GREEN4SEA Conference addressed key fuel challenges towards 2020

Posted by economia 09/03/2018 0 Comment(s) Events,

The 2018 GREEN4SEA Conference successfully concluded on Wednesday 7th of March, at the Lighthouse at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), attracting 750 delegates from 20 countries representing a total of 350 organizations.


The event brought together global experts who focused on the recent and future challenges towards a more sustainable shipping industry.  Experts shared their views for compliance with the forthcoming sulphur cap and provided feedback on BWMC implementation issues. In addition, alternatives options for compliance towards 2020 were presented such as LNG, LPG, SRF Energy Pellets, scrubbers and wind propulsion and finally latest developments that prove steps towards further decarbonization were discussed.  Presentations were given in six panels as follows:


Panel No. 1 – Green Shipping Perspectives

In his presentation, Mr. Anthony Vourdahas, Engineer OEP, ABS, attempted to clarify the regulatory landscape facing ship operators and owners for 2020 and beyond. The increasing environmental compliance requirements, such as the 2020 global sulphur cap, the upcoming IMO Data Collection System (DCS) as well as the reduction of GHG, BWM and EEDI, add complexity for ship operators particularly when markets are also challenging, while all of these have impacts on vessel's design and operations and may lead to the need to invest in new additional equipment for new buildings and existing vessels.


Mr. Sotiris Raptis, Senior Policy Advisor for Environment and Safety, EcoPorts Coordinator, ESPO, focused on the position of European ports on the revision of the Port Reception Facilities (PRF) Directive, recently published by the European Commission. The fee system introduced by the current Directive whereby ships are paying a fixed minimum fee when calling at a port has certainly contributed to the delivery of increased quantities of waste on shore. European ports understand that strengthening this incentive policy is part of the current proposal. However, introducing a fee system whereby ships can deliver unlimited amounts of garbage for a fixed fee seems to be a severe and unacceptable divergence from the ‘polluter pays’ principle.


Mr. David Nichol, Regional Loss Prevention Executive, Thomas Miller P&I (Europe), emphasized on bunker spills, examining the root causes and what loss prevention measures can be implemented to combat them. Mr. Nichol noted that spills into the marine environment relating to routine bunkering operations continue to occur with worrying regularity. Bunker spills, even in relatively limited quantities, may result in very high value claims for recovery of pollutants, clean up, restoration operations and third party damages running into seven figure dollar sums. In addition, ship owners and crews may also be exposed to heavy fines and criminal prosecution.


With his presentation “Hull Coatings Technologies”, Dr. Ioannis Arabatzis, CEO, Nanophos, attempted to clarify the misty landscape of underwater marine coatings, for non-chemists. He namely presented contemporary chemical technologies in the market, in a simplified, understandable way and formulated the checkpoints for a successful selection of a hull coating system. Moving further, he also underlined the trends in relevant technologies and the pathway of developing smart and functional coatings for a greener operational pattern, while he also cited top tips for selecting an AF system.


Panel No. 2 – 2020 Options

Mr. Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA presented the preliminary findings of the ‘2020 SAFETY4SEA Fuel Options Survey’ highlighting that the majority of responders believe a postponement of 2020 sulphur cap deadline is possible, similar to BWM Convention. Feedback from the survey reveals that momentum is extremely difficult; all options will work in the market and other options such as LPG and batteries may arise initially in small segments. Mr. Belokas concluded that many seem to prefer a ‘wait and see’ approach with respect to Sulphur cap compliance and certainly market will be distorted. Strongest "players" may increase market share, weakest may disappear while there may be a rise in penalties


Mr. Stylianos Mavrelos, Technical Director, Capital Ship Management, addressed different compliance options and ULSFO availability. As postponement of the Sulphur cup regulation seems unlikely, due to a number constraints presented, the majority of the vessels will continue burning ULSFO and or MGO.  Refiners are not investing in desulfurizing fuel, instead they are developing, a variety of blended low Sulphur fuels. These fuels will be available at least in the major bunkering ports, but as there is no guarantee, a vessel bunkering at one port will be able to pick up a compatible LSFO at the next port; the industry needs to be prepared, as there are safety concerns when using such fuels.


Mr. Antonis Trakakis, Technical Manager, Arista Shipping participated at the panel introducing briefly the ‘Project Forward’, a Joint Development Project promoting the adoption of LNG as a marine fuel, suggesting the design of a Kamsarmax size bulk carrier which reduces the cost of transportation at sea, modernizes the shipping industry and defines the new standard of vessel for IMO's 2020 emission rules. The project, conceived in 2013 and funded by Arista Shipping, has received the 2018 GREEN4SEA Clean Shipping Award. Mr. Trakakis highlighted that LNG is currently at a mature stage and while there is limited availability of bunkering station, there are a lot of developments underway.


Mr. Frantzeskos Kontos, Technical Manager, Prime Marine Management joined the panel discussion noting that scrubbers could be considered as a valuable option for compliance with the sulphur cap; the fact that there are already many experts in the industry is positive, as it reduces uncertainty with this technology. The regulation is imminent; therefore each solution should be examined before taking a final decision, considering the cost implications.


Keynote Address

With the completion of Panel 2, a Keynote Speech by Dr. Gratsos, Chairman, HELMEPA, was followed which addressed  effective decarbonization actions of the shipping industry. Dr. Gratsos stressed to prioritize our goals having on top global warming and health issues. While other transport modes emit more than shipping, our industry should focus on more energy efficient hull designs to move forward. To improve shipping’s already very good environmental performance we must think clearly, free of ideological constraints and avoid meaningless, unnecessary complications, Dr. Gratsos further advised.


Panel No. 3 – Fuel Alternatives towards 2020

Mrs. Mélodie Noris, Business Development Manager, LNG as Fuel Division, GTT, focused on LNG as a solution stating that it is the only mature solution directly compliant with all current pollution regulations.  Mrs. Noris underlined that tomorrow’s main challenge for LNG as marine fuel is safety, with respect to safe operations, reliable systems and reliable industrial partners and presented how GTT is ready to answer to the demand. Dedicated solutions, oriented to shipowners offer maximum autonomy and optimize vessel capacity, as well as the highest standard in LNG fuel gas system safety.


Mr. Nikos Xydas, Technical Director, WLPGA the World LPG Association, examined the use of LPG as a marine alternative fuel, one of the most compliant solutions for the reduction of exhaust emissions in light of 2020 IMO regulations. It is a fuel immediately available everywhere, offering short payback periods, low investment costs and lower sensitivity to fuel price scenarios compared to other alternatives. It is characterized by low emissions of particles, NOx and nearly zero Sox. This and much more, the WLPGA highlights in its new report “LPG for Marine Engines - The Marine Alternative Fuel” dedicated to the use of LPG in the marine sector.


Mr. Aleksey Nikulin, Chief Technology Officer, Humble Energy, noted in his presentation that a greener and cheaper fuel alternative is available to the shipping industry using current technology. Humble Energy’s initiative builds on their extensive Energy from Waste expertise and research into solid fuel propulsion systems that use Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) Energy Pellets as an energy source to solve the MARPOL issue facing the shipping industry.  This technology will cut SOx, NOx and GHG emissions and dramatically reduce fuel bills.


Mr. Gavin Allwright, Secretary, ISWA provided an overview of wind assisted marine projects. There are currently different technologies for wind ships while perception and infrastructure are among the key barriers for wind propulsion as an option. While few years ago, industry thought ‘why wind propulsion’ by 2026, he said, industry will discuss about ‘how’ to adopt the technology. Concluding his presentation, Mr. Allwright referred to Peace Boat ecoship project and to ways for the development of wind propulsion hubs. Support R&D and training/education to increase the pool of skills available to the sector and industry as a whole are imperative among others to promote further wind technology.


Panel No. 4 –Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems

Mr. Ole-Johan Øby Svendsen, Sales Manager, Wärtsilä Water Systems, argued on how to customize a scrubber system to fit the operators’ need for new builds and retrofits as well as to make a feasible installation process for retrofit installations. Customizing the scrubber system is mainly done by choosing the most feasible system for the vessels trading route and optimizing the system for the operational profile of the vessel. Making a smooth retrofit process is all about controlling the value chain as well as applying a feasible installation concept.


Mr. Panayiotis Mitrou, Marine & Offshore Technology & Innovation Manager, LR, presented the risk and opportunities of scrubbers.  Fuel prices make exhaust gas cleaning attractive for commercial operators he said, while decarbonization and further regulatory requirements will inevitably challenge any scrubber uptake trend by the end of the decade. He advised the audience to act now and considering that scrubbers are not risk-free, the best medicine to risk is swift payback which may come with early adoption. Scrubbers will continue offering adequate net returns over a long period of time and scrubbers net returns can hedge you against weak freight rates, he concluded.


Mr. Andreas Zontanos, Partner, Argonavis,  provided a recap of what we know and what we do not and perhaps why, with respect to the exhaust emission abatement, ahead of the 2020 sulphur cap, noting that a lot of interest from potential retrofitters reached the makers, but has not resulted in orders yet. As a consultant to shipowners and shipmanagers, Mr. Zontanos said there are too many uncertainties to allow for a reliable calculation on which the wise choice would be: the fuel price difference, the cost and duration of installation and commissioning, the reliability of the equipment and the durability of the materials.


Panel No. 5 – BWTS Makers Panel 

Mr. Lars Bo Kirkegaard, General Manager (Sales), BWMS, Wärtsilä, argued on several aspects of BWMS technology. He talked about retrofitting ballast water management systems, which is a solution to help operators meet legislation and reduce impact on the marine environment by making feasible what appears to be complex, risky and costly. He also provided a summary of what operators should know post MEPC 71 with respect to BWMS regulations set by both IMO and US, while he emphasized on Wartsila’s online ballast training.


Mr. Peter Sahlén, R&D Manager, PureBallast, Alfa Laval, talked about the route to IMO G8 revised guidelines (2016) and USCG type approval. Providing a recap of how the new robust 2016 G8 testing guidelines were adopted, he cited what are the new conditions and informed about the IMO revised G8 Certificate, which gives vessel owners peace of mind in planning future-proof fleet retrofit installations. A key point of his presentation was also the USCG zero hold-time. Some vessel owners have expressed concern over the 72h holding time required to make the USCG CMFDA method work. Alfa Laval completed testing without holding time in Q3 2017.


In his presentation, Mr. Juha Kiukas, Sales Director, Trojan Marinex, noted that ballast water testing is expensive and time consuming and consolidation in BWTS market will accelerate. He referred to recent USCG policy letter regarding inoperable systems and clarified that lack of consumables does not meet the ”stops of operating properly” clause and also ships with inoperable BWT system due to BWT system makers bankruptcy and non-availability of spare parts or chemicals will not receive special consideration. Mr. Kiukas believes that the market is becoming more mature, therefore around 20 Type Approvals are expected up to 2019.


Panel No. 6 – BWMC Implementation Issues

Mr. Antonios Georgantzis, Technical Manager, Consolidated Marine Management, talked about implementation issues on BWM Convention from a ship manager’s perspective. Following the entry into force of the BWM Convention and the certification of a number of systems from USCG, the future challenges are on the establishment of solid and proper contingency plans for enabling to respond into a system’s failure, upgrade of installed systems to meet USCG requirements and finally retrofit installations. CMM’s experience shows that early preparation, training of involved personnel, careful and detailed planning and establishment of response plans are key elements to be adhered to into the whole process.


In his presentation, Mr. Andreas Nicolaou, CMO-Biochemist, Maritime Labs, said ballast water compliance testing is an integral part of any BWTS installed on vessels. The testing procedure as described by EPA-VGP and IMO regulations has a dual significance. Results confirm the efficiency or potential problems of the system to the port authorities and to the ship owner/manager. Ballast systems are expensive and complicated equipment and it certainly makes sense to perform regular testing in order to keep them running smoothly and efficiently.


Concluding the last panel of the conference, Mr. Andreas Kokkotos, Partner, Argonavis, discussed the highlights of a BWTS retrofit which directly and indirectly affect the cost of the project. He stressed that the quality of a BWTS project is related to its cost: neither a low nor a high final bill but the successful commissioning and certification of a BWTS, finished at the pre-estimated date and at the pre-estimated cost make a quality project. As such, he cited what are key steps for operators in order to reduce costs without affecting the quality, as well as what they should not do to reduce retrofit costs.



All sessions ended with a round table discussion in which the audience exchanged ideas with high level experts of international repute on technological developments. Finally, Apostolos Belokas as the Forum Chairman thanked the delegates for their participation, the sponsors for their support and the speakers for their excellent presentations and also the organizing team of the event for their contribution towards forum objectives.


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