Photo: WMU President Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry

WMU, partners join forces on decarbonizing long-distance shipping

The World Maritime University (WMU) is partnering with industry majors on the EU funded Horizon 2020 (H2020) research project on decarbonizing shipping.

The CHEK project aims to demonstrate a combination of innovative ship design and technologies operating in symbiosis on real vessel concept designs.

These technologies will include sail power, hydrogen propulsion, waste heat recovery, battery electric power, hull air lubrication, innovative anti-fouling technology, and digital operational improvements.

The combination of these technologies is targeting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 99%, achieve at least 50% energy savings, and reduce black carbon emissions by over 95%.

The technologies will be demonstrated at full scale with two first-of-their-kind vessel concept designs (Kamsarmax bulk carrier and Meraviglia class cruise ship) based on real operational profiles. 

The consortium partners are the University of Vaasa (coordinator), WMU, Wärtsilä, Cargill, MSC Cruises, Lloyds Register, Silverstream Technologies, Hasytec, Deltamarin, Climeon, and BAR Technologies.

Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, welcomed WMU’s participation in the project saying it underscores the university’s commitment to supporting the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), namely Goal 7 focused on affordable and clean energy for all and Goal 13 focused on climate action.

The project underpins the reality that no single existing or emerging “silver bullet” technology is able to decarbonize long-distance shipping in light of the IMO’s ambitious 2050 and 2100 goals.

Batteries cannot store sufficient green electricity to decarbonize long-distance shipping, and fuel cells are expensive and have a significant life-cycle environmental impact from the use of rare metals. 

The reliance on carbon-neutral fuels alone (ammonia, hydrogen) wastes the immense potential for wind and solar propulsion available on board.

“If future shipping is to connect the world reliably, cost-effectively and quickly – and do so in line with the IMO’s 2050 goals – it must use a combination of future technologies working in symbiosis,” the university said.  

WMU’s role in the project will be to conduct life-cycle assessments of the various technologies and to calculate potential greenhouse gas emissions savings. It will also be responsible for the dissemination of the project results and communicating them to stakeholders and policymakers.

The project is expected to commence on 1 June 2021, with a duration of 36 months.