When the Paris Climate Agreement was agreed upon back in 2015, it was clear that, containing no reference to the shipping industry, it was not a fully comprehensive document. Earlier this year the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) met in London to address this shortfall. The result was an initial strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, with a long-term view to phase them out before the end of this century. In terms of numbers, this translates to an initial reduction of greenhouse gases of at least 50 per cent by 2050 (compared to 2008 levels).
Even though the IMO’s strategy is focused a long way into the future, C-Job’s Technical Director Tim Vlaar says that the time to get involved with projects relating to future-proof propulsion systems is now.
“This includes projects on actual vessels that are already in operation as well as more conceptual Research and Development programmes. And C-Job is involved with both.” he says.
Natural gas in the form of LNG and CNG is a very realistic and manageable way to reduce ship emissions. “This minimises the CO2 footprint while also reducing emissions of NOx, SOx and Particulate Matter. Our work on DEME’s Bonny River and TESO’s Texelstroom shows just what can be achieved with these options. In fact, the Texelstroom took this even further with the inclusion of electric power for peak shaving.”
Emission-free public transport
Continuing with the subject of battery-powered vessels, C-Job can also say that it has the necessary engineering and design experience.
Tim uses the electric Ro-Ro ferries for transport provider GVB and the City of Amsterdam as an example. “The vessels operate 100 per cent on electricity; which means that they are emissions-free. This goes a long way to achieving the IMO’s targets.” Crucially, though, these vessels were for the public transport sector: “Keeping to the timetables is the key to success. We designed these vessels to charge their batteries within a maximum of four minutes. This ensures a quick turnaround and also means that they can operate 24/7 without overnight charging.”
The power of wind propulsion
C-Job has also contributed to a project that utilises one of the most sustainable forms of maritime propulsion of all: wind. “Rotor Sails can be used to supplement a vessel’s main engines,” he explains. “These are rotating vertical cylinders that are mounted on the deck. They take advantage of the Magnus effect to create forward motion.”
C-Job has applied this technology to the design of a 8,500 DWT general cargo vessel, the Flettner Freighter, where Rotor Sails have been shown to yield fuel savings of up to 14 per cent. “When the aim for 2050 is a 50 per cent reduction of emissions, statistics like this demonstrate that every step that we are taking now will help ship owners in the future.”
Future shipping fuels
In recent years C-Job has expanded its in-house Research and Development department. To this end, the company is a firm believer of hydrogen-based renewables.
One particularly promising subject that is being tackled is the potential for ammonia as ship’s fuel. “This is a very exciting programme,” notes Tim. “Ammonia production is safe, well established and the techniques for burning ammonia in an internal combustion engine already exist. But, perhaps most importantly, burning ammonia produces carbon-free emissions. It has implications across the maritime sector, including the cruise and ferry market.”
Admittedly, the IMO’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy is a long-term plan, but C-Job’s proven track record of sustainable designs combined with a forward-thinking approach to R&D shows that the company is on the right track to support ship-owners towards that goal.