By Ryan Skinner (email)
This week I was at Høvik HQ and a DNV person shoved a fresh little publication in my hands. The tome's called "Technology Outlook 2020". Its remit was broad, from global megatrends to oil and gas, but there was a sweet spot on maritime technology. Here is the highly, highly condensed version. For the whole enchilada, see below.
The low energy ship
"Multifunctional ship types and or technological advances in drag reduction, propulsion, and materials herald new ship concepts"
- Air bubble lubrication: Uncertainties in the physical mechanisms, and the scaling and technical feasability of this system, need to be solved by 2020. Negative interaction between bubbles and the propellor must be addressed.
- Air cavity systems: 10% fuel consumption decrease is possible. Negative side effects include destabilizing free surface under the hull, and energy loss when bubbles pass through the propellor inflow.
- Hybrid materials: Widespread adoption by 2020 is unlikely, due to high costs, manufacturing and recycling challenges, and fire resistance issues.
- Hybrid propulsors: Though capital costs are high, these can cut fuel costs by 10%, depending on utilization and ship type.
- Ballast water free ships: Even after 2020, ships without ballast water will be more expensive to build and have construction challenges. Competition from onboard treatment and port facilities will be tough.
The green-fueled ship
Implementation of technologies like LNG, biofuel, wind or nuclear face significant technical and economic challenges, and the time frame ranges from a few years for LNG to decades for nuclear.
- Natural gas: Changes in CO2 emissions range from a 20% cut to a net increase. Newbuild costs are on average 10-20% higher than diesel ships. Within 10 years, a considerable share of new ships (particularly short-sea) will use gas fuel.
- Kites: These can substitute up to 2000 kW of propulsion power, and require little of the crew (but can foul deck equipment). Expect to see retrofits over the next 10 years.
- Biofuels: Biodiesel and crude plant oils are most promising, but challenges include fuel instability, corrosion, microbe growth and poor cold flow. Price and availability will probably decide.
- Nuclear: "....will not be commercially available for civilian shipping by 2020." Barriers: nuclear proliferation, investment costs and societal acceptance.
The electric ship
"Supply vessels and ferries with high fluctuations in power demand are the most suitable candidates..."
- Hybrid ships: By 2020, these will mix conventional and superconducting motors and generators, fuel cells and batteries, first to service, passenger and small cargo ships. For larger ships, probably only as auxiliary power.
- Marine fuel cells: Initially, auxiliary power, such as hotel loads, then supplementing propulsion in hybrid electric ships. "During the nexst decade, fully commercial marine fuel cells will become available."
- Batteries: By 2020, a battery pack of 0.4 MWh, with a 4 MW peak load, could weigh 2-4 tonnes and take up one cubic meter. Nano-technology advances may lead to a breakthrough here.
- High-temperature superconductors: These could massively reduce engine size, but require complex cooling technology. Redundancy will be an issue.
- Cold ironing: By 2020, standardised connections will be available in many ports, and on both newbuild and existing ships. Hurdles are sufficient grid capacity on land (for big ports) and infrastructure (for small ports)
The digital ship
"While some e-Navigation technologies are presently in use by front runners in shipping, by 2020 the majority of the fleet will have followed."
- ECDIS: A key e-Navigation technology, coupling to non-navigation systems could extend its potential to port scheduling and customs clearance. Competence on ECDIS will be vital.
- Advanced weather routing: Towards 2020, accuracy and resolution of met-ocean data will be better, along with data collection from ships, and reductions of fuel consumption up to 10% common.
- Piracy detection and deterrence: High-performance radars reaching up to 10 Nm by 2020 will be key. Service providers will use satellite info to provide advanced warning services.
- Ship-port synchronization technology: "By 2020, berth planning algorithms, using satellite tracking and weather routing, will be integrated into ship-port communication systems."
The arctic ship
"Increased demand for seaborne trade in the Arctic will lead to the introduction of larger vessels that require novel icebreaking services."
- Novel icebreakers: Over the next decade, oblique icebreakers (sideways operation in heavy ice) are expected to be widely adopted for Arctic operations.
- Iceload monitoring: These are expected to become prevalent by 2020, so Arctic vessels know when to slow down, and when to find alternate routes, to prevent damage in ice.
- Arctic evacuation vessels: Special lifeboats for evacuation in Arctic conditions will employ an Archimedes' screw concept for movement, with two large, screw-like pontoons on each side of the vessel.
- Ice routing software: Such software will by 2020 provide routing based on ice conditions, from sat images, weather observations, ice charts and weather and ice model forecasts. This will allow navigators to programme ideal routes.
- Ice navigation training simulator: Given the lack of competent personnel, these are expected to gain broader usage. Challenges include modelling ship behaviour in different conditions.
The virtual ship
"To manage the complexity and risk inherent in innovative solutions, there is a drive towards use of advanced, model-based techniques for assessing novel concepts and technologies....from a lifecycle perspective."
- Integrated ship design tools: By 2020, these will support distributed, parallelised and coordinated execution of design tasks using multi-processor architectures and internet infrastructure. A crucial factor will be access to reliable data.
- Model-based ship machinery design: "Modular computer tools will be available to model, simulate and optimise the operation of machinery systems under realistic operational profiles."
- Model-based hull design: By 2020, hull design tools will allow design towards sub-optimal operating conditions, compared to today's systems, which are based on still-water conditions and design loads.
- Large-scale demonstrators: Showcase projects combining industrial and shipowner partners will accelerate innovative technologies to commercialisation.
That's it. If you want the whole book, drop a comment and I'll put it in the post to you!