Photo: DFDS

Study: Existing retrofittable solutions can secure double-digit savings

Retrofittable solutions have the potential to bring double-digit savings for owners with a return on investment period of less than three years, according to a project carried out under Green Ship of the Future (GSF), an independent non-profit organization which explores the road towards emission-free maritime transport.

Some 20 partner organizations participated in the project including the Danish Maritime Fund, Hafnia, DFDS, Maersk Tankers, Alfa Laval Aalborg, C.C. JENSEN, Hempel, Kongsberg, MAN Energy Solutions, Norsepower and many others.

Victoria Seaways
Victoria Seaways, Image courtesy: DFDS

Under the project, the parties investigated how much the energy consumption, and thereby CO2 emission, can be reduced through retrofittable and proven technological solutions. Three different vessels, Hafnia Lise, Victoria Seaways, and Maersk Tianjin were explored and actual data and operation profiles of the specific vessels were used in the individual cases.

According to the project findings, savings of up to 27% can be achieved through technology that is available today with an ROI of less than 3 years. In addition, the project report points to some general areas, which based on the case studies of three different vessels, show potential for large energy savings. 

The results have been filtered for the potential of an ROI in 3 years to show the potential of making a green investment in a manner that minimizes operational cost and improve the potential of profitability. Without limiting the ROI to 3 years, there is a substantial additional potential for optimization, the project report said.

“While the end goal is a new fuel that does not affect the climate and environment to the extent it does today, and such a transition is underway, it will be decades before technology is scaled and we can transition the entire global fleet. Therefore, energy optimizations from an environmental and climate perspective will be essential in the coming years,” GSF said.

“While the GHG emissions will become neutral with the implementation of alternative fuels, the financial gain from energy optimizations will only increase, as all alternative energy sources are projected to be significantly more expensive than fossil counterparts. Therefore, investing in improving energy efficiency will not only make a good sense from a climate perspective, but it can also contribute to future competitive advantages.

The report findings show that in general, there is a lack of available data from the vessels and in some cases an overload of data that could not be used. Logging the right data is crucial to understand optimizing potential, therefore all shipowners and operators are encouraged to prioritize collecting data and to be strategic about it, so only relevant data is collected, as data has no value till it is analyzed and used.

The report also found steam to be a good example of lack of data. None of the vessels had any data on their steam consumption. They were clocking the hours on their boiler and had rough estimates on fuel consumption, but the steam consumption was not logged, despite being used for multiple applications on the vessels.

It has been determined that electricity production contributed to a relatively large share of the consumed energy and that the gensets were often running in a bad fuel spot. This led to unnecessary waste and could be solved with a shaft generator.

Furthermore, the project found that a lot of energy was also wasted on inefficient lighting and overpowering fans and pumps. This can be solved by installing LED lighting and a frequency driver.

Significant potential savings were identified in areas such as lube oil cleaning, propellers, rudder bulbs, hull paints, and anti-fouling, which are all often overlooked for their potential or disregarded as too expensive compared to the benefits.

Application of digital technologies to secure savings were identified as well where areas such as route, trim, speed and operation planning can be optimized for major potential savings, and machine learning and AI have been identified as potential reduction drivers.

“Projects like this are welcome eyeopeners for potential retrofits that can lower our environmental impact and present a good business case. It is positive to see that despite a lot has been done, there are still large savings to be made,” Rune Jørgensen Daae, Project Superintendent, DFDS, said.

“We believe we must continue to optimize our vessels to become even more sustainable, reduce operational costs and stay competitive, but also to ease the change to alternative energy sources. We hope that this project will bring concrete saving potentials and inspire others to optimize their vessels.”