Eight low-emission vessel concept designs

Eight low-emission vessel concept designs

The shipping industry is ramping up its efforts to decarbonise by exploring the use of alternative fuels and technologies. Last week, a study led by Lloyd’s Register revealed that by 2030 zero emission vessels need to be entering the world fleet if the industry is to come close to achieving the IMO 2050 GHG emissions reduction target.

Shipping’s decarbonisation will not come from one single solution but from a combination of energy sources. This week, VPO Global takes a look at some vessel concept designs that indicate the first steps to carbon-free shipping have been taken.

NYK Super Eco Ship 2050

The NYK Super Eco Ship 2050 is a vessel that will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, in which the hydrogen is produced by renewable energy sources. The vessel will require only 30 per cent of the energy used on vessels today.

The vessel will be capable of recovering waste heat from fuel cells. In addition to this, coal power from the liquefied hydrogen will be used to maximise efficiency and reduce electricity demand.

A lower weighted hull compared with traditional vessels will be achieved by lightweight materials, bionic design, and topology optimisation. Conventional propellers will be replaced with flapping foils that mimic the movement of dolphins to deliver greater efficiency than screw-type propellers. The Super Eco Ship 2050 will use air lubrication technology to reduce the resistance between the vessel’s hull and the seawater surface.

A hull cleaning robot will carry out cleaning during port stays to reduce resistance through water. The robots will also collect debris to prevent pollution of ecological systems at port.

Digital Twins will be used to give access from shore to optimise planned and corrective maintenance.

Key stats:

– 67 per cent reduction in energy derived from fossil fuels, compared with a 2014-built vessel.

– 70 per cent reduction in energy derived from bunker fuels.

– 100 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions.

– 1,900 m3 hydrogen capacity to provide 21 days endurance.


NYK Super Eco Ship 2050 concept design. Image courtesy of NYK Line

The Water-Go-Round

The Water-Go-Round is expected to be the first fuel cell vessel in the US and the first commercial fuel cell ferry in the world when it launches later this year.

Built by Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM) and partners, the purpose of the vessel is to demonstrate zero emission operation is possible.

In the coming months, the vessel will begin a 3-month pilot testing phase in San Francisco. Performance of the vessel will be independently measured by Sandia National Laboratories.

Funding comes from California Climate Investments, a state-wide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment.

Key stats:

– Speed of 22 knots achieved through two electric motors from BAE Systems with a power of 300 kW each.

– 264 kg hydrogen tank capacity, providing two days of operation.

The GGZEM Water-Go-Round. Image courtesy of GGZEM

SeaShuttle project

The SeaShuttle project is developing autonomous zero-emission containerships that will use hydrogen fuel cells for propulsion. Led by European operator Samskip, the vessels will use a combination of fuels and technologies to make it cost competitive and low emission.

The SeaShuttle vessels will connect Poland, Sweden, and the Oslo Fjords.

The project was awarded EUR 6 million by the Norwegian government to develop all-electric ships.

SeaShuttle is one of six initiatives included in Pilot-E, a EUR 100m+ scheme set up by Norway to make carbon-free shipping possible by bringing market solutions to shipping more quickly.

Port-Liner all-electric Tesla ships

Dutch company Port-Liner is building two large ell-electric barges that are expected to launch this autumn.

The vessels will initially be manned but it is expected that they will run autonomously once there is suitable infrastructure for them to do so.

The project has cost around EUR 100 million to date, 7 million of which was subsidised by the European Union.

The vessels will transport containers between Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam.

Key stats:

– 18,000 estimated tonnes of CO2 reduction per year.

– 20 ft batteries providing 15 hours of continuous operation.

– Capacity of 280 containers on larger vessels with power to run for 30 continuous hours.

– 23,000 trucks are expected to be removed from the roads annually as a result of the first 6 barges going into operation.

Port-Liner electric barge concept design. Image courtesy of Port Liner

Legacy of the Fjords

The Legacy of the Fjords is all-electric, zero emission passenger vessel that has passed the concept design phase and is due to join The Fjord’s fleet in 2020. The Fjord’s is a owned by tourist body Flåm AS and Norway’s ferry company Fjord1.

The vessel will deploy a specially constructed Power Dock and an innovative floating charging solution that will allow it to refill its 2.4MWh battery capacity in 20 minutes.

Originally planned to join the fleet in 2019, its launch has been delayed to ensure “everything is in place for this environmentally friendly, energy efficient and breath-taking new craft,” explains Vidar Hauståker, Acting CEO, The Fjords. At the current time, there are some issues with listing the required battery-loading infrastructure within the Oslo harbour area.

The vessel is made from carbon fibre sandwich material to reduce energy consumption and classed by DNV GL. Legacy of the Fjords will join Vision of The Fjords and Future of The Fjords, both currently operating with hybrid electric and electric propulsion in the Norwegian fjords.

The Legacy of The Fjords is under construction at Brødrene Aa.

Key stats:

– 1800 kWh battery pack.

– 2 x 450kWh el-motor.

– 400 passenger capacity.

The Future of The Fjords electric vessel, currently in operation. Image courtesy of the Fjords

Liquefied hydrogen bunkering vessel

Last month, a design for the first liquefied hydrogen (LH2) bunker vessel was announced by Moss Maritime, Equinor, Wilhelmsen, and DNV-GL, indicating that transporting liquid hydrogen by sea is logistically possible.

The project, sponsored by Innovation Norway, aims to clarify challenges and find solutions for storage and handling of hydrogen fuel on a vessel.

Key stats:

– 9,000m3 cargo capacity.

– Transportation of LH2 at a temperature of -253 °C will be possible, offering advantages over pressurised hydrogen gas in relation to transportation costs.

Concept design of the LH2 bunkering vessel. Image courtesy of Wilhelmsen

Race for Water

The Race for Water Odyssey catamaran was developed by Swiss Hydrogen and operates using hydrogen and solar panels, making it 100 per cent self-sufficient. The vessel began its expedition in 2017 with the purpose of raising awareness of plastic pollution in the oceans.

During the day, the vessel uses solar energy to propel itself and recharge the batteries. At night, the batteries are used to keep the vessel’s power supply going. When the vessel is docked, surplus solar energy is used to produce hydrogen, which is stored in pressure tanks for use at a later point.

The hydrogen technology for the Race for Water vessel was developed by Plastic Omnium.

“The hydrogen chain designed for the Race for Water vessel aims to demonstrate that today’s hydrogen technologies are mature, reliable and sustainable, both at sea and on land”, says Alexandre Closset, business line director, Plastic Omnium.

Key stats:

– 200kg hydrogen storage on-board, enough to power the vessel for 6-7 days.

– 30kW fuel cells to convert the hydrogen back to electricity.

– 8 knots sailing speed possible.

– 8 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries provide a 36 hour energy range.

– 512m2 of solar panel storage.

Dual-electric Chinese cargo ship

In November 2017, the Guangzhou Shipyard International launched a dual-electric cargo ship to sail in inland waters of the Pearl Delta.

Powered by lithium batteries, a super capacitor, and two electric motors, the vessel emits no carbon, SOx or PM2.5 particulates.

According to China News, the vessel represents a breakthrough in the design difficulties of large-capacity new electric ships and shore-power connectivity to provide efficient energy recovery as well as strong ship power.

The vessel is certified by China Classification Society (CCS).

Key stats:

– Two 160 kW electric propellers

– Total energy capacity of 2.4 MWh via a 26-ton supercapacitor + ultra-high-power lithium battery

– Operational time of two hours and up to 80km

– 7 knots sailing speed