Due to increasing sustainability regulations, the maritime industry is in need of technical solutions that are highly efficient but also financially viable.
According to a new study undertaken by GF Piping Systems and Finnish ship design and engineering company, Foreship, HVAC applications on passenger ships offer significant potential for improvement.
Comparing a baseline steel piping system with pre-insulated polyethylene pipes in an air conditioning chilled water system revealed that plastic is more efficient in four areas – It decreases fuel consumption, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers costs and slightly improves both EEXI and CII values.
Passenger ship HVAC systems play a crucial role as they add comfort and a more luxurious experience on board. However, they are energy intensive and increase both fuel consumption and emissions.
In addition, they require substantial piping networks that are often made of post-insulated steel, which is heavy and susceptible to corrosion.
However, advancements in plastic piping solutions mean that materials, such as polyethylene, could potentially be a more suitable alternative that increases the efficiency of the ship.
To find out, GF Piping Systems, the Swiss flow solutions provider, and Foreship collaborated last year to conduct an energy efficiency study to verify the claims.
The study was based on a simulated 150,000 gt cruise ship. The calculations consisted of three phases.
During the first phase, the performance of the baseline steel system and polyethylene COOL-FIT system by GF Piping Systems was measured by comparing the electrical power draw of the chillers and pumps within the air conditioning system.
In the second phase, these results were used to calculate fuel savings, emissions reductions and cost-effectiveness.
Finally, the study quantified the effect of these savings on the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Design Index (EEXI) and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).
The data taken from the cruise ship simulation showed consistent improvements in four key areas, as Teemu Tanninen, Senior Specialist Energy Efficiency and HVAC at Foreship (pictured), explained: “Installing the pre-insulated COOL-FIT system made from polyethylene saved up to 112 tonnes of fuel per year, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by up to 373 tonnes per year, and could save an estimated $3.8 mill over the course of 25 years. Furthermore, we were able to improve the EEXI and CII values by 0.2%.”
Roberto Chiesa, GF Piping Systems Head of Business Development Marine, believed that the results of study offer valuable insight: “The whole maritime industry is currently working on a more sustainable future. However, many solutions are still on the horizon or very expensive.
“Our study shows that even small actions, such as proper design and piping material choice in the HVAC system, can have far-reaching positive effects for the entire ship. We believe they can be part of a holistic approach to make shipping more sustainable,” he said.