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Greener still

Revealing the Norwegian Government’s maritime strategy in October 2007, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dag Terje Andersen, declared that “The Norwegian maritime industry shall be the world’s most environmentally friendly and shall be in front in developing new and...

Then again, as American statistician George Gallup once remarked, “Not everything that can be counted counts; and not everything that counts can be counted.” Yet, when statistics are so overwhelmingly in favour of one particular hypothesis, they bring authority and reassurance. At the International Maritime Statistics Forum in Gdansk in April, Oslo-based INTERTANKO (The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners) revealed that shipping accounts for around 2% of world carbon dioxide emissions, but yet, every year, more than 7,507,000,000 tonnes of goods – 90% of world trade – are transported by ship, and at a far lower proportional rate of CO2 emissions. Swedish Network for Transport and the Environment figures suggest an average freight flight produces 540 grams of CO2 per tonne/km, as opposed to just 15 grams per tonne/km by cargo ship. There is no greener way of conducting trade than by sea. In Norway though, the maritime industry is not content to sit back and bask in the encouraging statistical glow.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the Norwegian industry is the most complete maritime supply chain in the world,” writes Tom Cantero, Chairman of the Association of Norwegian Maritime Exporters. “It would be difficult to identify a maritime commodity or service that cannot be sourced from a Norwegian company,” he adds. (Norwegian Solutions, 2008).

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Norwegian Maritime Exporters (NME) is an independent, non-profit organization representing over 130 companies. NME encourages the Norwegian maritime industry to work together to address common national and global issues. “A keynote of the Norwegian maritime cluster is the willingness of its member companies to share knowledge and competence, and even open doors for each other,” explains Cantero. The environment is a hallmark of the Norwegian industry, and NME’s position as a forum for the exchange of information, through exhibitions, seminars, trade missions and their recently remodelled website, helps that priority to be promoted on a global scale.

The award-winning Ulstein X-BOW ship design demonstrates the global appeal of Norwegian green efficiency. Dubai-based Polarcus have ordered six advanced seismic vessels based on the Ulstein model. The vessels have higher transit speeds in head seas and as a result are more fuel efficient, as well as limiting noise and vibration levels. DNV’s business manager in the Middle East region, Christer Borjesson, explained that “Polarcus is in the process of building a young and efficient fleet, which will access wider geographical markets due to these vessels’ environmental advantages.” (Norwegian Solutions).

Polarcus’ SX133 vessel is based on the Ulstein X-BOW design, which provides greater fuel efficiency as well as reduced noise and vibrations. 
© Polarcus Limited

Norwegian companies are not just making the designs and the technology either. Ship owners like Eidesvik are also backing the industry by adopting as much state-of-the-art environmental technology as possible. “Eidesvik have a reputation of being very environmentally conscious,” says Cantero. “They use whatever green technology is on the market.” One example is the integration of hybrid fuel cells, which, if run on natural gas or another carbon-containing fuel, reduces carbon emissions by around 50% in comparison to diesel engines run on marine bunker fuel. This follows the DNV-led FellowSHIP research project, initiated in 2003, which sees Eidesvik Offshore ASA cooperate with MTU CFC Solutions GmbH, Vik-Sandvik and Wärtsilä Automation Norway. It is clear evidence of the degree of synergy within the Norwegian maritime industry.

Ballast Solutions – Norway Leads the Way

The potential environmental catastrophes that could result from the introduction of invasive marine species into new environments by ships’ ballast water are the focus of The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2004. There have already been a number of costly disasters. The Northern Pacific sea star, for example, is now prevalent in Australian waters after arriving during the 1980s on ships from Japan, and vibrio cholorae, believed to have been brought to Peru by ship, has resulted in widespread cholera epidemics.

The IMO’s requirement is that all ships conduct ballast water management in line with IMO’s rigorous ballast water standards, but as the deadline for implementation approaches, only a handful of companies are likely to have been officially authorised. The demand is therefore huge. “There has been international interest from almost everywhere,” says OceanSavers’ Area Sales Manager, Leif Erik Caspersen. “We have worked in marketing for several years, and it has never been as easy to open doors as now,” he adds.

Successful tests on board the Höegh Trooper, in line with IMO’s type approval programme, has brought Scanship OceanSaver AS one step closer to the waiting marking. Höegh Fleet Services ordered the installation of ten systems on car and gas carriers. The C3 treatment unit, which also has the added bonus of reducing corrosion, treats ballast water by first separating larger organisms from smaller ones by mechanical filtration, then supersaturating the ballast with nitrogen to deprive organisms of oxygen. Finally, a process known as Hydro Dynamic Cavitation reduces any remaining bacteria. The technology has already had successful applications in the food hygiene industry.

OceanSaver is not the only Norwegian company providing cutting-edge ballast treatment technology. OptiMarin AS is also in the later stages of testing and approval. Tests carried out by NIVA (The Nowegian Institute for Water Research) at its ballast water facilities along the Oslo Fjord have been verified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) in accordance with the IMO’s requirements. The OptiMarin Ballast System, which treats ballast water both during ballasting and de-ballasting, uses solid separation (filtration) as a pre-treatment, and high doses of UV irradiation for the inactivation of marine bacteria, viruses and organisms. Princess Cruises’ “Regal Princess” has been the early beneficiary of this, the world’s first ballast water treatment system aboard an operating vessel.

OceanSavers’ Ballast System eliminates the potential environmental catastrophes that could result from introduction of invasive marine species into new environments by ships’ ballast water. 
© OceanSaver

Knutsen OAS Shipping’s KVOC (Knutsen Volatile Organic Compounds) system was the subject of a contract for the reduction of VOCs between Knutsen OAS Shipping and The VOC Industry Cooperation (VOCIC). VOCIC, which comprises all of the companies performing the offshore loading of crude oil on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, received two new KVOC systems. The result was installations on Tordis Knutsen and Vigdis Knutsen in late 2006, showing oil companies a cost efficient way to comply with the emissions regulations submitted by the Norwegian pollution authorities.

Volatile Organic Compounds – Working Hard to Reduce Emissions

Many popular statistics referring to the maritime industry focus on carbon dioxide emissions alone. But in Norway, there is a commitment to reducing all emissions, including VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which are produced during the loading and transportation of oil.

KVOC systems operate by utilizing liquid behaviour under different conditions. Normally when oil is piped from loading installations to a ship, changes in pressure result in VOCs being released. With this system in place, however, changes in the design of the loading system eliminate low pressure situations so that the gas remains in the oil.

MARINTEK – World-class Environmental Research Facilities

Norway’s role at the very top of the maritime ladder is cemented by one world-class research institute – MARINTEK (The Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute), which is a part of the SINTEF group. MARINTEK’s facilities include ocean basin and ship model tanks and a marine structures laboratory, shared with the Department of Marine Technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Research in the SINTEF/MARINTEK Ocean Basin Research laboratory provides the Norwegian maritime industry with top-class testing facilities for all aspects of environmental design. 
© Thor Nielsen/SINTEF Media

MARINTEK provides technology and research aimed at improving every aspect of the marine industry’s environmental efficiency. Current projects include LNG carriers designed to reduce NOx emissions, further research on VOCs and the measurement of exhaust gases from gas-turbines, combustion engines and boilers. SINTEF is Scandinavia’s largest independent research organization, and the facilities at MARINTEK could almost be seen as a symbol of an industry at the cutting edge of green maritime technology. The future of the maritime industry in Norway at least, is green.