly trends?
“It is obvious that many ship-owners, shipyards and designers who are working on new projects focus on the environmental footprint of their business and their assets. So, there is a lot of activity in the market in that respect.
The same applies to DNV GL. We have been engaged in this type of activities for many years, especially when it comes to fuel efficiency. We have a number of services such as optimizing ship performance, specifically speaking by optimization of the hull form and by introducing special appendices to the hull to improve the flow. We are also looking at the energy inside the ship: energy balance. In the process we are considering: is the energy efficiently used or is there a waste of energy onboard?
Besides that, there is the activity on alternative fuels. We see LNG becoming an increasingly important alternative in the coming years. We have been active in that sector by introducing the world’s first LNG rules in 2000, and we see that this is picking up more and more quickly. However, we are not only focusing on LNG as a fuel, it is one of the solutions on the table,” Bas Veerman, Business Development Manager at DNV GL said.
2. What are the other solutions? Are they keeping up with LNG or are they lagging behind?
“LNG will for sure be an important part of the future mix. We expect some 10 % of all newbuildings within 2020 to be LNG fueled. However the solutions depend on what the problems are. There are various solutions to address the sulfur emission problem besides LNG, other examples are low sulphur fuel and scrubbers. There are always alternatives to consider. LNG is not the only solution, and not always the best solution for every ship and every trade.
“In the meantime, we are also engaged in research and development in which we invest some 5% of DNV GL’s revenue – some 600 million euro. For a couple of years now one of our research areas has been fuel cells. So we are building up the experience there, and there is already a ship in operation powered by this type of fuel.
“Another development is full electrical ships, purely battery-powered. There is one ferry under construction at the moment which is fully electrically powered,” Veerman replied.
Jeroen Van Der Veer, Head of Section Rotterdam Offshore Services continued: “DNV GL is aiming to challenge the market by promoting several example concepts where DNV GL demonstrates a possible solution to some of the key issues. We assist the market to think differently. We want the market to design, not us. Our rules aim to be goal setting and not to prescribe designs. When we see new designs we have to adapt our rules and standards.”
When asked about the involvement in projects such as the Maersk Triple E, Bas Veerman said that the DNV GL has been involved in similar projects.
”Recently there was an order from the United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) that ordered containers even larger than the Triple E- class from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). A very interesting part of that order is that the ships will be prepared for LNG fuel, i.e., LNG ready, even though they are intended for operation on world-wide trade. So this is a very interesting feature,” he added.
3. How will the merger with GL affect DNV in the Netherlands?
“The objective is to merge and grow all our activities on a global scale. Obviously that will also happen in the Netherlands. It is a process that needs to be planned thoroughly. Both companies are very technologically advanced and quality focused which also means that we have very good resources. Nevertheless, we have to take care of everything behind the screens in order to move the surveyors and everything else into a one office. We are working on that as we speak and we have a very good cooperation,” Veerman replied.
4. Could you tell us something about the work that DNV GL is doing within the Arctic and how are you helping companies that operate along the Northern Sea Route, since it is becoming a fairly popular route for gas carriers serving the Yamal Peninsula?
“We are helping customers with technical and risk assessments when they’re planning a voyage over the Northern Sea Route. We know what the requirements are for this route and the challenges, hazards and what risks are encountered that need to be taken care of in the planning of the voyage in the Arctic areas. Some of the projects are also LNG related. For example, there are occasional transit voyages with LNG, indeed, there are projects of exporting LNG from the coastal states there. Additionally, DNV GL has undertaken several R&D initiatives and support activities, we are now sharing this valuable knowledge and experience with our clients. We also regularly post papers and materials on our website on Arctic developments. Such knowledge may be of vital importance with regard to a sustainable operation in Arctic seas. DNV GL has long traditions in serving the shipowners operating in these areas. When the very first explorers – like Fridtjof Nansen sailed these areas, his vessel was DNV classed. This knowledge has been developed all the time since and is still. As an example – mid November this year new rules for offshore arctic operation were launched,“ Veerman replied.
5. Are more ship operators considering this route?
“There are ship operators considering the route, but we think it is still a niche. The transit time is not entirely predictable, that is something people don’t like in shipping. They would like to have things just in time. So this is one of the things that play a role there.
Of course, the use of the Northern Sea Route is not something that is entirely new. Ships have been using the Northern Sea Route as a transit between Asia and Europe for a couple of years, but only a few ships every year. Apart from that, the Northern Sea Route is a part of the transport system along the North-Russian coast and, as such, is being used as an export route for many years, actually, all season. In that sense, it is not something extraordinary. But, we can assist the owners to deal with all that, and we are fully involved,” Veerman concluded.
World Maritime News Staff, November 18, 2013