It’s Time to Get Serious about Green Technologies

Following his article More than Froth and Bubbles in November’s Naval Architect Magazine, Richard Halfhide chose to focus his Editorial Comment on the research behind his article and what he had taken away from his findings:

‘…I chanced upon a page on Wartsila’s website detailing some of the other air lubrication devices currently on the market.  It was sobering warning that a number of the technologies developed so far had actually proven to achieve the very opposite of the energy savings they expected to offer, often using more power to operate than they saved with friction reduction.’   

The Comment highlights the pitfalls of developing an innovative technology; ‘Many eco technologies begin life as small startup companies, which may or may not then be acquired by the bigger players, and there is inevitably pressure from investors to come good on their promise.  Claims get exaggerated and test results presented in a way that makes them more palatable- providing you don’t check the small print.’ and compliments Silverstream on not succumbing to this temptation but delivering scientifically supported data:

‘It is also to Silverstream CEO Noah Silberschmidt’s credit, and perhaps savvy, that he has preferred to stick to conservative estimates; a strategy that now appears to be reaping rewards.’

He then raises the question ‘…how best to ensure shipowners have the information they need to understand the environmental and cost implications of eco- technologies?’ in answer to which he quotes:

‘According to Silberschmidt the Global Industry Alliance (GIA), the private- public initiative launched by IMO to support an energy efficient and low carbon maritime transport system, is seeking to develop such a tool but to be effective it will require a tamper proof methodology and unambiguous data.’

The Comment closes with an observation on the importance of complementary technologies which can work together to achieve EEDI figures:

‘One article that we had hoped to include in this month’s edition, but sadly had to withdraw at the last moment, concerned the ‘techno- economic’ modelling for a Flettner- equips tanker operating on a typical European trade route in the North Sea.  It concluded that a strong business case based on fuel savings, existing regulatory measures and the protection offered against stricter legislation in the future.  While not perfect, one can see how much a multi- disciplinary approach to assessing green technologies could play an important role over the next few years.’ 

Richard Halfhide, The Naval Architect