One of the measures proposed in the White Paper on 'European transport policy for 2010: a time to decide' is to promote waterborne transport. Inland navigation is stated as a 'key component of intermodality, which must provide a means of coping with the growing congestion of road and rail transport and of tackling air pollution'. At present, it has been underused, even though there is a huge potential for inland waterborne transport, with a dense network of rivers and canals linking to the basins of the rivers which flow into the Atlantic and the North Sea, and linked to the Danube basin and Black Sea.
CREATING aims to reinforce the position of inland navigation, targeting RTD on integration and consistent validation of innovative intermodal vessel concepts and systems, to attain optimal sustainable transport performance, with the objective to:
- reduce the congestion problems in European transport and cope with the predicted growth of transport;
- strengthen the competitiveness of the inland navigation link in logistic transport chains, by integrating relevant research domains to create new intermodal logistic concepts and link up all players in the logistics chain; and
- optimise innovative, safe and sustainable inland navigation concepts, focussing on significant reduction of emissions, optimal efficiency, and safety for vessels and the environment.
The scientific and technological objectives of the project were to determine or develop:
- Logistic chains in the transport markets which can be made 'more maritime' in new intermodal concepts. Sustainable transport performance indicators will be developed to facilitate the selection of feasible transport for modal shift. This has to result in logistical requirements for innovative vessel concepts and technical challenges for efficiency (cargo handling), safety and emissions.
- Conceptual designs of innovative vessel concepts optimising performance in terms of logistics, economy, efficiency, environmental impact and safety;
- A methodology to analyse and validate the overall performance of future logistic chains to determine a scientific assessment of performances in the 'as is' and 'to be' situation of the elaborated concepts.
- Methods and solutions to minimise emissions by:
- reducing hull resistance and improving propulsion efficiency in order to reduce fuel consumption
- researching alternative fuel (treatment) and fuel cell applications
- reducing NOx and soot particles by researching fuel pre-treatments, combustion technology and exhaust gas treatments
- Methods and solutions to optimise safety in vessel concepts including improved construction, navigation, manoeuvring and the harmonisation of accident registration in Europe.
The approach of CREATING was as follows. As stated, the transport of continental cargo flows takes place almost completely by road. Some of these flows can (and should) be maritimised. Finding feasible cargo flows in that respect is the prime mission of work package (WP) 2. Of course, for the considerations of WP 2 besides the logistics, the economics are of the utmost importance. To be able to detect these flows, out of a database encompassing the major continental cargo flows of Europe, criteria are developed to support and speed up the identification process. Logistics also includes the handling of cargo: The costs of cargo handling are often prohibitive for transport by ships and in order to optimise the processes involved, detailed studies with respect to loading and unloading equipment are carried out.
The processes in WP 2 led to the formulation of four feasible cases. In the selection of cases for elaboration, CREATING required that commercial parties expressed their interest and (if necessary) cooperate in these cases. This was also carried out this way. All cases were directly supported by business partners. Subsequently the cases were handed over to the team of WP 3: Design of innovative vessel concepts. In order to be able to produce first global designs intermediate input was required from the other more technical oriented work packages: WP 5, 6, 8 and 9.
First input was required from the ship hydrodynamics, WP 5. WP 5 aims at reducing the resistance of the ship and improving the efficiency of the propulsors. They ended up with the generation of a propulsion tool box on basis of which first designs of hull and propulsion systems were carried out. However, when required in the course of CREATING, specific assistance to the prevailing cases which are designed in WP 3 was given.
Reduction of exhaust gasses and particles, which can strengthen the position of inland navigation can not only be achieved by optimising hull and propulsor to minimise fuel consumption but can also be achieved by the application of modern engines and various techniques to reduce the exhaust of gasses and particles. First of all benefits can be obtained by introducing speed control equipment (economisers) and also by the application of after treatment techniques. These are the subjects of study in WP 6. These aspects are of special interest for the 'green' transport by inland navigation and may significantly contribute to a cleaner world.
Another very important issue is safety. Transport (especia
Innovative concepts in logistics, environment and safety were developed during the project to strengthen the performance of inland navigation. CREATING in that way supports developments to enhance the integration of inland navigation into European logistic chains and its competitiveness as most efficient, safe and environmentally friendly mode of transport. The research on environmental impact of inland navigation concentrated on emission minimisation. Conventional as well as new vessel engine technologies were examined with regard to their emission reduction potential. Based on these results concrete measures were recommended to policy-makers and the inland waterway sector, in particular with regard to necessary adaptations of emission regulations and desirable implementations of high potential emission reduction techniques.
- It is remarked that a lot of efficiency can be gained by looking at the form of the hull and the propulsors in detail. It is almost surprising that this is not been carried out much more as is yet the case, because the optimisation does not cost much money whereas the benefits can be great.
- It should be further elaborated how shippers can be approached such that more positive attitude towards the development of new ways of dealing with the logistical processes involved.