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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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GL examines fuel-saving options

Executive comments on fuel efficiency and new range of services.

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Updated on 10 Jun 2009 09:51 GMT

"How to make ships more efficient?" This was the key question posed yesterday by Germanischer Lloyd (GL) at the Nor-Shipping trade fair in Oslo.

At a press conference, the classification society and technical assurance and consulting company informed about its green initiatives, current market developments as well as new design and fuel-saving options.

"Reducing the environmental impact of shipping in order to upgrade its image as an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, is one of the most important topics for the maritime industry," Dr Hermann J. Klein [pictured], Member of the GL Executive Board, said at the press conference.

"We understand that the commercial pressures for ship owners will continue to rise in particular due to a number of regulatory requirements. Therefore, energy efficiency continues to gain in importance." To prepare for such challenges, GL established its new subsidiary "FutureShip".

FutureShip offers a range services with a common objective: optimizing ships, both those in operation and those yet to be built.

Dr Klein said "To streamline our energy efficiency offerings Germanischer Lloyd has integrated the expertise of its recently-acquired subsidiary Friendship Consulting, Germany, into the FutureShip pool of resources."

Services included in GL's FuelSaver programme are CO2-analysis (ECO-Patterns) and operational fuel consumption analysis (ECO-Practices) services.

Greatest savings during design phase

While there are significant savings from operational and low-level technical changes, the greatest savings generally can be achieved when engineering optimisations are taken into account, GL said.

"Most ships were designed for operating conditions that are no longer valid. For example, a ship with a design speed of 25 knots might be operated at 18 knots in today's environment. Since its bulbous bow is not optimised for this speed, the generated wave patterns cause the water resistance to increase. As a result, fuel costs rise."

But hull lines and bulbous bows alone are not the only determinants of resistance. That is why FutureShip's ECO-Chances is designed to provide a holistic evaluation of a ship. Utilising advanced software tools, such as FutureShip's dedicated flow simulation/optimisation tools and powerful parametric modelling software, experts assess the ship from top to bottom to identify the most promising focus areas for optimisation. A typical evaluation might result in a series of five to six engineering options that offer significant fuel savings. These are presented with estimates of expected savings as well as estimated return on investment.

Some of the suggested options may require additional engineering before implementation. However, hydrodynamic optimisations, for example, often require detailed studies by experienced engineers with advanced software tools in order to optimise results. For these situations, FutureShip offers the services of their engineering experts and partners in the form of its ECO-Solutions service.

A vision for a new container vessel

GL said the drive for more energy efficiency in shipping calls for optimised ship designs.

"It is also time to think about an even more sophisticated container vessel," Torsten Schramm, COO and Executive Vice President Europe/Middle East/Africa, said at the press conference. He introduced the company's vision of a future baby post-Panamax vessel. The vessel is wider than the Panama canal locks, offers a TEU capacity similar to the latest Panamax (max) designs but would operate at significantly lower costs and needs less ballast.

"Exploring the design space for container vessels beyond the Panama canal limit leads to promising design concepts," Torsten Schramm concluded. "A baby post-Panamax design offers greatly reduced operating costs. These benefits increase even further with lower service speeds."

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