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2020

If you work in shipping and after seeing this number the first thing that comes to your mind is EMISSIONS, then you are on the right track!

In the previous Blue Innovation post we talked about the OPS as the means to control emissions in ports. However, seafarers have a saying that says “A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for,” which reminds us that a ship spends most of its life time in navigation. Even though emissions in port directly influence the communities nearby, the emissions from ships affect the environment in general.

It is not a new development for the IMO to work towards environmental responsibility. Since 1997 it has officially had the MARPOL Convention. In terms of emissions, by 2005 chapter VI of the convention has entered into force which aimed to control SOx, NOx, and other particle emissions that affect the earth’s ozone layer. Each year there is more responsibility and pressure coming from the IMO, encompassing the complex discussion of measures in favour of the environment within the complex understanding of the great changes and challenges involved in the issue. The complexity is there as it is a decision that calls for the necessary initiatives and technologies to be able to improve (decrease) emissions, considering the responsibility implied by the potential incidents that would affect the means of transport that mobilises 80% of the world’s goods.

The IMO has been known to set emission guidelines for decades, however quite a bit of controversy has surrounded the 2020 expectations. For instance, currently the global limit of sulphur contents of ships’ fuel oil is 3.5% and with the entry into force of the new limitations on the 1st of January 2020, emissions will need to be reduced to 0.5% SOx. The ECA zones will not be affected with this limitation, as these emissions have already been limited in 2015 from 1.0% to 0.1%.

What do all these changes mean and how to they relate to our Blue Innovation section? In this issue many of the alternative solutions to the challenges set by the IMO 2020 regulation will be listed, which will then be provided with source links for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the subjects.

In a way, as a consequence of the global concerns and pressures to tackle climate change, technological developments are the ones that are going to be able to face all these changes with the smallest possible impact on the global economy. This signifies the need to not only change the fuel type used by commercial vessels, but the logistics of bunker supply, adaptation of machinery and installations and procedures that take a lot of time as well, especially when thinking about more than 95,000 merchant ships worldwide.

ALTERNATIVE FUELS

In order to meet the new IMO regulations, ships have several options, including fuel quality (low sulphur fuel oil) and alternative fuels (methanol, biofuels, LNG, H2, etc.), which require major adaptations to the engine systems.

M/V AIDA Nova on LNG bunker operation at the Port of Barcelona. Source: http://www.spanishports.es/texto-diario/mostrar/1401337/puerto-barcelona-recibe-primer-crucero-propulsado-gas-natural-licuado

 

HYBRID AND ELECTRIC PROPULSION SYSTEMS

On the other hand, some proposals include the use of hybrid systems combining of diesel-electric, gas-electric or even ones relying solely on electricity. The first are systems that combine the operation of a fuel for the generation of energy that is stored in batteries and used according to operational needs, thus distributing and optimizing emissions. It is also true that since 2015 fully electric ships have been a reality in the market, but due to their short autonomy, they have not spread out.

WIND SYSTEMS

Wind propulsion has also been a part of the proposals. It contemplates (depending on the type of vessels) the possibility of implementing systems that help propulsion through the use of wind force. Some examples of such systems are DynaRig, Flettner-Rotors and even research projects such as Wind & Solar Power for Sustainable Shipping or the Kite propulsion system. These systems are not intended to replace the engines but can compensate an operational process of slow steaming without resulting in significant changes in the journey.

Maersk Pelican with Rotor Sails, project done by Norsepower confirmed savings of 8.2 % fuel and associated CO2.
http://wind-ship.org/norsepower//

AFTER-TREATMENT EMISSION CONTROL

Alongside the previously mentioned alternatives, there are after-treatment emission control systems such as Integrating SOx and NOx Abatement, Selective Catalytic Reduction or scrubbers which, despite their investment, have come to be seen as viable options for shipping companies in which open (sea water) or closed (fresh water) systems function as filters to reduce PM by 80% and SOx by up to 98%.

Exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) https://www.dnvgl.com/expert-story/maritime-impact/Scrubbers-at-a-glance.html

The availability of so many alternatives does not mean that following the IMO rules will be easy. Many of the proposed solutions require a lot of investment, result in large operating costs, require major changes in systems and equipment or massive supply capacities for fleets. Each shipping company will have to adapt according to their routes, facilities and structures, and choose a system that complies with emissions regulations.

All of this is accompanied by other alternative technologies that, while not necessarily reduce emissions, help in the performance of the ship and therewith improve its overall environmental footprint. The improvements could be new aerodynamics, low resistance paints, trim optimization, optimization of aerodynamics of propellers and rudders, optimized pumping in cooling systems, and even the use of big data to improve the sensors in equipment and prevent excessive consumption by optimizing the maintenance or the use of data to predict optimal routes according to environmental conditions.

There is no doubt that the Blue Economy will be affected by the 2020 regulations. The world’s waking up to the threats and dangers posed by climate change, and all of the world’s industries are adapting. The maritime world will perhaps be the one most affected by the new rules as, being responsible for 80% of all trade in an increasingly globalised society, it is one of the more significant polluters. As in any case though, challenges bring new and innovative solutions, and we are very excited to see what the industry will bring in the coming years to continue to innovate and protect our Blue Economy.

Written by:

  • Vanessa Bexiga – Operations Manager (Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport)

Useful links:

IMO adopts carriage ban on high-sulphur fuel

Ships without scrubbers will be unable to carry fuel with a sulphur content higher than 0.5% from March 2020 after the move was adopted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) last week.

The move is seen as a key step in improving the enforceability of IMO’s global sulphur cap (to be implemented from 1 January 2020), meaning that ships will not be able to carry non-compliant fuel unless they have the means to comply with the sulphur limit. It is just one of several measures supporting the new sulphur regulations to have been agreed at the seventy-third sitting of MEPC.

The committee also approved guidance on ship implementation planning as part of a set of guidelines being developed by IMO to ensure consistent implementation. The g guidance includes sections on risk assessment and mitigation planning; fuel oil system modifications and tank cleaning; fuel oil capacity and segregation capability; procurement of compliant fuel; fuel oil changeover planning; and documentation and reporting.

Further guidance approved by MEPC includes best practice for fuel oil suppliers, which is intended to assist purchasers and users in assuring the quality of sulphur compliant fuel. The guidance pertains to aspects of the purchase up to the loading of the purchased fuel.

A proposal suggesting an ‘experience-building phase’ to allay concerns about the safety of low-sulphur fuels was defeated, despite receiving some strong support. However, MEPC invited proposals to the next sitting (in May next year) on how to enhance the implementation of regulation 18 if Marpol annex VI, which covers fuel oil quality and availability. The regulation requires parties to ‘take all reasonable steps’ to promote the availability of compliant fuel oils, as well as informing IMO of the availability of compliant fuel oils in its ports and terminals. Parties are also required to notify IMO when a ship has presented evidence of the non-availability of compliant fuel oil.

Ship owner association BIMCO declared itself ‘very satisfied’ with the developments. “The industry retains a fixed implementation date, which is important, while we at the same time address the safety concerns,” said Lars Robert Pedersen, deputy secretary general. He added that the association would work diligently to craft proposals that will enable the shipping industry to harvest experience to reduce the risk of safety issues associated with sulphur compliance.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) welcomed progress at MEPC73 but noted that “numerous complex issues that need addressing urgently by IMO, both at the MEPC next May and by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in December”. A detailed paper has already been submitted to MSC calling on governments to better enforce fuel quality.

“In view of the enormity of this major change it’s likely there’ll be some teething problems immediately before and after 1 January 2020,” said Esben Poulsson, secretary general, ICS. “Many industry associations have raised legitimate concerns about fuel availability, safety and compatibility of new fuels – a particular problem for those in the tramp trades.

“But if shipowners can demonstrate in good faith that they’ve done everything possible to follow an implementation plan – in line with the template IMO has now adopted – we hope that common sense will prevail in the event that safe and compliant fuels are not immediately available everywhere.”

Source: Motorship.

IMO Toolkits to Tackle Maritime Emissions

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published a new set of toolkits for shippers and ports, to assess ways of reducing emissions across the maritime sector.

The Ship Emissions Toolkit and Port Emissions Toolkit have been developed under the Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project, the IMO working in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH).

Astrid Dispert, GloMEEP Technical Adviser, has stated that the new guides will help countries seeking to develop and strengthen regulatory frameworks related to the prevention of air pollution, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Dispert said: “Both the ship and port emission toolkits provide practical guidance on assessing emissions so that a national emission reduction strategy for the maritime sector can be developed.

“The GloMEEP guides provide a wealth of information on assessment techniques and how to develop a national strategy, as well as links to further practical guidance.”

According to a statement, both toolkits have been developed through extensive testing and feedback, gathered from their practical use during national and regional training activities.

Both toolkits feature decision support tools for evaluating emissions reduction opportunities, including guidance for conducting a rapid assessment that generates both quantitative and qualitative information.

Dispert added: “Ports and shipping are intrinsically linked – as such, efforts to reduce maritime emissions need to extend beyond seagoing ships alone.

“IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI regulations on air pollution and energy efficiency are aimed at ships, but it is clear that for port emissions to be reduced, national authorities need to consider emissions from all sources, including cargo handling equipment, trucks – as well as domestic vessels.”

Source: Port Technology

IMO Begins Validating Autonomous Ship Operations

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the global regulatory body for international shipping, has started exploring how autonomous ships could operate safely, securely and in an environmentally friendly way.

As part of its investigation the IMO, which has provided the term Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) to autonomous vessels, will look into how the ship operations may be addressed in IMO instruments.

The organization’s senior technical body, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), has endorsed a framework for a regulatory scoping exercise as work in progress.

Its framework includes preliminary definitions of MASS and degrees of autonomy, as well as a methodology for conducting the exercise and a plan of work.

For the purpose of the regulatory scoping exercise, MASS is defined as a ship which, to a varying degree, can operate independently of human interaction.

However, MASS could be operating at one or more degrees of autonomy for the duration of a single voyage.

IMO categories for autonomy:

  • Ship with automated processes and decision support: Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and functions. Some operations may be automated.

  • Remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board: The ship is controlled and operated from another location, but seafarers are on board.

  • Remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board: The ship is controlled and operated from another location. There are no seafarers on board.

  • Fully autonomous ship: The operating system of the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself.

As a first step, the IMO’s scoping exercise will identify current provisions in an agreed list of IMO instruments and assess how they may or may not be applicable to ships with varying degrees of autonomy and whether they may preclude MASS operations.

As a second step, an analysis will be conducted to determine the most appropriate way of addressing MASS operations, taking into account, inter alia, the human element, technology and operational factors.

The MSC, which met for its 99th session on May 16-25, 2018, established a correspondence group on MASS to test the framework of the regulatory scoping exercise agreed at the session and, in particular, the methodology, and report back to its next session, MSC 100 on December 3-7, 2018.

Speaking at the opening of the MSC meeting, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim highlighted the importance of remaining flexible to accommodate new technologies, and so improve the efficiency of shipping — “while at the same time keeping in mind the role of the human element and the need to maintain safe navigation, further reducing the number of marine casualties and incidents”.

Source: Port Technology

GHG Emissions Policy Gets Varied Response from Environmental and Ocean Freight Shipping

Guidelines for Change Still Controversial – Too Little or Too Much? 

Nobody could accuse the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of rushing into a decision regarding its avowed intent to cut pollution from cargo and passenger vessels. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions legislation has caused controversy since first suggested and has been something of a no win situation fparor the IMO as shipping lines, the freight community and environmentalists have all been publicising their views. On Friday April 13 we finally heard what the IMOs ‘Initial Strategy’ is to be, and the controversy, although muted, continues.

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has announced that all participating member states have now finally agreed to reduce CO2 emissions as against 2008 levels by 50% by the year 2050. This decision comes after heated lobbying from all sides and has variously been hailed as ‘landmark’, ‘realistic’ and ‘far from perfect’ depending on who you listen to.

One has to have some sympathy with the IMO on this, it was always going to be impossible to please everybody and whilst viewed as a lumbering monolith by some, others consider the organisation the only chance to make collective decisions which have a truly global influence. Whatever your view, the details of Friday’s decision make it plain there is still a long way to go.

The new agreement comments that shipping must strive to assist in reaching the aim of the Paris Climate Agreement’s temperature goal, keeping the rise in global warming well below 2° C. Critics will say that the new agreement lacks detail with no specifics regarding timeframe for the reductions and this is a table of ambition rather than a prescriptive policy. Regulations will only be drawn up after yet another two rounds of studies due for completion by 2022.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim hinted that, despite resistance from several states, progress was already being made. The move toward cleaner ships is already under way as technology progresses and some will see a degree of prevarication in the IMO’s stance, simply waiting for the industry to sort the problem itself. He commented:

“I encourage you to continue your work through the newly adopted Initial GHG Strategy which is designed as a platform for future actions. I am confident in relying on your ability to relentlessly continue your efforts and develop further actions that will soon contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships.”

Just as the use of emission scrubbers, lower sulphur fuels and electrically powered vessels help with air quality, so the steadily rising amount of goods transported has the opposite effect. Last week we heard environmental operation Transparency International roundly criticise IMO policy, saying the industry holds too much sway over the organisation. Certainly the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) which called for a 50% reduction, rather than the more swingeing cuts which some states preferred, seems to have got its way.

ICS says that the efficiency goal that has been agreed by IMO Member States for the sector as a whole, a 40% improvement by 2030, compared to 2008, and a 50-70% improvement by 2050, is extremely ambitious but probably achievable. But only if governments recognise the enormity of this challenge and facilitate the rapid development of new technologies and fuels. ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe commenting:

“This is a ground breaking agreement, a Paris Agreement for shipping, that sets a very high level of ambition for the future reduction of CO2 emissions. We are confident this will give the shipping industry the clear signal it needs to get on with the job of developing zero CO2fuels, so that the entire sector will be in a position to decarbonise completely, consistent with the 1.5 degree climate change goal.”

“The agreed IMO objective of cutting the sector’s total GHG emissions by at least 50% before 2050, as part of a continuing pathway for further reduction, is very ambitious indeed, especially when account is taken of current projections for trade growth as the world’s population and levels of prosperity continue to increase.”

The UK Chamber of Shipping lauded the agreement and set out the view of many UK shipping groups whilst emphasising the size and importance of the sector. CEO Guy Platten said:

“This agreement commits the shipping industry to reducing its carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2050. But crucially this should be seen as a stepping stone towards decarbonisation in the long term, something which must be continue to be a major focus in the years ahead. Shipping moves 90% of global trade, and people understand the link between trade and prosperity, but rightly they demand we do it in a sustainable and responsible way. Climate change is real and we have a responsibility to play our part in preventing further damage to the environment.

“The shipping industry has already made great strides. Battery-powered ferries operate in Scotland, Scandinavia and elsewhere. Huge investment has gone in to better hydrodynamics, more efficient engines and lower carbon fuels. But make no mistake, these marginal gains alone are not enough to meet the 50% target, and certainly will not be enough meet the public’s expectations of a more fully decarbonised industry.”

“In truth, there is widespread understanding that in the long-term the industry needs to be powered by carbon-free fuel, and that will almost certainly mean a mix of battery, hydrogen and other zero-carbon fuels. Whilst battery and hydrogen cell technology does exist, their current capabilities are not sufficient to become the dominant fuels of the industry at this time. So research and development is now required on a massive scale.

“Last year the UK Government put £250 million of investment into battery R&D but that was targeted almost exclusively at the automotive sector. We need to see that kind of government-industry collaboration now applied to the shipping industry. Other countries are already investing heavily in developing carbon free fuels for ships.

”The UK could, of course, leave them to it. But if the future vision for the industry includes much greater use of carbon free fuel in international shipping, having that technology developed in the UK will mean huge opportunities to create jobs and generate wealth. The UK Government should pledge therefore to make the UK a world leader in carbon free fuels through investment in research and development.”

The international view was put by the World Shipping Council (WSC) which welcomed the agreement calling it ‘an ambitious strategy’ whilst requesting the IMO now initiates a formal Research and Development Programme itself. This was initially proposed when the WSC, and other organisations, submitted a paper last year to MEPC describing the need for a substantial, focused, and sustained programme. WSC President and CEO John Butler took the long view on reducing GHG emissions from shipping, saying:

“As hard as it was to reach political agreement this week, what comes next will be harder. We have to shift from a political mindset to an engineering mindset. There are no quick fixes here, but we can solve this problem. To do that we must establish a maritime research and development effort that will deliver the tools necessary to transform the industry. That is the next step for the IMO.”

For its part BIMCO says it is very satisfied with the strategy and that change in the industry was already well under way with emissions now decoupled from the growth in the world economy. The organisation, the largest of the international shipping associations representing ship owners with 56% of the world’s fleet by tonnage on its books says it sees zero carbon emissions as a realistic goal for the second half of this century, but reiterated that investments in research and technology are required to get there. Deputy General Secretary, Lars Robert Pedersen, commented:

“In BIMCO we believe that the industry can deliver on this target, even if we don’t exactly know how, yet. The strategy shows that there is only one road ahead, and that is the road towards decarbonisation. The strategy reinforces existing IMO regulations to enhance the energy efficiency of ships and sets out the long-term goals. This will guide the development of new technology and the design of new ships. Now we have to focus on the mid-to-long term. We have to find the technology and procedures that will drive us towards zero GHG emissions.”

Even environmental pressure group Greenpeace was receptive to the proposals but said that although the deal lists possible mitigation measures, the lack of an action plan for their development and the tone of discussions at the IMO does not give the organisation much confidence that measures will be adopted soon. Greenpeace urges the industry to transform these goals into concrete, urgent steps to decarbonise in full as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest. Greenpeace International political advisor Veronica Frank, observed

“The plan is far from perfect, but the direction is now clear, a phase out of carbon emissions. This decarbonisation must start now and targets improved along the way, because without concrete, urgent measures to cut emissions from shipping now the Paris ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees will become swiftly out of reach.

“The IMO plan is a first step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to achieve climate stability. The initial deal will be revised in 2023 and reviewed again in 2028, giving opportunities to strengthen the targets.”

Source: Handy Shipping Guide

Global shipping in ‘historic’ climate deal

The global shipping industry has for the first time agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases. The move comes after talks in April at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London.

Shipping has previously been excluded from climate agreements, but under the new climate deal, emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

One minister from a Pacific island state described the agreement as “history in the making”.

Shipping generates roughly the same quantity of greenhouse gases as Germany and, if it were accounted for as a nation, would rank as the world’s 6th biggest emitter.

Like aviation, it had been excluded from climate negotiations because it is an international activity while both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement involved national pledges to reduce greenhouse gases.

The United States, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and a few other countries had not wanted to set a target for cutting shipping emissions at all.

By contrast the European Union had pushed for a cut of 70-100%.

So the deal for a 50% reduction is a compromise which some argue is unrealistic while others say does not go far enough.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, who had chaired the controversial talks, said: “This initial strategy is not a final statement but a key starting point.”

The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands had opened the conference with a plea for action. Although it has the world’s second largest register of shipping, it had warned that failure to achieve deep cuts would threaten the country’s survival, as global warming raises sea levels.

As the talks concluded, the nation’s environment minister David Paul said: “To get to this point has been hard, very hard. And it has involved compromises by all countries. Not least by vulnerable island nations like my own who wanted something, far, far more ambitious than this one.”

Mr Paul added: “This is history in the making… if a country like the Marshall Islands, a country that is very vulnerable to climate change, and particularly depends on international shipping, can endorse this deal, there is no credible excuse for anybody else to hold back.”

Laurent Parente, the ambassador of Vanuatu, also a Pacific island nation, was not satisfied but hoped the deal would lead to tougher action in future. “It is the best we could do and is therefore what this delegation will support as the initial strategy that we have no doubt will evolve to higher ambitions in the near future.”

By contrast, the head of the US delegation to the talks, Jeffrey Lantz, made clear his country’s opposition to the deal. “We do not support the establishment of an absolute reduction target at this time,” he said. “In addition, we note that achieving significant emissions reductions, in the international shipping sector, would depend on technological innovation and further improvements in energy efficiency.” Mr Lantz reiterated that the US, under President Trump, has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change. He also criticised the way the IMO had handled the talks, describing it as “unacceptable and not befitting this esteemed organisation.”

But a clear majority of the conference was in favour of action.

The UK’s shipping minister, Nusrat Ghani, described the agreement as ” a watershed moment with the industry showing it is willing to play its part in protecting the planet”.

The move will send a signal through the industry that rapid innovation is now needed. Ships may have to operate more slowly to burn less fuel. New designs for vessels will be streamlined and engines will have to be cleaner, maybe powered by hydrogen or batteries, or even by the wind.

Author: David Shukman, BBC Science Editor

Source: BBC News

European ports support community plans to reduce emissions in maritime transport

Port facilities, coastal cities and their local communities are among the groups most vulnerable to extreme climatic conditions resulting from global warming.

The International Maritime Organization, IMO, will adopt its initial strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gases during the month of April in the Committee for the Protection of the Marine Environment. For this purpose, the setting of a limit for the reduction of CO2 emissions in the short term and other measures in the medium and long term will be discussed.

Once adopted, this strategy will be combined with other national measures to test their effectiveness and alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement to combat global warming.

This is required by the European Union, which has recently agreed on its position on these negotiations and has the support of the European Sea Ports Organisation  (ESPO). In this sense, they expect their opinions to be taken into account in the negotiation as a constructive contribution.

Under the Paris Agreement, all countries and economic sectors must initiate immediate actions to maintain the temperature rise below 2 °C, although ports, coastal cities and their local communities are among the groups most vulnerable to theclimatic extreme conditions that result from global warming.

Both the measures proposed by Brussels and by the EU countries to achieve this goal require ports to reduce the carbon footprint of their terrestrial activities. In parallel, European ports aim to achieve the decarbonisation of maritime transport through a range of sustainable services.

In this line, the European Directive for the infrastructure of alternative fuels determines that the ports of the TEN-T network should by 2025 have adequate facilities for the bunkering and supply of LNG fuel by means of power supplies in their enclosures.

Source: Cadena de Suministro