Fuel Saving and Emission Reduction Solutions for Greener Shipping
Nobody benefits from airborne pollution or the wasteful consumption of fossil fuels and although shipping is relatively energy efficient, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Currently world shipping consumes around 200 million tonnes of diesel oil annually and it is estimated that the world's merchant vessels emit around the same amount or more of sulphur oxide as do all the world's cars, trucks and buses. Clearly something has to be done to make shipping more eco-friendly.
The path towards a greener marine future and sustainable shipping involves the more widespread use of wind, solar and electric power to help propel and power vessels of all sizes. By using renewable energy not only will less fossil fuels be used, but harmful airborne pollution will also be reduced. In addition ship and boat owners/operators can significantly cut their operating costs and lower their dependence on costly fossil fuels.
Wind Power & Solar Power for Shipping
The power of the wind has been used to move ships and boats for thousands of years, but with the advent of the steam and internal combustion engines the use of sail power fell away sharply from around the 19th century onwards. However today, there is a resurgent interest in the use of sails for commercial vessels of all sizes
In addition, solar panel technology has now reached a point where it is becoming more practical and cost effective to include solar power solutions on vessels and in some cases it is possible to collect wind and solar power via the same device or system. Eco Marine Power (EMP) has for example developed a rigid sail known as the EnergySail which are part sail and part solar energy collector. These rigid sails will form part of Aquarius MRE - an integrated rigid sail based solution that also brings in other technologies such as marine computer systems & energy storage modules.
Hybrid Marine Power & Propulsion
Fuel savings can also be achieved by using marine hybrid power & propulsion technologies or all-electric marine propulsion systems.
These concepts are not new, but recent technological advancements have made them more efficient and cost effective. They can also be merged so that a ship powered by an electric propulsion system can also use solar panels, Lithium batteries, wind power devices or in the future - hydrogen fuels cells.
In ancient times the Roman Trireme employed an early form of hybrid power where wind and oar power was used. Today eco-friendly marine propulsion solutions can employ motor/generator sets, advanced power management systems, cutting-edge energy storage technologies plus solar & wind power solutions.
Hybrid marine power (HMP) solutions can also be configured so that they require no on-board fossil fuel engines or generators with the batteries being recharged via a combination of on-board solar panels and shore power. In turn the shore power could be sourced from a wind power or solar power generating facility thereby creating a water transport solution powered entirely by renewable energy.
Our Vision at Eco Marine Power
At Eco Marine Power (EMP) we believe that renewable energy sources need to be a part of the energy mix at sea just as they are on land. That is why we work on R&D programmes, concept studies and implementation projects in order to develop systems and solutions that are at forefront of the green-marine and sustainable shipping revolution.
These projects currently include Aquarius MRE® - a solar & wind power solution for ocean going ships and the 'Tonbo' design project - a environmentally friendly solar electric passenger ferry or tourist vessel that will use the latest fuel saving and Lithium battery technology.
In addition EMP is working on the Medaka urban solar-electric ferry project. This project is not only involved with the development of a vessel that uses renewable energy, but also involves looking into how an urban eco-commuter ferry can be best used as part of a small fleet to provide an environmentally friendly form of water transport in modern low carbon cities or on urban waterways.
Sustainable shipping is not a dream - it is a trend that is gathering momentum across the shipping sector and Eco Marine Power is developing the solutions that will help drive shipping towards a cleaner, greener future.