A new research project, which is focusing on combining emerging technologies to promote low-carbon shipping, will test solutions on two vessels, including an MSC cruise ship.
The project, named CHEK (deCarbonizing sHipping by Enabling Key technology symbiosis on real vessel concept designs), is being funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
Tests will be carried out on a drybulk carrier sail, as well as a hydrogen-powered cruise ship engine.
“No current or emerging ‘silver bullet’ technology alone will be able to reduce CO2 emissions from maritime transport in accordance with the IMO’s ambitious 2050 goals,” said CHEK project co-ordinator, Dr Suvi Karirinne, VEBIC Head, University of Vaasa’s energy and sustainability research platform.
“The shipping of the future must combine emerging technologies into a systemically symbiotic entity.”
CHEK aims to reduce shipping emissions by bringing low-carbon energy forms and various technologies, such as hydrogen, wind power, electric batteries, heat recovery, air lubrication, and new anti-fouling technology to vessels, as well as developing the methods by which ships are designed and operated.
The project aims to create a symbiosis of new innovative technologies that can reduce 99% of greenhouse gas emissions, achieve energy savings of up to 50%, and reduce black carbon emissions by more than 95%.
It will also develop the Future-Proof Vessel (FPV) Design Platform for the design of future low-carbon and energy-efficient ships.
This new type of platform will provide the means to combine new technologies as favourably as possible so that they work in tandem with each other. At the same time, the design platform will also consider the different uses of vessels.
A second test will be on board one of MSC Cruises’ ‘Meravigila’ class cruise ships, which will be equipped with a hydrogen-powered ship engine to be designed in the project.
“Researchers in energy technology at the University of Vaasa will participate in the development of the hydrogen-powered ship engine and its fuel system,” explained Seppo Niemi, Professor of Energy Technology at the University of Vaasa. “The intention is to build a full-scale hydrogen engine prototype, which will be tested in Vaasa. The fuel system to be developed will also enable the use of hydrogen in VEBIC’s combustion engine laboratory. The system will be designed so that it also serves fuel cells if necessary and allows the use of other gases.”
Speaking on the new consortium, partner Noah Silberschmidt, CEO, Silverstream Technologies, said: “Bold and progressive vessel designs that combine the most effective clean technologies with the cleanest future fuels are an obvious and necessary next step for a sector that needs to tackle de-carbonisation today.
“This project recognises the central role that efficiency technologies will play in that de-carbonisation journey. It also reflects the fact that only by uniting the best efficiency ideas and practices in integrated and intelligent designs will we achieve our goals.
“I am pleased that Silverstream can apply our years of experience of delivering and operating clean technologies to this project. We will continue to work closely with all partners in the consortium to ensure we make significant progress and fulfil our shared vision of a more sustainable shipping industry,” he said.
“CHEK represents another significant step in Wärtsilä’s commitment and efforts to de-carbonise marine operations. There is no silver bullet to meeting the challenge of combating climate change, you need to exploit a number of parallel paths, and that’s exactly what we are doing together with our partners here. What makes the project so exciting is that we are stretching what can be done,” said Jonas Åkerman, Director of Research and Technology Development at Wärtsilä.
Set to start in June, 2021, CHEK will run for 36 months. It involves the University of Vaasa, World Maritime University, Wärtsilä, Cargill, MSC Cruises, Lloyd’s Register, Silverstream Technologies, Hasytec, Deltamarin, Climeon, and BAR Technologies.