With the climate change coming to the forefront of society's perception, there is increasing pressure on all industries to reduce CO2 emissions through increased efficiency, and the maritime industry is no exception.
The objective of ULYSSES project was to demonstrate that the efficiency of the world fleet can be increased to a point where the following CO2 targets are met, through a combination of ultra slow speeds and complementary technologies:
- Before 2020, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% compared to 1990 levels;
- Beyond 2050, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels.
ULYSSES focused on bulk carriers and tankers, as these ship types produce 60% of the CO2 from ocean-going vessels. As bulk carriers and tankers are reasonably similar in design and operation, it was felt that investigating these ships would give the best value for money in terms of the potential impact of the project. Additionally, it is more technically challenging to reduce the speed of these ship types, as they are already relatively slow speed vessels and therefore, it is expected that directional stability and other seakeeping issues will arise. However, the results of the project will be directly transferable to other ship types.
To achieve these goals, it was expected that the target speeds would be:
- Phase I - Existing vessel in 2020: ~10 knots;
- Phase II - New vessel built in 2020: ~7.5 knots;
- Phase III - New vessel built in 2050: ~5 knots.
The project was divided into nine Work Packages:
- WP1 - Requirements and Evaluation;
- WP2 - Technical Coordination, Integration and Design;
- WP3 - Resistance and Propulsion;
- WP4 - Wind Power;
- WP5 - Structures;
- WP6 - Machinery and Equipment;
- WP7 - Seakeeping and Manoeuvring;
- WP8 - Project Management;
- WP9 - Communication and Dissemination.
In brief, the following results were identified:
- Investigators defined the requirements for ultra-slow ships, including technical, economic, safety and environmental factors;
- Systems for onboard tests of propulsion performance and resistance under slow-steaming conditions have been designed;
- Preliminary propeller efficiencies demonstrated clear potential for improvement and a design tool has facilitated the calculation of engine power based on speed requirements;
- Scientists developed models of kite and suction sail propulsion enabling them to predict power and ship behaviour using auxiliary wind propulsion systems;
- They also developed simulations to optimise weather routing and therefore, take the best advantage of the wind;
- Models were also used to optimise engine performance and manoeuvring properties at slow speed and with wind propulsion;
- Ulysses is expected to deliver ship design concepts that will include advanced engine and propeller designs. Auxiliary power systems that harness the wind will help propel the ultra-slow ships with tremendous reductions in CO2 emissions.
In different phases, the project aimed to achieve the maximum increase in efficiency, and therefore, maximum reduction in CO2, whilst remaining commercially viable. Furthermore, the project aimed to achieve the technologically possible maximum reductions in CO2, by combining the existing and near future technologies with an ultra-slow ship and investigate the economic and market changes necessary to make the solution financially viable.
Innovating for the future: technology and development.
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