Energy efficiency: totally worth it

With a little careful planning, you can adopt some surprisingly effective energy-efficiency measures for your newbuilds, saving a lot of money in the long run, while also greening up operations.

 A changing marinetech climate

New regulatory guidelines in recent years have progressed innovations in marine technology. Both vessel and equipment manufacturers alike have introduced solutions that answer the call of the IMO and EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships) to decrease energy consumption and emissions. Additionally, organisations such as the Danish-born Green Ship of the Future (GSF) are promoting the idea that emission-free maritime transport is an achievable near future for the industry, and financially sustainable, through the use of both existing, energy-efficient technology and also R&D into new digital technologies.

Efficiency solutions are win-win

When they hear the word regulation, people inevitably start wondering what it’s going to cost to fall in line. It’s important, however, to understand that, in this case, green initiatives can actually create powerful opportunities for savings, while also protecting the environment. That’s because when it comes to regulatory changes in the marine industry, a lot of the impact falls onto fuel consumption. Fuel is the most expensive component of the maritime business model, representing up to 60-70% of total ship operating costs in times when fuel prices are higher.

That means that an investment in energy-saving solutions can actually help shipowners improve their bottom line by lowering fuel consumption annually. As the American author and commentator Bill Vaughan mused, “improving efficiency is not only a risk-reduction strategy, it’s a profitability strategy.”

 Intimidation factors

There are a lot of choices! Whether you’re from a marine background or totally new to the shipbuilding experience, because the development of new equipment is constant, it can be difficult to weigh the options when outfitting a new ship.

Shipowners are often presented with a small list of potential manufacturers, in a sort of “package deal” arrangement, representing a range of prices. Not often are equipment choices presented in an “a la carte” style. And with good reason – comparing the pros and cons for an inclusive list of shipbuilding elements would be both intimidating and time intensive, for anyone.

So, what options do we have to make the biggest efficiency savings?

Engine room opportunities

By far, the greatest opportunity for improving fuel efficiency is in the engine room. While in some ways, one engine room pump may appear to be much like another in overall specifications, efficiency performance can, nevertheless, vary by as much as 10 percent. Down the line, a decision to use the most efficient pump on the market can translate to as much as a 25 percent fuel reduction. So, it is important to consider what the manufacturer can deliver in terms of state-of-the-art pump design.

Additionally, while there is always a premium around onboard space, prioritizing efficiency in piping design and other engine room infrastructure can greatly offset upfront sacrifices with savings down the road.