While the voting procedure for the 2019 SMART4SEA Awards is open, Mrs. Diane Gilpin, Founder & CEO of Smart Green Shipping Alliance, explains how renewable energy can break into shipping’s mainstream and improve energy efficiency. The organization, which advocates for a switch to 100% renewable propulsion as quickly as possible, has been nominated in the ‘Energy Efficiency’ Category among other distinguished nominees for its pioneering work toward that end. As explained, Smart Green Shipping Alliance is currently developing analysis tools to quantify the value of wind while also developing green finance products for economic resilience. The emerging climate and resource challenges offer a massive commercial opportunity that we need to grab, Mrs Gilpin concludes.
SAFETY4SEA: Your organization has been shortlisted for the 2018 SMART4SEA Awards in the ‘Energy Efficiency’ category alongside a number of other distinguished nominees. What would you like to share with industry’s stakeholders with respect to this development?
Diane Gilpin: We were very surprised and deeply honoured to have been shortlisted alongside such highly esteemed nominees. Our project which aims to build a full size commercial and technical demonstrator of 21st century wind-assist devices that will save up to 20% fuel is really only possible with the support of our partners. Ultrabulk are providing such a wealth of critically valuable knowledge and data on ship performance, and Drax, who have created the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe by switching from coal to biomass for power generation. Drax offer real commercial incentives for decarbonising their shipping supply chain and have an inspirational ‘can-do’ approach. Drax were told it wasn’t possible to switch from coal just as we’ve been told that wind has no place in modern shipping. Change happens!
S4S: When it comes to tackling the shipping challenges with respect to energy efficiency, what are the core priorities on your agenda?
D.G.: Our long term vision is to switch to 100% renewable propulsion as quickly as possible because, and this is critical, it is better business. Wind is free and once the capex is repaid – in a matter of a year or two – free wind propulsion is provided for the lifetime of the asset – meaning that the ship is less dependent on volatile bunker fuel prices. The more renewable energy the ship can use the more predictable the fuel costs, and so the better the ability to hedge future risks. There will always be a need for an engine component in the propulsion but if this provided by biofuel bought on long term, fixed price contracts then the business operating model benefits from certainty – and certainty is a real luxury in the uncertain world we currently inhabit.
S4S: What is your organization doing differently in order to prepare for a more sustainable future?
D.G.: Renewable power gives shipping assets greater fuel autonomy which has the potential to make the industry more resilient and future-proof. Our vision is to achieve 100% renewable powered technically and commercially superior ships as soon as possible. This is in effect a system change. We know it has to be a better commercial proposition first and foremost and we work across shipping eco-from ship builders to finance to achieve that.
S4S: Do you have any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans that you would like to share with the rest of the industry?
D.G.: To enable the rapid shift to renewable propulsion solutions there are enabling system solutions that need to be developed. We are developing analysis tools to quantify the value of wind on any ship on any route to give contracting parties confidence around the technology. We’re also developing green finance products to minimise the need for upfront additional capex. Into the future I’m very keen to explore ship manufacturing in the circular economy where so can improve the long term value of shipping assets, reduce embedded carbon and improve the use of resources used in the build.
S4S: If you could change one thing about the shipping industry, what would it be and why?
D.G.: To recognise that the climate and resource challenges we face as a global community offer a massive commercial opportunity. The shipping industry is full of brilliant people. If that ingenuity was mobilised to the take up multiple opportunities the industry would thrive and prosper in to the uncertain future.
You may cast your vote for the Smart Green Shipping Alliance at 2019 SMART4SEA Awards dedicated webpage till 21st of December 2018!
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
About Diane Gilpin, Founder/ CEO, Smart Green Shipping Alliance (SGSA)
Diane Gilpin has worked for more than 25 years at the cutting edge of communications, technology, innovation and systems design. In the 1980s, she led on Advertising and Sponsorship on the launch team for the first ever cellular telephone system in the UK; she worked for several Formula One motor racing teams facilitating the transfer of safety, efficiency and performance technology from Grand Prix racing cars to road cars. Among others, she pioneered renewable energy, wind power and anaerobic digestion, with the B9 Energy group from the early 2000s and created and led B9 Shipping.