The shipping industry currently accounts for approximately 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but change is coming. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has made it clear that it wants significant cuts in ship emissions as part of its 2030 and 2050 targets, which set out to reduce GHG emissions from vessels by at least 40% before the end of this decade and by at least 50% by 2050 (compared with 2008 baseline figures). The eventual goal is full decarbonisation and it will likely require a range of solutions to make this happen, notes Kim Diederichsen, CEO, Anemoi.
The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) is already in place and has been created to ensure newbuild vessels meet requisite levels of efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), meanwhile, is due to come into force by January 2023, and Carbon Intensity Indicators (CII) likely to be confirmed at the IMO MEPC 76 meeting this June. These measures mean shipowners already have to weigh up the options available to achieve compliance. Debate still surrounds the realistic timeline, availability and eco nature of alternative fuels. As a result, many shipowners are looking to invest in future proof technologies. Installing wind technologies as retrofit or newbuild could be the ideal answer for many vessel segments.
Inspired by history
Back in the 1920s Rotor Sails were first fitted to a ship, although they weren’t widely adopted due to the emergence and low cost of marine diesel oil. But a century later Anemoi has successfully reimagined the concept for modern-day shipowners.
Rotor Sails make use of the aerodynamic phenomenon known as the ‘Magnus Effect’. As the cylinder rotates within an airflow, a forward thrust force perpendicular to the apparent wind direction is created, which delivers additional thrust to the vessel. The thrust generated can either provide additional vessel speed or maintain vessel speed by reducing power from the main engine. The obvious benefit from this is less fuel burned and reduced emissions.
If Anemoi Rotor Sails were installed on every suitable vessel in the world fleet, the average savings per year would be 17 million tonnes of fuel and 56 million tonnes of carbon. This equates to19 million tonnes of waste to landfill or 2.7 billion tonnes of coal burned. Furthermore, a vessel with Rotor Sails can reduce its harmful emissions (CO2, NOX and SOX) by between 5-30%.
When considering fuel savings for bulk carriers, Anemoi’s research suggests a 325,000 dwt VLOC fitted with Rotor Sails could achieve an 18% fuel and emission reduction. On a typical China to Brazil return route, these savings amount to 5,357 tonnes of carbon saved each year. Similar results are also achievable in other vessel segments. A VLCC tanker sailing from the US Gulf to China (return) show a 17.3% fuel reduction, which equates to 7,044 tonnes of carbon saved each year.
It’s likely that decarbonisation within the shipping industry will be a collaborative effort requiring a combination of complementary technologies, in addition to alternative fuels. As well as being compatible with any fuel type, Rotor Sails can be used with other energy saving technologies to further increase vessel efficiency. For example, air lubrication, propeller and hull optimisation to name a few.
But fundamentally, Rotor Sails can comprehensively decrease fuel bills regardless of the emissions criteria. This can be up to 30% depending on the vessel type, size and number of Rotor Sails installed and routes sailed. If initiatives such as carbon tax are widely applied, this has an even greater impact by enhancing return on investment.
It’s worth remembering that future fuels will come at a cost. Investing in solutions that can optimise fuel management and energy consumption is a crucial factor when selecting eco-technologies. Making the decision to install Rotor Sails now is a logical approach and will continue to be a sensible strategy for years to come.
Technology for the long haul
Anemoi Rotor Sails have a considerable lifespan of 25 years, benefit from low maintenance costs and can be redeployed between vessels if assets are sold. For owners of larger or ageing fleets, this is hugely beneficial and highly compelling. In addition, the control and automation system is designed to maximise performance and minimise crew input with automated on/off, speed and direction settings, equipment monitoring and other safety features.
Performance and data transmission for the on-going assessment of emissions is therefore comprehensively recorded for stakeholders. This will be evermore crucial as Carbon Intensity Indicators (CII) are introduced and initiatives such as Poseidon Principles require an Annual Efficiency Ratio (AER).
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
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