Improving the Energy Efficiency of the World’s Largest Ships

Energy efficiency and the world’s largest ships

The world is finally coming to grips it seems, with the threat of global warming and the stark truth that it is our actions that are to blame for it. A very large percentage of the co2 generated is coming from transportation of which ocean going freight is a large component.  

At the same time, the world economy is growing and with it the need for cost effective shipping. Meanwhile consumers and stakeholders are becoming increasingly aware of  the drivers for climate change and are startinn to demand action from industry and governments. Industries therefore, are now faced with the responsibility of reducing their carbon (IV) oxide emissions as well as improve on their energy efficiency so as to ensure the fight against global warming and the goals of sustainable business through cost effective industrial practices. It is under this call that Maersk, a player in the shipping industry, has rolled out a plan that will see it reduce its carbon (IV) oxide production and overall energy consumption, by 60%.

Energy efficient shipping an important component in reducing CO2

Energy efficient shipping an important component in reducing CO2

Maersk line is a company that has been in the shipping industry for several years now. With a fleet of ships comprising of more than 600 operational ships, this company is a key player in the shipping industry and its ships, judging by their large number and huge carrying capacity, contribute a significant amount of carbon (IV) oxide pollution into the atmosphere. The move by the company to see to it that by 2020, their carbon (IV) oxide emissions per container have been reduced by 60% and their energy efficiency in terms of fuel economy is also improved by 60%, as compared to the 2007 data, is a welcomed move. However, some critics might argue that this is quite an ambitious move that will fail to bear fruit in the long run. Judging by their game plan on how they will achieve this target, this might turn out to be a fruitful move; much against what the critics have in mind.

In 2014 alone, Maersk was able to save 125,000 tons of carbon (IV) oxide from getting into the atmosphere. In their 2020 target plan, Maersk wants to employ the use of real-time data analysis obtained from sensors within the ships’ systems and upgrading of existing fleet to curb CO2 production and improve on fuel economy. Maersk is taking into great use new age technology in their plan to achieve this milestone. They have set up a Maersk Line Global Voyage Center located in Mumbai that houses a sophisticated data system that manages their fleet of ships.

In each of their triple-E ships are 2800 sensors which are all hardwired to the ship’s main control system. The engine room houses the highest number of sensors having 200 of them, set to measure the temperature, pressure and operation of the engine and its components. Each triple-E in turn relays 2GB of data each day to the Voyage Center for analysis. The data obtained from these sensors are very vital in analyzing the ships performance thus allowing for the planning and execution of the most efficient voyages that will pave way for less fuel consumption, less carbon (IV) oxide emissions and an optimized fleet network. Maersk is currently using only a fraction of the data obtained for the planning of the voyages. To meet their 60% milestone, they are planning on using more of this data which will result to more savings on their side in terms of fuel economy and carbon (IV) oxide production as well as more savings for the consumer.

With the much hype triple-E vessels have come in with, it is easy to overlook the older ships in the fleet. These older ships still play a role in energy efficiency and carbon (IV) oxide production thus work still has to be done to them for the 60% efficiency target to be reached. Bearing this in mind, Maersk has cleverly decided to upgrade the older fleet and fit in them the cutting edge technology that will improve efficiency of the ship. This move has been crowned by a 1 billion dollar investment Maersk has put into the upgrading of all older ships in the fleet, whether they are operating under the Maersk line or are currently under long-term lease. To ensure that the best results are gotten, Maersk is also testing new fuel saving technology that will minimize fuel use as well as carbon (IV) oxide production. Some of these improvements to the older ships in the fleet include engine upgrades, optimized propellers and new bulbous bows that have been designed for slower speeds.

About Gordon Smith
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.

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1 Comment

  • Bruce Miller says:

    Small Thorium fuelled LFTR reactors are still more dangerous and more costly than Solar?

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