Retrofit for greater economy says GL

Jun 30 2013


Owners can make use of a suite of retrofitting solutions to ensure that existing vessels remain economic, claimed soon to be merged class society Germanischer Lloyd (GL).

At Nor-Shipping, GL unveiled a new manual outlining some of the solutions that can be adopted to engender greater shipboard economy.

Today's newbuildings now consume up to 20 to 30% less fuel than vessels built only three to five years ago, which is leaving owners searching for solutions to remain competitive in the market, the class society said.

"Retrofit technologies offer the comparatively young fleet of existing ships the chance to remain active and economically attractive to owners and operators," said Jan-Olaf Probst, GL's global ship type director.”These eco-efficient technologies not only benefit the bottom line, but will also have a positive impact on the ecological impact of the entire shipping industry".

The manual looks at how technical, operational and managerial solutions can increase the energy efficiency of existing vessels.

It contains a number of possible options, background information on the technologies and important considerations for their implementation, as well as a chart which indicates the potential of the retrofit measure for each ship type in respect to its age, the required investment, payback time, ease of execution and the required planning time.

Over 30 technical measures suitable for energy efficiency retrofitting, grouped into such categories as hull and superstructure, propeller and rudder, main and auxiliary engine, supporting systems, energy consumers on board and capacity enhancement are outlined and assessed. Potential savings are often found in adapting a vessel to its current, rather than design, operating profile.

Measures taken to optimise hull, engine and propulsion, as well as supporting systems, can pay for themselves quickly. Fuel expenses are currently the largest single cost for shippers, some 30 to 60% depending on vessel segment and operational speed and this cost pressure is set to increase.

Screenshot of GL's Pegasus 2.0 thickenss measurement software.

 

The manual shows that while essentially all of the retrofitting technologies are known and proven solutions, the pace of retrofitting of existing vessels is much lower than could be expected.

A lack of information, confidence, capital and investment incentives for owners have been identified as significant hurdles to retrofit uptake.

Also, a lack of retrofitting expertise also means that shipping companies can find it difficult to identify the optimum solution among the large variety of options available. While the economic assessment for individual retrofitting options also often fails to be made in a professional manner.

"It is helpful to narrow down the solution space for the individual vessel and assess the different options in a structured way," Probst said. "These hurdles can be overcome with the increased professionalisation of the maritime industry." He also suggested that financial institutions could play a valuable role by being more ready to offer vessel owners adequate financial support.

"Partnerships between a shipping company, a technical advisor, a reputable solutions provider and a verifier to examine the savings, offer a great deal of promise," said Probst. "Together, they can address nearly all of the hurdles we have identified."

 

Pegasus upgraded

GL has also released the latest version of its thickness measurement software Pegasus.

To verify the structural integrity of a vessel, hull thickness measurements must be periodically take, with each measurement point documented. The number of required measurement points can number up to 20,000 - all repeatedly measured over the life of the vessel, creating a vast amount of essential data, which must be effectively managed and assessed.

GL developed Pegasus to improve the preparation, recording, assessment, storage and reporting of such measurements. This latest release of Pegasus extends the current hull integrity management package to include combined functionality with the condition monitoring package GL HullManager.

3D models utilised in GL HullManager can be used directly for recording thickness measurements with Pegasus, while thickness measurements recorded with Pegasus can be easily integrated and used in GL HullManager.

The accumulation of an accurate long-term database of thickness measurement results allows more precise scheduling and planning for repairs, as well as predicting future corrosion.

Pegasus 2.0 offers an integrated software solution supporting thickness measurements independent of whether or not a 3D structural model is available. Even partially incomplete 3D structural models are supported by using tabular input for the missing parts.

Independent of which method is used for recording assessments, such as hot spot lists and statistics, reports in IACS format, are presented in a unified manner.

New features in version 2.0 include: integration of 3D model based and table based recording of measurements and assessment functionality, a revised navigation panel, which gives a better overview of the measurement content and program functionality, plus support for table based measurement recording and assessment for bulkers and tankers built according to IACS Common Structural Rules.

First released in 2008, GL Pegasus was introduced for recording thickness measurements to 3D structural models. Two years later, GL Pegasus Lite became a mandatory tool for all GL certified thickness measurement companies.

This tool was able to handle thickness measurements without requiring a 3D structural model of the vessel. Currently, more than 300 GL certified thickness measurement companies use GL Pegasus Lite.

GL Pegasus and GL Pegasus Lite will now be replaced by the integrated version Pegasus 2.0.

At Nor-Shipping 2013, Christian von Oldershausen, GL's Chief Commercial Officer, said that the trend toward building and operating so called ECO-Ships, or highly energy efficient vessels, was irreversible, given the potential cost savings for the maritime industry.

The rise of the ECO-Ship had been questioned, with some suggesting that this focus on efficiency would fade if bunker prices fell.

Von Oldershausen demonstrated how ECOships have substantial cost advantages over existing vessels, which has been borne out in a number of container vessel optimisation projects undertaken throughout the world by GL.

"We believe that ECO-ships are now the norm both today and for the future. With owners seeing the benefits from new tonnage being up to a third more efficient than average existing vessels and customers insisting on better performance, we won't see many ships built that are not designed to minimise their fuel consumption and ecological impact," von Oldershausen said.

Although referring to containerships in his presentation, a GL mainstay, von Oldershausen also thought that the savings that could be made in the tanker sector would not support outright fleet replacement programmes.

Turning to the forthcoming merger with DNV, GL will allocate about 5% of its turnover for research and development and 1% on people development, dispelling any thoughts of slimming down the organisation, the class society said.



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