Jotun HullSkater robot
Jotun HullSkater robot

More action needed to achieve maritime decarbonisation

Regulations, collaboration, innovation, green financing and clean hulls are important elements to maritime decarbonisation, but more action is needed to achieve the ambitious International Maritime Organisation (IMO) targets, said industry experts at the Ocean Now event.

The event kicked off with a panel discussion titled Asian #ACTION - Partnering with Singapore to reach decarbonization goals . The discussion, which featured International Chamber of Shipping Chairman Esben Poulsson moderating a panel of Maritime Port Authority Singapore CEO Quah Ley Hoon and Andreas Sohmen-Pao Chairman of the BW Group sitting in Singapore and DNV CEO Remi Eriksen and Wilhelmsen Group CEO Thomas Wilhelmsen appearing via video link from Norway, shared their views on how the industry is tackling this current hot topic.

All of the panel participants are involved in a variety of projects and initiatives aimed at tackling decarbonisation or at least setting out on the journey. When Esben Poulsson asked each member to reveal their first thoughts, Andreas Sohmen-Pao began by mentioning ‘Just in Time arrival’ and describing it as a low hanging fruit and something that most ships could participate in now while the technologies needed for alternative fuels are developed.

See the full broadcast of Jotun HSS in the spotlight at 'Ocean Now'.

“We need to come together and get the job done”

Remi Eriksen was asked how organisations can both collaborate and compete with each other, to which he referenced several projects that DNV is participating in and said, “We shouldn’t think too much about competing, we need to come together and get the job done”.

When asked if they thought the IMO was travelling too slowly or too quickly, the point was made that it was the IMO that had set the ball rolling with its ambitious 2030 and 2050 targets in 2018. Furthermore, the IMO is more than 190 member states and while there was some consensus on the direction three years ago, movement can only come when countries commit and in that regard some shipowners and sectors are actually taking the lead in taking action.

Sohmen-Pao said the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) has been criticised by NGO’s as lacking ambition but in all shipping boardrooms the talk is of how to meet the rules. He added that action is happening and 20% of new orders are designed to run on alternative fuels immediately or be alternative fuel ready.

In another session titled Maritime transformations: Turn foresight into #ACTION , several short presentations were made by DNV experts on some of the organisational, technical and operational challenges in the shipping industry’s transition to decarbonisation.

Drivers for change – regulation, access to capital and consumer expectations

Mathias Sorhaug Business Development Leader Maritime listed three drivers for change – regulation, access to capital and consumer expectations. He stated, “it’s not about staying compliant – it’s about staying in business.”

Linda Hammar, Principal Consultant Maritime Advisory discussed the question of future fuels. All future fuels so far identified face challenges and barriers to their use and uptake. She listed seven areas where there are issues still to be resolved all of which will be familiar to operators including cost, infrastructure, technical maturity, availability and not least safety. She acknowledged that resolving these barriers will take a long time and singled out safety as being paramount.

Starting the afternoon broadcasts, Jotun gave viewers a look at its innovative Hull Skating Solutions (HSS) direct from the Kongsberg production and testing facility in Horten. It included a demonstration of the HullSkater device and talks with Senior Vice President and Head of Vessel Robotics Kjell Gjestad, who informed viewers about Kongsberg’s contribution to the development of the HullSkater.

Leading up to the HullSkater demonstration, DNV Senior Vice President Per Marius Berrefjord informed viewers about IMO regulatory developments and the two incoming regulations – EEXI and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) – saying the former was not a big problem for conventional tonnage but the latter could become a much bigger hurdle for owners and managers. “We are hoping for clarification around the decarbonisation trajectories at the IMO MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) later this month. If we can get more clarification on this, we will get closer to be able to say what is applicable ship by ship and it will be much easier to evaluate the implications for ships, easier for ship owners and other parties in the industry to really understand where it’s heading.”

Green financing and sustainability to the fore

Nina Ahlstrand, Head of Sustainable Finance DNB, talked about the growing importance of green financing and sustainability in the shipping industry. “Over the past few years we have definitely seen sustainability and perhaps even more so climate change rise to the top of many agendas. And it’s very clear that if we are to reach the Paris agreement large amounts of capital will need to be invested in the greener direction. So with capital comes both great responsibilities but also great opportunity.

“When it comes to shipping, green financing could for example be linked to investments in fuel efficient vessels, it could be for infrastructure supporting such vessels or it could be for other types of enabling activities that would ensure a lower environmental impact. And the HullSkater is of course a very relevant example of developing and using technology in partnership, and really finding new innovative technologies to increase the environmental performance in shipping. And as we see it, investors they are definitely looking for sustainable investment alternatives so green and sustainability-linked labels make it easier for investors to identify these types of investments,” she added.

New solution to help the industry move towards a more sustainable footprint

Continuing the theme of collaboration which ran through the whole event, after the demonstration several of the partners who had contributed to the development of the HullSkater voiced their opinions.

Geir Fagerheim, Senior Vice President Marine Operations Wallenius Wilhelmsen: “Managing biofouling represents a major industry challenge, so when Jotun approached us with their idea of developing the HullSkater technology we happily agreed to support them and offered one of our large vessels as a test platform. After several years of testing we firmly believe this can be a solution that will help the industry move towards a more sustainable footprint.”

Geir Håøy, President and CEO Kongsberg: “When Jotun was looking for a reliable technology partner it was natural for them to look to Kongsberg Maritime. And we are delighted to partner with Jotun to develop such an innovative product which will help customers to make their business more sustainable and more efficient.”

Hans Peter Havdal General Manager Norway, Semcon: “It has been very exciting and inspiring to work with the partnership group. We believe this innovation will have a significant impact on ship maintenance, with a positive gain in fuel consumption and less environmental impact.”

Significant scope to raise hull performance efficiency

Sarath Raj Principal Consultant DNV: “Biofouling is a pressing industry issue. There is significant scope to raise hull performance efficiency by maintaining a consistently clean hull through proactive cleaning and inspection technology.”

Key account manager Espen Myhre and Ove Fredheim, CMO Business at Telenor, agreed, “We think offering this solution as a service makes sense as it has a lot of market potential. From our side, being able to participate as partners in the development of this solution is highly rewarding. Partnerships like this are extremely interesting and make us proud. Norwegian companies have a lot to offer, especially when they work together. They can make a real difference on a global scale.”

Geir Axel Oftedahl, Breakthrough Innovations Director at Jotun Performance Coatings commented, “Biofouling on ships is a major problem in need of a solution. The IMO in its GHG emissions report estimate as much as 9% of the world’s fleet fuel consumption is a direct consequence of biofouling. This amounts to 85 M tonnes of additional GHG emissions and USD 12 billion in excess fuel cost every year.”

All eyes on MEPC

Taking the presentations overall – and bearing in mind the above was just a fraction of the two days’ presentations – it seems that while all involved are enthusiastic and excited about the future and confident that decarbonisation is now an accepted direction, the journey may not be as smooth or as quick as some would like.

Obviously, none of the speakers could know what may transpire at the IMO MEPC 76 meeting from 10-17 June; although some may have inside knowledge of the likely direction, and it will be interesting to see if the 190 or so member states of the IMO are as committed as Norway, Singapore and some others are to accelerating change.

What is almost certain is that there will be new environmental regulations to meet in the coming years and new technologies being developed to help assist in meeting them. However, it should not be overlooked that some ideas, especially those about clean hulls reducing drag and saving fuel as well as preventing the spread of invasive species, still have a role to play and a not insignificant one at that. More to the point, they can be actioned today while other technologies are still in early stages of development.

Get the full broadcast of Jotun HSS in the spotlight at 'Ocean Now’, or read more about our Hull Skating Solutions

Nor-Shipping may be a uniquely Norwegian event, but it has international appeal as those who regularly attend the exhibition and conference programme in normal years can attest. Since the 2021 event has been postponed until January 2021 due to the pandemic travelling restrictions, the organisers put together a very interesting and thought-provoking virtual conference over what would have been the first two days of the actual event. Throughout the two days, speaker after speaker pushed the decarbonisation message and the actions needed to achieve the ambitious IMO targets.

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