As promised in our previous Instagram posts, this week we are writing about how the marine industry is trying to contribute to sustainability. The automotive industry has already embraced propulsion electrification, but the marine industry is also strong in making its efforts towards innovative solutions. Of course, not every solution is absolutely sustainable, but it is at least a step ahead of business-as-usual. Digitalization is another trend which is completely immersed in the nautical industry and it offers different means of sharing resources. In the text below we are bringing you three practices on how the marine industry is trying to be more sustainable.
The digitalization of logistics mostly applies to container transport and commercial shipping. Big companies have an array of digital apps and services at their hand, which allow them to control their route, fuel consumption, speed and similar parameters. During operation, all of these parameters can be monitored and optimized. For example, vessels can adjust their route or speed, in respect towards a more sustainable and/or cost efficient option.
Additionally, there are different platforms which allow the wireless connectivity to staff or cargo onboard.
Private owners who engage in recreational boating can enjoy the benefits of a fuel manager for years already. A small display allows them to track and monitor their speed and fuel consumption and adjust it accordingly. Of course, the increasing electric and hybrid propulsion options are motivating private owners to reconsider their choices.
The development in the marine industry greatly influenced naval architects and the way they realize their projects. An array of software and digital solutions are allowing naval architects to adjust their projects towards the end client’s needs, wishes, boat speed, length and different other characteristics. By using computational optimization, a project can be achieved which is suitable for specific consumption and more sustainable boating.
Additionally, companies are now offering new hull coatings which are not of highly toxic content, are minimizing the drought and increasing the speed and efficiency of the vessel.
Alternative fuels which are available or in development for vessels include: LNG, LPG, bio fuels, ammonia, hydrogen, methanol and electrification. As an additional propulsion option, there is wind assisted propulsion. Linda Sigrid Hammer for the Marine Forecast 2050 anticipates 11000 application with wind assisted propulsion.
Methanol and ammonia are better energy carriers than hydrogen, but they are more toxic and more suitable for two-stroke engines. The hydrogen atom is the smallest and most light atom in the period system of elements. In fuel it is known as the hydrogen molecule H2. Due to being so light, it is more difficult to store hydrogen and special tanks are needed. Also, hydrogen requires extra care in handling due to its flammability. Anyhow, development in hydrogen in propulsion in the marine industry does not have to start from scratch due to previous development in the automotive industry.
There is a lot of discussion around LNG and LPG, since their origin does not make them sustainable and they do not stem from renewable energy sources. However, there are still subsidies on the market which encourage the use of LNG and LPG.
We presented you a few solutions how the marine industry is working on increasing their sustainability rating. More trends and news will be presented in the weeks to come, with a more thorough review on alternative fuels, while we hope we managed to spark your interest for sustainability in the marine industry!