New vessels should include optionality for future fuels - DNV GL chief

With IMO’s 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets requiring as yet unknown innovations to meet them DNV GL chief Remi Eriksen says owners should have optionality designed into new vessels for future changes in fuel.

Speaking at DNV GL’s Nor-Shipping 2019 press briefing Eriksen said that there was broad agreement that the industry could meet the IMO’s 2030 GHG targets through a combination of existing measures, but the 2050 target of an absolute 50% reduction in CO2 emissions was a different matter.

“However, the 2050 targets mean sailing into unknown territory where the solutions for radical emissions reductions are yet to be invented. That is why it is advisable to design optionality into vessels today,” he explained.

“New designs should offer owners and operators the flexibility for example to switch fuel options on the vessel, maybe from fossil (fuel) to gas, to biogas, ammonia, hydrogen or other fuels.”

But it is not possible to design a vessel to take into account all options so owners need to make decision where they most likely see future fuel options. “You need to make a bet on a certain path – if you think the pathway is gas you can design for optionality around certain options. We cannot provide optionality around everything,” Eriksen said.

Asked what his own bet would be on the future fuel for shipping Eriksen said it would be gas, with the various possible gas options available.

In terms of designing optionality into a vessel he said that one of the tools that gives designers the ability to do this is virtualisation, especially a digital twin. DNV GL is involved in a Joint Industry Project (JiP) with 23 other parties to develop an open simulation platform.

Such a platform allows not just to test design optionality but also to test for software operational issues which could have major, unforeseen consequences.

“Today new vessels require many complex software dependent systems working together and to be integrated. Typically we are seeing that integration and testing of these systems is happening too late in the new project storing up potentially devastating collision, related operational or safety issues   You could dub this our industry’s Boeing problem,” he stated.

“By incorporating engineering models and the actual controls systems it makes it possible to combine it all into one digital twin. It suddenly becomes possible to address emerging system properties through simulation,” Eriksen explained.

The aim is to deliver a working solution onto DNV GL’s Veracity platform by the second quarter of next year.

Posted 03 June 2019

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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