Alternative fuel and energy solutions for ships gaining momentum

-Niklas Blume


Now you might ask yourself how this affects you. There is a concern in the world over the use of oil, the effects of oil with air and seaborne emissions. How long we will have oil available? Most ships in the world consume large amount of fuel every year contributing to pollution and depletion of oil reserves. Due to stricter regulations of pollution in many areas there is now a bigger pressure on companies to find solutions to the high sulfur fuels and since low sulfur fuel is much more expensive, the alternatives available have become more interesting and financially sound.

Many ships have installed scrubbers, which is essentially a device that removes pollution from the exhaust and stores it in tanks, to be either dumped in the ocean or landed ashore. This is not the alternatives I am referring to.

I am referring to the increased use of LNG fueled ships. There are now for example 13 cruise vessels with LNG power in order up to 2026, according to Cruise Industry News. This might not appear that much considering the total numbers of orders, but a few years ago the numbers of orders were zero.

Parallel with LNG powered ships there is also an increased interest for rotor sails as an auxiliary power source. The rotor sail is basically a rotating cylinder that generates power in a direction based on the wind. This means that engines can be used with reduced power and both lower emissions as well as fuel savings are accomplished. This technology is somewhat limited to ships with deck space, small height restrictions in itinerary and also enough time at sea to make the sail count.

The recent examples seen are Viking Grace that already runs on LNG and will now add a rotor sail. Maersk will make a trial on a large product tanker with rotor sails. As far as LNG power goes, Carnival Corporation, with 102 cruise vessels in the fleet has ordered 4 ships planned for LNG power to add to a few existing ones. Unfortunately the changes only come when regulations get stricter and operations are effected financially, but nevertheless there is progress and I believe this is just a start.

As an added note it can be mentioned that HH-ferries are about to install battery power to run two of their ferries solely on electric power this coming summer. Good initiative!




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