Waterborne SRIA

Energy efficiency

State of the art

Past EU research has addressed a large number of energy efficiency related topics in the previous framework programmes FP 5 to FP 7. Substantial progress has been achieved in a number of individual areas, e.g. in ship resistance and propulsion and engine technology. Here, European makers and suppliers are clearly among world market leaders and it can be reasonably concluded that at least part of these successes are due to the work performed in European research projects. The developments and resulting products typically address individual solutions which already, considered as stand-alone solutions, promise substantial improvements.

Despite the individual successes in a number of Energy Efficiency related technologies, the full potential of the technologies still has not been unleashed as often the integration of all advanced tools and concepts into a holistic energy saving approach is missing.

The following technology trends have been found most relevant for maintaining technological and commercial competitiveness and leadership for the European Maritime industry:

  • Hydrodynamics, Resistance & Propulsion: Whilst a lot has been achieved particularly during the last decade to improve hull forms and propulsive efficiency, not least due to recent numerical (CFD) developments originating from earlier framework research, further improvements of frictional resistance (mainly on ship hulls) through the use of advanced coatings, air lubrication techniques and boundary layer control methods, all considered in a life-cycle context, are required. In the present operational context this appears to be the most important element to further reduce energy consumption of maritime transportation.

    In addition, full scale validation of prediction methods, further aspects of operational resistances – including wind and waves – and dedicated developments for advanced propulsors will form the basis of anticipated future developments.

  • Powering: Improved engine design for operation in “off-design” conditions remains an issue. A special focus needs to be laid on advanced control strategies. the use of new engine components and materials for improved corrosion, fatigue, fouling and high load performance. In view of the expected increase in retro-fit and conversion actions, novel concepts for engine room design to work for integrated retro-fit concepts will be required.

    The use of alternative fuels in the context of multi-fuel engines opens a complete new field. While LNG has been widely adopted in Europe as well as international, the next big step will be the adoption of even more alternative fuel concepts to be run in a single engine. This is associated with developments addressing technology as well as logistics with a special focus on life-cycle cost and impact assessment.

    Renewable energy sources, associated with Energy storage and distribution systems, can make a meaningful contribution to energy efficiency, significantly integrating the main sources for power peak shaving or for crisis management, to help to reduce noxious gas emissions

  • Emissions: Emission reductions, though not strictly in the context of Energy Efficiency or savings, will play an important role in the future. Post treatment technologies like 2nd generation scrubbers will receive more attention; modelling and more technical developments will be required. Here again, life-cycle considerations will play an important role.

  • Energy Management: A complete management of the entire energy household on board ships is one of the main development areas promising substantial gains for the future. While several EU research and other development lines have addressed the issue already in the past 5 years, a holistic solution is still missing.

    With “Big Data” being one of the buzz words in present shipping terminology, technological advances (IT) and advanced regulations (e.g. MRV guidelines) allow and require capturing a much larger amount of data relevant for the assessment and management of Energy consumption of a vessel. Whilst it will soon be possible to accumulate a large amount of information on fuel consumption, performance of individual components and the overall energy household of a ship, together with operational and environmental conditions, the processing of such data will remain a challenge. A proper analysis and decision making support tools will remain the main task for future development.

  • Energy Efficiency governance: The technological evolution is further expected to lead to changes to the presently (IMO) adopted approach to the formulation of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). With more knowledge on efficiency gains, minimum power requirement, e.g. for safe return to port and conceptual rule driven designs an adaptation of the design index shall become mandatory.