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From maritime innovation to commercialization

The shipping community will be facing a new set of technology choices in the next eight years, says Det Norske Veritas. A sampling of the innovative solutions presented at this year’s Maritime Innovation Day in Oslo shows how the Norwegian...

The shipping industry has been hit by a number of significant events in recent years: the 2008 financial crisis, the increasing environmental focus, and the re-emerging safety agenda, particularly after the Macondo incident in the Gulf of Mexico and cruise ship Concordia, according to Bjørn Haugland, DNV chief technology and sustainability officer, during a presentation at Maritime Innovation Day in Oslo this October.

DNV recently published the report Shipping 2020 where it looks at these factors and the main drivers affecting the industry’s technology decisions up until 2020. The first is the slowing economy and its affect on the demand for global transport; the second is new environmental regulations; and third fuel costs, one of the largest expenses for shipping. Together, they will have a number of direct implications for the shipping industry in the next eight years.

Green Technology Needs

According to a summary of its findings, shipowners and operators will increasingly focus on environmental issues. More than one in 10 new buildings will be delivered with gas fuelled engines, the demand for marine distillates could be as high as 200-250 million tonnes annually, and new buildings will emit up to 35% less CO2 than today’s ships. In addition, scrubbers will be a significant option after 2020, ballast water treatment systems will be installed on at least half of the world fleet, and at least 30-40% of new buildings will be fitted with EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) or SCR (selective catalytic reduction) by 2016.

Haugland highlighted a number of recent DNV solutions targeting this need for new environmental maritime technology. Among its recent successes, the company has developed Catchy, a hybrid LNG powered fishing vessel concept featuring waste heat and cold recovery, the eco-friendly ore carrier Ecore, and next generation tankers developed with Teekay Shipping for fuel efficient design. In addition, DNV has been involved in a Joint Industry Project with seven Norwegian offshore supply vessel owners on energy efficient operations.

“Decisions today are more difficult than they were for 15-20 years ago,” said Haugland. “There are many opportunities and many choices. But a strong Norwegian industry cannot rest on its laurels. We have to work on innovation and research.”

Emission Scrubbers

One challenge shipowners will be facing is the pending tightening regulations concerning sulphur emissions. The IMO has required that ships after 2020 operate under a global SOx compliance cap of 0.5%. They can either switch to fuels with low sulphur content or use exhaust cleaning systems, also known as emission scrubbers.

Green Tech Marine, a Farsund-based company created in 2010, presented a new gas exhaust scrubber system at Oslo Maritime Innovation Day that takes less space than its rivals and requires virtually no external chemicals. Its small size spares shipowners the costs of large modifications and loss from downtime, since it can be installed during operations.

That can be a significant benefit for the cruise industry, which is already among its first customers. Green Tech Marine successfully completed a pilot project onboard RCCL’s Liberty of the Seasthis year and received a statement of compliance certificate from DNV according to MARPOL’s regulations.

“The small size and low weight of the scrubber got our attention,” said Anders Aasen, Associate Vice President, Global Marine Technical Services at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., in a statement this June. “When we saw the initial performance results, we were convinced to launch a full scale trial.”

Green Tech Marine has secured letters of intents with two companies for 26 ships with an estimated contract value of USD 520 million. The company is currently in the process of seeking additional financing to grow its business model.

In the LOOP

The drive for innovative maritime solutions has also influenced the way products are commercialized. Norwegian oil company Statoil has for example invested in nine incubators, five seed funds, eight direct seed investments, 12 venture investments, and 10 products per year in product development programme LOOP. The investments span a wide range of Statoil’s needs, from exploration, drilling and processing, to HSE and renewables.

“We won’t invest unless we can use the technology in Statoil,” said Richard Erskine, Statoil Technology Invest managing director.

Erskine says Statoil has invested NOK 1 billion since 1990 in around 200 companies in its LOOP product development programme. Statoil funds one third of the project with Innovation Norway and the company funding the other two thirds. Statoil invests in the US and UK, but its main focus is on Norwegian companies where they take an average participation of 10-40% with the aim of accelerating product development and generating a venture capital return.

One of the LOOP investments exemplifying its green profile is Aptomar, a Trondheim-based company offering hazard awareness and control systems to the marine segment by combining dynamic positioning, camera technology and search functionality. The technology can be used for oil spill monitoring, search and rescue, as well as surveillance and navigation. Statoil holds a 28% stake

Another example is Marine Cybernetics, a hardware-in-the-loop performance testing system developed together with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Statoil took a 39% stake in 2005 to develop a system to test safety critical control systems on ships and offshore installations, such as dynamic positioning, power management, and drilling control systems.

“Had it not been for LOOP, (Marine Cybernetics) would not be here today,” said Asgeir Sørensen, NTNU professor.