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The Escola reaffirms its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals

Days away from 2020, the Escola Europea reflects on the achievements made during the year. The Sustainable Development Goals have been set to solidify the urgent changes that society would need to make to tackle social inequality, climate change, poverty, and political turmoil, among others.

With this in light, the Escola’s work in 2019 can be summarised as follows:

  • In 2019, the Escola has organised a staggering 42 courses (nearing one course per week), and welcomed participants from Spain, Belgium, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Morocco, Algeria, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. There was an increase in the number of participants coming from the Magred, which could be explained with the success of the TransLogMED project and the growth of the North African trade networks. In total, 1,485 students passed through the Escola’s doors and took advantage of the unique course-workshops.
  • 2019 also saw the creation and fulfilment of new technical courses. Curricula and course programmes were prepared for the Temperature-Controlled Freight transport Course, detailed plan were made for the Port Operations Summer school (which now took the form of a 2 week course, separated by vessels and goods), and the Groupage and Consolidation Course was further extended. Successful courses were also carried out for the former two technical courses, with a Groupage course planned for the spring of 2020.
  • The Escola’s courses are constantly undergoing improvements and modifications. In 2019 the team created a Log Book to give to the students at the start of each course, which contains tasks, puzzles and activities that further enrich the participants’ experiences.
  • Formati al Porto was officially launched in Italy, demonstrating the huge success the programme has attained in Barcelona and its appeal to other termional communities.
  • The Escola has had it’s first paper published in a conference – the annual World of Shipping International Research Conference on Maritime Affairs. The paper, which can be found here, summarised the current state of experiential training methods in Europe, and provided a quantitative analysis of the approach applied to the Escola’s courses. Thank you to all of the Escola’s partners and alumni who have generously submitted their survey responses to help us carry out the study.

2020 shows all signs of being a very intensive one for the Escola Europea, with technical courses for professionals planned for the spring, the summer school, and the usual MOST courses in the autumn. In the past decade, the organisation has increased its influence in Europe and throughout the Mediterranean through the development of new and innovative courses for students and professionals, the signing of new agreements with influential universities and training centres, and the active participation in European projects, and 2019 has shown that it is continuing to do so, whilst applying the Global Development Goals to its activities.

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.

From LNG to Hydrogen? Pitfalls and Possibilities

Liquid hydrogen could get a leg up from the industry’s experience with LNG propulsion,writes Stevie Knight.

Gerd-Michael Wuersig, DNV-GL’s business director for Alternative Fuels explains: “While hydrogen doesn’t come under the IGF code as yet, from my point of view I’d say the maritime industry’s hesitancy is more due to missing experience; most of the process technology and safety principles that relate to LNG will relate to hydrogen, and while there are different factors involved, in the end the risk level will not be very different. This is the good news.”

The bad news is that while your shipboard or bunkering design might look very similar, the components, like valves, hoses and piping are not necessarily interchangeable: “It’s a smaller molecule and it can escape through joints or seals that would retain LNG,” he adds. “You’d have to look to see if the current components would be suitable – but most likely I think you’ll have changes in your equipment,” says Dr Wuersig. And, he adds, it’ll work out quite a bit more pricey.

However, he also points out that the while it may be a novel application, the technology itself is not new.Joe Pratt underlines this point: “The equipment and expertise has been in existence for a long time. In North America, for example, LH2 production, handling, and distribution have been mature for over 50 years… So a lot of the components will come off the shelf.”

More, LNG developments can’t help much here as at this point the design deviates sharply. Two characteristics of LH2 are low density and low boiling temperature: together these demand an extremely low heat flux through the tank walls.

Dr Wuersig explains that the normal 40cm LNG insulation “just won’t work”. He says a moderately large LNG tank could lose 0.2% of its total volume a day but “store hydrogen in the same kind of tank and you would actually lose 5% of the contents every day to vaporisation”.

“Therefore to get down to roughly the same boil off rate the insulation of the hydrogen tank must be about 10 times more efficient than an LNG tank,” says Dr Wuersig. “In fact you need a system that is gas tight from the outside as well as the inside with no chance of the air finding its way into the insulation – if it does it will condense, and this will suck yet more air in.”

A multilayer approach with an evacuated space between the inner and outer shell is already being used to keep LH2 and liquid helium cold in the industrial sector, but there’s only one project so far – for a KHI-designed ship – that’s being scaled for the marine trading world, although the eventual development of larger vessels will have an advantage because higher capacity tanks exhibit a lower boil off rate.

There are other dissimilarities between LNG and LH2. Dr Pratt says when it comes to bunkering, “the biggest difference is the much colder temperature of LH2” and explains that unlike LNG, H2 is actually colder than oxygen or nitrogen. While LNG can hover at -163°C, liquid hydrogen needs to be kept at -253°C.

So, “even through vacuum insulation you will get very cold temperature on the outside of the pipe that can freeze or condense oxygen and nitrogen out of the air”.  For practical purposes, not only do you need a very high grade of insulation, “there will be some drip pans and possibly restrictions on fuelling over asphalt to prevent any fire possibility as a result of having pure oxygen forming around the pipes”, said Dr Pratt.

BIG QUESTION

Hydrogen is already the chosen option for a number of smaller vessels with an environmental agenda: “Norway is working on constructing hydrogen fuelled vessels, mostly battery hybrids, as it is aiming for zero emissions in the fjords,” says Dr Wuersig. The autonomous Energy Observer, which electrolyses seawater for fuel, has recently set off on a six year missionand Dr Pratt is himself pursuing the build of a small, multipurpose freight carrier for California through GGZEM.

But, the most obvious question is: would hydrogen be a useful alternative for big ships?

First of all, bigger ships will need to bunker liquefied, not compressed, hydrogen. Dr Pratt says: “In general, it’s always better to go to LH2 if you can get it and afford the cost difference – it gives you more range or longer times between refuelling than gas, no matter what the size of the vessel.” This obviously needs the development of infrastructure – and here again, the industry experience with LNG will be invaluable – but on which kinds of vessels could it find a home?

Sandia’s research Practical Application Limits of Fuel Cells and Batteries for Zero Emission Vessels* (at the time lead by Dr Pratt), has dug deep into the nitty-gritty, with a look at no less than 14 possible ships and their associated routes.

This takes a detailed look not just at the power required, but whether the ship could actually accommodate the necessary architecture – helped of course by the fact that fuel cells, unlike a shaft drive engine, can be positioned in a variety of areas.

One of the 14 studies was the 397m Emma Maersk. Despite the large power and energy requirements, the research showed that the ship is able to hold a fuel cell powerplant using liquid hydrogen, scaled for a single voyage from Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia to Port Said, Egypt with a total voyage time of 256hr at an average speed of 19.6 knots and average shaft power of 36.1MW. This would require bunkering with 616t of LH2.

Likewise, a detailed look at Colombo Express (335m) showed that it could carry out three of its typical, single trips between Singapore and Colombo, Sri Lanka, fuelled with 183t of LH2.

The devil is in the detail. Dr Wuersig points out that hydrogen has a low energy density by volume (though not by weight) which is only around 40% of that LNG. As already pointed out, LH2 isn’t heavy, but one tonne of it takes up over 14,128 litres by volume: this means 8,500m3 of LH2 for that Emma Maersk journey on LH2.

Could it be done? Yes, but it’s tricky as deep sea routes aren’t made up of single journeys. Taking the kind of operational profile that’s used onboard the latest LNG-fuelled CMA CGM ships which require an 18,000m3 tank installed underneath the wheelhouse, “you’d need 50,000m3 instead” he says. Further, he estimates the Asia-Europe string is 40 days: therefore the Emma Maersk would need around 72,000m3 to transit this on LH2 alone.

However, the case is different for shorter runs: according to the Sandia study, Colombo Express fairs better: 833m3 for that Singapore-Colombo single trip (2,500m3 for three journeys).

More, both agree that when it gets to ropax crossings like those between the east coast of the UK and Rotterdam, there’s obviously an advantage as it’s a short, regular, point-to-point journey “and you do need the infrastructure to deliver the hydrogen, something that’s caused other viable projects to fail” says Dr Pratt. Certainly Sandia’s investigation showed that Pride of Hull has room for a fuel cell and LH2 tank scaled for 15.8t of fuel, yielding no less than five crossings on just one fill up.

Dr Wuersig adds there are many other areas that might see hydrogen as a viable alternative for slightly larger ships on a regular run: “Baltic carriers for example, could benefit because they could be filling up every few days; then there’s the US-Hawaii traffic on the Jones Act ships.” More, he adds that Chinese river traffic is presently looking LNG, but there could soon be a lot of renewable energy capacity in China that might not all be easily absorbed by the grid “which might change the maths when it comes to the generation of sustainable fuels”.

It’s not just China, some of the windfarms and renewable arrays around offshore Europe are presently considering generating hydrogen in their off-peak periods.

More, Sandia’s study on the offshore supply vessel Maersk Frontier showed it could take on no less than 28 single trips (14 round trips) on the 166nm journey between home port in Aberdeen UK and the Janice offshore facility at an average 9.7 knots, so LH2 could be worthwhile for wider ranging applications. Even closer to realisation is Zero-V, a coastal research vessel concept by Glosten, Sandia and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography that’s just been given AIP by DNV GL. Supported by bunkering of its 11,000kg capacity tanks at four ports along the US West Coast, it will have a 10kn range of 2,400 nautical miles.

However, another niggling detail presents itself: LH2 is also expensive to create: “At present production costs alone come to around $2.00 per litre, that’s without the base feed,” says Dr Wuersig. And no, it probably won’t get a lot cheaper – it’s down to the physics. The amount of energy required for liquefying hydrogen takes a huge 30% slice out of the total, compared to about 5% for LNG.

This is one of the main reasons that hydrogen hasn’t already found a niche: however, we’ve not experienced this regulatory landscape before, points out Dr Wuersig. “If we keep to our carbon ambitions, then yes, there will be reason to employ hydrogen as one of a number of multiple fuel options.”

* Practical Application Limits of Fuel Cells and Batteries for Zero Emission Vessels (http://energy.sandia.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/SAND2017-12665.pdf). 

AMBIENT-LIQUID HYDROGEN TRANSPORT?

The LH2 demonstrator is not the first long-range hydrogen supply chain project targeting Japan.

Last year, Chiyoda Corp started to work on transporting hydrogen extracted from natural gas at an LNG plant in Brunei and delivering it to the city of Kawasaki in Japan – but rather than chilling to -253°C, the hydrogen is bound to a carrier substance and carried in simple chemical tankers which slot neatly into the existing supply-chain technology. No need for expensive cryogenics.

Transforming hydrogen into an ambient liquid means binding it with a carrier substance, such as toluene, converting it to methyl cyclohexane (MCH) by hydrogenation: three H2 molecules attach to every molecule of toluene. At the other end it’s reconverted to hydrogen gas, the toluene being recovered for the next round.

Professor Kazuyuki Ouchi, University of Tokyo explains that the density, while not quite as high as LH2 (500 times that of hydrogen gas, as compared to 700 times) “it is of the same order” so yields a tolerably similar output.

Interestingly, the project, which is expected to start production in 2020 with an output of 210 tonnes (enough to fill up 40,000 fuel cell vehicles), has Mitsubishi Corporation, NYK and Mitsui onboard.

More, while it’s starting with a fossil fuel base, Chiyoda believes that production will eventually move to renewably-derived hydrogen.

Source: The Motorship

Port Reception Facilities: ESPO welcomes draft report but calls for stricter application of the “Polluter Pays” principle

The European Sea ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the proposals put forward by the European Parliament Rapporteur Ms Gesine Meissner in the draft report of the Transport Committee on the review of the Waste Reception Facilities Directive (Com (2018) 33).  The Draft Report will be discussed in the Transport Committee meeting of 10 July.

The proposals of the Parliament’s rapporteur are aiming to better protect the marine environment and decrease the administrative burden for stakeholders. ESPO welcomes in particular proposals such as the definition of catering waste which would increase the quantities of recycled plastics and contribute to the targets of the European Plastics Strategy.

European ports believe however that the ‘polluter pays’ principle, which has been the cornerstone of the EU’s environmental policy, needs to be strengthened. Introducing a fee system whereby ships would deliver unreasonable quantities of garbage, including dangerous waste for a fixed fee would be a severe divergence from the ‘polluter pays’ principle. It risks to discourage reducing waste at the source.

“The report of Ms Meissner is clearly a step forward. Overall, the report pursues the objectives of the circular economy and aims to reduce administrative burden for authorities and stakeholders. We strongly believe however that the ‘polluter pays’ principle needs to be better reflected in the new Directive. We cannot accept a regime whereby ships are not incentivised to limit waste at the source and ports have to carry the costs of delivering unreasonable amounts. Additionally, we oppose an automatic rebate for “green” ships. Any green rebate, if not corresponding to a real cost reduction, will have to be borne by the port authority. Not all port managing bodies have the financial ability to cover this cost and to give such rebates. We plead for an efficient, but responsible management of ship waste. We count on the rapporteur and Transport Committee members to further optimise the Directive in that sense” says ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

Any mandatory green rebates for waste, as proposed by the Commission proposal, would prevent ports from addressing local environmental challenges. In some areas, waste pollution is a great environmental concern while in others it is air quality and emissions. Furthermore, mandatory rebates disregard the existence of different business and governance models in ports across Europe.

The Commission has been preparing an EU submission to the IMO proposing a 100% indirect fee without quantity thresholds at international level (here).  “I regret that a submission is being introduced to the Council when Parliament has not expressed any views, and negotiations with the Council have not even started. This initiative seems to bypass the ongoing democratic process and lacks legitimacy” adds ESPO’s Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost.

Source: ESPO Press Release

Sustainability and digital transformation – future challenges for Spanish shipping companies

Spanish ship owners live a moment of technological transformation and digitalization, dependent on the impact of environmental regulations on their activities.

The environmental sustainability of logistics chains has become a key factor for logistics management in all of its business segments.

For maritime transport, in particular, during the last months there has been a regulatory avalanche in this regard that has placed sustainability in the foreground. This was seem through the ballast water agreement or the reduction of sulfur content in marine fuels, as well as through the new CO2 reduction targets.

In this sense, as Alejandro Aznar, the president of the Spanish Association of Shipping Lines – Anave, said in the general assembly of the association that took place this week in Madrid: “The contribution of maritime transport to the sustainability of the world economy will be extraordinary.”

Maritime transport, as indicated by the president of the Spanish shipping companies, who was re-elected for a second term of three years as the head of Anave, is a sector “subject to a market and globalized regulations that force it to make huge investments.”

Precisely in this context, the sector claims that the rules for the reduction of polluting emissions that will be adopted “should take into account their possible side effects in other areas”, as, according to Aznar, is the case of the short sea shipping traffic, which, in his opinion, “if not given special treatment, it is very likely that the imposition of harsh measures may result in the transfer of charges from the maritime mode to the road, which then would result, in reality, in increasing emissions “.

Similarly, the president also insisted on the proposals that Anave has been making year after year to strengthen the competitiveness of vessels navigating under the Spanish flag and that follow the lines marked in this area by the recent experiences of the Madeira registry and of Denmark.

Aznar also highlighted that in 2017 the Spanish control merchant fleet increased by four units and by 1.1% in its tonnage, a slight growth that contrasts with the strong increase registered in the first months of 2018, when according to their data, the Spanish shipowners have received two new LNG tankers, a Suezmax tanker and a passenger ship.

In addition, 18 orders for eight different shipowners totaling almost 800,000 GT and worth 1,300 million euros remain in the order book for the coming months.

In the same sense, Anastasios Papagiannopoulos, president of Bimco who was present at the Anave assembly, stressed the digital transformation and the need to standardize the exchange of documentation at a global level within the framework of a sector that evolves to the future challenges in terms of activity, but whose most prominent risk is that of overcapacity.

In this sense, the president of Bimco estimated that the demand for maritime transport of petroleum products will have a better performance in the second half of 2018, without reaching positive figures, while the solid bulk segment already shows clear signs of recovery on the international scene.

Finally, at the Anave assembly, the Carus Excellence Award 2018 was presented to Antonio Armas, president and CEO of Naviera Armas, for his contribution to the maritime transport sector of travelers and merchandise.

Source: Cadena de Suministro

Next Generation RoRo Freight and Passenger Ships Produce Zero Emissions in Port

Latest Battery Technology, Solar Power and Unique Hull Features Halve Fuel Consumption. 

ITALY – DENMARK – CHINA – The name Grimaldi has been associated with shipping since 1348 and today the Grimaldi group operates several services under a variety of titles, but maintains at its heart RoRo ferry services throughout the Mediterranean. Last month the announcement was made that the company has ordered six new such freight and passenger vessels from the Nanjing Jinling Shipyard, China and once again a contract between the yard and Danish marine engineering and design group Knud E Hansen means further development to the already established Grimaldi/ Knud E Hansen design.

The design of the newbuilds was developed by the Technical and Energy Saving Department of the Grimaldi Group together with Knud E Hansen in close cooperation with the shipyard. The RoRo’s are known as the ‘Grimaldi Green 5th Generation’ (GG5G) and will have a length of 238 metres, a beam of 34 metres and a gross tonnage of 64,000 tonnes. They will be able to transport over 7,800 lane meters of rolling units, equivalent to approximately 500 trailers.

The ships, the first of which is expected to be delivered in 2020, will use electricity in port, courtesy of large lithium batteries, thus guaranteeing zero emissions whilst at berth. These batteries will be recharged during navigation, through shaft generators adding the so-called peak shaving system, and with the aid of 600 m2 of solar panels, well suited to the three Grimaldi Lines vessels working in the Mediterranean environment, but still effective in the Baltic where the balance will be deployed on behalf of Finn Lines.

Grimaldi has invested a total of over $400 million and the new vessels are capable of carrying more than twice the quantity of vehicles than the largest of the incumbent ships operated by the company. As fuel consumption is the same as the previous craft, the energy saving when fully loaded will equate to 100%. There are several patented features in the design already together with more environmentally friendly features. The dreaded sulphur produced by the propulsive cylinders is combined with salt extracted from brine which converts it to gypsum in a chemical reaction.

The hulls are coated with silicon as opposed to traditional toxic anti fouling chemicals and the keel is designed to produce low level turbulence, with the consequent bubble streams reducing friction on an already slick surface, thereby aiding fuel consumption, an avowed aim of President Gianluca Grimaldi and his fellow directors. Knud E Hansen Managing Director Finn Wollesen said:

“It’s been a pleasure to cooperate with Grimaldi on the design of these vessels. The collaboration has been very fruitful and enabled us to develop a new generation of vessels that represents real advancement in terms of sustainability and efficiency by using various new technologies.”

Source: Handy Shipping Guide

Natural gas consolidates itself as the future of energy

Natural gas seems to have become strong in some segments of transport due to its own merits and, in view of how the associated technology is evolving.

In the opinion of many experts, natural gas is to play an important role in the short and medium term in the decarbonisation of the world economy, as a mere energy of transition towards a future dominated by electric power.

However, in view of the current technological and industrial development, the panorama of a transport powered by electricity as the main energy source, while waiting for the batteries to gain autonomy and lighten their weight, only seems realistic in the very long term, while the option of having an energy mix that can serve as an effective alternative to oil derivatives is gaining strength.

In contrast, in recent years the applications of natural gas, both in land and maritime transport, have not stopped growing and, in view of the investments committed in different areas for the coming years, it does not seem that this energy will go to decay.

Moreover, it seems, as some experts indicate, that natural gas will witness an important takeoff in the decade of 2020.

Truck manufacturers have multiplied their supply of gas vehicles in recent years, while they have been bringing the performance of engines powered by this energy to those of other comparable units that use diesel as fuel, just in a segment of activity in which electric batteries cannot compete due to their lower autonomy and their weight, which comes at the cost of load capacity.

On the other hand, in maritime transport, natural gas seems to be truly established as an alternative technology for the future, just when the sector is facing a radical change in its levels of polluting emissions. This is evidenced by both the acquisition of new ships propelled by natural gas that have made different shipping companies, as well as investments in facilities to supply gas vessels and carry out bunkering operations in ports in different areas of the world.

In maritime transport, investments tend to move large sums of money over long periods of time, so the sector is looking for proven and reliable technologies that can be profitable in the medium and long term, something that they seem to have found in natural gas.

History has shown that the most realistic technologies have been imposed on more avant-garde and risky proposals, precisely because of their greater capacity to adapt to the real needs of markets, companies and people.

Natural gas seems to have become strong in some segments of transport due to its own merits and, in view of how the state of the art is evolving in the past, it seems that it is here to stay.

Source: Cadena de Suministro