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Decarbonization Project Will Conduct Tests on Bulker and Cruise Ship

testing sail and hydrogen on bulker and cruise ship
BAR Technologies and Cargill previously proposed the WindWing sail (BAR Technologies)

Published Jan 20, 2021 3:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new research effort, which is focusing on combining emerging technologies to promote low-carbon shipping, will test its technologies on in-service vessels. The project, which is named CHEK (deCarbonizing sHipping by Enabling Key technology symbiosis on real vessel concept designs), is receiving funding from the EU Horizon 2020 program to accelerate innovation with tests of a sail on a dry bulk carrier as well as a hydrogen-powered ship engine on a cruise ship.

“No current or emerging ‘silver bullet’ technology alone will be able to reduce CO2 emissions from maritime transport in accordance with the IMO's ambitious 2050 goals,” says CHEK project coordinator, Doctor Suvi Karirinne, who heads VEBIC, University of Vaasa's energy and sustainability research platform. “The shipping of the future must combine emerging technologies into a systemically symbiotic entity.”

The CHEK project aims to reduce shipping emissions by bringing low-carbon energy forms and various technologies such as hydrogen, wind power, electric batteries, heat recovery, air lubrication, and new anti-fouling technology to vessels, as well as developing the way vessels are designed and operated. The project aims to create a symbiosis of new innovative technologies that can reduce 99 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, achieve energy savings of up to 50 percent, and reduce black carbon emissions by more than 95 percent.

Novel technologies will not just be stacked onto vessels, but the project will also develop the Future-Proof Vessel (FPV) Design Platform for the design of future low-carbon and energy-efficient ships. This new type of platform will provide the means to combine new technologies as favorably as possible so that they work in symbiosis with each other. At the same time, the design platform will also consider the different uses of vessels.     

The project will apply its research to tests on current vessels. A Cargill bulk carrier will be fitted with the wing sail technology under development by the UK’s Bar Technologies. Building on the partnership between BAR and Cargill, they will develop a solid wing sail array for the Kamsarmax vessel. According to BAR, the vessel will also feature automated, optimized vessel routing, waste heat recovery, hull form optimization, and a gate rudder. By designing the overall layout to optimize the benefits from the combination of technologies used, the efficiency savings will be maximized.

“Wind propulsion will be a cornerstone of low carbon shipping in the future, with the versatility to deliver efficiency savings regardless of the powertrain used,” said John Cooper, CEO of BAR Technologies. “However, it is most effective as part of a wider suite of decarbonization technology, and especially when designed into the vessel platform from the beginning. We’re excited to be a part of bringing this market first vessel to fruition to help the shipping industry tackle its crucial emissions challenge.”

The second test will be aboard one of MSC Cruises’ Meravigila class cruise ships, which will be equipped with a hydrogen-powered ship engine to be designed in the project. “Researchers in energy technology at the University of Vaasa will participate in the development of the hydrogen-powered ship engine and its fuel system,” says Seppo Niemi, Professor of Energy Technology at the University of Vaasa. “The intention is to build a full-scale hydrogen engine prototype, which will be tested in Vaasa.  The fuel system to be developed will also enable the use of hydrogen in VEBIC's combustion engine laboratory. The system will be designed so that it also serves fuel cells if necessary and allows the use of other gases.”

Using the new vessel design methods developed by CHEK, the goal is to apply the results of the two test vessels to other vessel types, including tankers, container ships, general cargo ships, and ferries. The project will also undertake to prepare future scenarios and an analysis of factors affecting the development potential of low-carbon shipping, such as current infrastructure.

Set to start in June 2021, project CHEK will run for 36 months. It involves the University of Vaasa, World Maritime University, Wärtsilä, Cargill, MSC Cruises, Lloyds Register, Silverstream Technologies, Hasytec, Deltamarin, Climeon, and BAR Technologies.