Working together to go green
Increasing environmental legislation means that ship owners wanting to chart a smooth course towards compliance face numerous challenges along the way. Combining the experience and knowledge from Damen Green Solutions and Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) provides owners with project management and engineering skills for retrofit contracts as well as informed product selection.
Global transport is getting cleaner and more sustainable. Admittedly, when you compare different sectors, the rates of change are highly variable. But still, the signs are clearly visible. Look at the rise of electric and hybrid technologies in the automotive industry. The establishment of the Hydrogen Council – the first global initiative to investigate hydrogen as a viable fuel source – at the World Economic Forum is another example. And the potential of solar-powered aviation was demonstrated last year when the Solar Impulse aircraft completed the first ever circumnavigation of the globe using the Sun as singular power source.
There are also developments to be seen in the maritime sector. In September 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) ratified the Ballast Water Management Convention. A month later they confirmed that the legislation regarding emissions of Sulphur oxides, which have been enforced in the Sulphur Emissions Control Areas (SECA) of the Baltic and North Seas since 2015, will be extended globally from 2020. Furthermore, as of 2021, European SECAs will also be defined as Nitrogen Emission Control Areas (NECAs) to include nitrogen oxides emissions.
The right choice
The aim of the cooperation between DSC and Damen Green Solutions is to ease the transition towards compliance for ship owners. For example, with close to 70 different manufacturers of ballast water treatment systems on the market, selecting the most suitable one for a vessel can be a formidable task.
The approach is to help ship owners make the right decision, says Damen Green Solutions Managing Director Marcel Karsijns: “We have investigated the market thoroughly – looking into the pros and cons of all the available systems. This includes the technology, the energy consumption, the physical footprint of the system and the after-sales service. With this information, we have made sales agreements with four leading ballast water treatment systems producers.
”Smoothing the way even further is the practical synergy between Damen Green Solutions and DSC. By combining the knowledge and experience of both companies, an entire ballast water treatment system retrofit can be handled in one contract. This is the one-stopshop that we talk about,” he continues. “Damen Green Solutions deals with the engineering, work preparation and planning and then DSC performs the project management and execution in a very efficient way – with minimal downtime. This is what they specialise in.”
Return on investment
In order to comply with SECA (and in the future, NECA) regulations, one option for ship owners is exhaust gas after-treatment systems, otherwise known as scrubbers. Once again, cooperation with a specialist manufacturer has been important. “We found a partner in AEC, part of the VDL group,” states Mr Karsijns. “They have an IMO-certified scrubber system which is very cost effective.”
According to Kees Jan Groen, Commercial Director at DSC, ship owners can look at a scrubber retrofit from a different perspective. “For the owner, a scrubber represents an investment that he will see a return on. The difference in price between HFO and MDO will determine how fast he sees that return.” DSC has developed a modular approach to scrubber installation. Their efficient configuration involves installing certain components in the ship’s funnel and others on the deck to reduce the amount of work in the engine room. “We have built up valuable experience performing scrubber retrofits. Of course, every ship is different, but we can transfer the knowledge gained from previous projects to new projects that we are planning,” states Mr Groen. “Our competitive strength comes in being able to complete complex projects in tight schedules to the highest quality.”
Room for both low and high tech
Making a vessel ‘greener’ can involve low-tech solutions too. “Getting a vessel into drydock to clean the propeller, and then clean and repaint the hull with antifouling can yield instant results in terms of fuel consumption,” notes Mr Groen, “What’s more, we offer this type of service based on a fixed number of days and a fixed price.”
How does Mr Karsijns see Damen further contributing to the implementation of sustainable technologies? “Our involvement includes investigations of solar power, alternative fuels and even more efficient electric technologies. This is small scale at the moment, but there are some very important steps to make. When all the flags are green you can proceed. The key point is that you have to think at least 10 years ahead – otherwise you cannot develop these new markets.”