Reducing emissions from shipping has increasingly become a challenge over the last years, both as a counter measure against global climate change and to protect local environments and population from waste, gas emissions and noise.
This challenge has been documented both in policy papers, like the Europe 2020 initiative or the Transport White Paper, and in rules and regulations issued by IMO as well as by local authorities. Those legislations as well as emission taxes and an increasing public awareness on green shipping have led to the fact, that low emission ships and shipping has become a key competitive factor both for European shipbuilders (including equipment manufacturers and shipyards) and shipping companies.
In response to topic SST.2013.1-2 of the Sustainable Transport Work Programme 2013 the JOULES project aims to significantly reduce the gas emissions of European built ships, including CO2, SOx, NOx and particulate matters.
JOULES follows an integrated and holistic approach, not only limited to integrating the components of the simulation of the energy grid, but through the consideration of other viable options for emission reduction.
The specific optimal solutions for emission reduction and energy efficiency highly depend on the transport or service task of ships, as well as on their operational profile. While a wide overview and holistic assessment of all available energy and emission saving technologies is necessary, industrial breakthrough can only be achieved if the available solutions are selected, adopted, integrated, assessed and finally demonstrated for realistic application cases. The binding element between technologies and applications are modelling and assessment methods and tools. Those are needed to predict the behaviour of complex energy grids, to manage the energy demand in operation and to assess the performance of optimised energy grids both in view of cost efficiency and environmental impact.
Designing greener ships
An EU group is creating tools that simulate ships' energy usage for design purposes. Following requirements setting and verification phases, the team produced reliable models, incorporated into preliminary tool versions.
Europe has set short-term emissions targets for many sectors, including shipping, and longer-term targets will be even more ambitious. The ability to simulate vessels' energy consumption during the design phase will help make such goals a reality.
The EU-funded http://www.joules-project.eu (JOULES) (Joint operation for ultra low emission shipping) project aims to provide such capacity. The goal is to reduce carbon dioxide and all other emissions of European-built ships. Given the complex contextual situation of each ship, achieving the objective will require comparison of candidate technologies. The 41-member consortium will develop the predictive tools established by a previous EU project (BESST), enabling such comparison across ships' entire life cycles. The most promising technologies will be consolidated into four demonstration cases.
First-year work began with identifying the modelling requirements. The step yielded two different approaches and an input-output simulation matrix. Using the matrix, researchers subsequently modelled simulation components. The step allowed identification of optimum levels of design complexity and reflection of crucial component interdependencies.
The team established a dedicated quality assurance process for simulation models. Additionally, researchers identified 8 different validation experiments to be conducted during the second period, and detailed design parameters for 11 application cases for future designs. The phase also yielded a matrix of ship technology concepts, for use in simulation, and selection criteria for future demonstrators.
An interdisciplinary working group defined a methodology for screening life-cycle assessment. Such developments allow calculation of energy demand and global warming potential over a ship's entire life cycle.
Researchers also produced first versions of the expected design and simulation tools.
Results to date allow modelling of candidate shipping technologies in terms of energy consumption and pollutant emissions. Hence, optimal designs will be produced, reducing emissions and moving the industry towards sustainability.