Super-Efficient Bulker Set to Slash Emissions and Costs

New Kamsarmax Design by Kongsberg and Deltamarin Promises 40-50% Emissions Reduction and 50% Fuel Savings

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An 82,000 dwt bulk carrier, collaboratively designed by Kongsberg Maritime and the Finnish ship design firm Deltamarin, promises to revolutionize the maritime industry with its innovative approach to carbon intensity indicator (CII) compliance and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The new vessel, often referred to as the ‘Super-Efficient Bulker’, is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40-50% from the outset, positioning it as a trailblazer in sustainable shipping technology.

The Kamsarmax bulker, a versatile and widely favored size among dry bulk operators, is tailored for global trade. This new design incorporates advanced energy-saving features alongside pioneering technologies developed by Kongsberg and Deltamarin. The vessel’s fuel costs are projected to be slashed by approximately 50%, representing a substantial economic advantage.

The advanced design comes at a premium, costing about $10 million more than a conventional Kamsarmax bulker. However, the partners assert that the additional investment will be recuperated within approximately five years, based on average charter rates. Oskar Levander, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Kongsberg Maritime, unveiled the details of this groundbreaking bulk carrier during a presentation in Oslo.

Central to the vessel’s efficiency are three tiltable Norsepower rotor sails and two bound4blue suction sails, which together optimize wind energy utilization. Additional features include an air lubrication system, a controllable pitch propeller, a hybrid shaft generator with frequency control, and an intelligent energy management system. These innovations are designed to not only enhance fuel efficiency but also ensure long-term compliance with evolving maritime regulations, even when using conventional marine fuels.

Levander highlighted that the bulker will have a broader beam compared to traditional vessels of this size, enhancing the effectiveness of air bubbles under the hull. This design choice, along with a slightly reduced design speed (one knot less than similar ships), aims to conserve fuel, reduce emissions, and lower maintenance costs. This holistic design approach underscores the vessel’s potential to meet future regulatory requirements.

The significance of such advancements extends beyond this single vessel, prompting questions about the potential for similar innovations across various ship types to achieve comparable emissions reductions. Levander emphasized the considerable challenges shipowners face in adhering to stricter regulations, noting that while low-carbon fuels are an option, many prefer to maintain the use of conventional fuels. The objective was to create a vessel that could meet anticipated CII regulations over its entire operational life through the implementation of advanced energy-saving technologies.

In financial terms, the new design is expected to generate cumulative operating cost savings of EUR 37 million, with fuel cost reductions ranging from 30-65%, depending on trading routes and ship operations. For instance, an analysis of a route between Rotterdam and Sept-Iles in Canada demonstrated a potential fuel consumption reduction of around 40%. Additional savings could be realized through precise scheduling of departures and arrivals and optimal utilization of wind propulsion devices.

Levander described the project as a revelation, illustrating the transformative impact of combining advanced technologies to achieve substantial cost savings and emissions reductions. The short payback period of five years makes this vessel an attractive investment for shipowners aiming to cut costs and meet future compliance targets.

The unveiling of the ‘Super-Efficient Bulker’ reflects a broader trend within the maritime industry towards sustainable practices and innovative technologies. Historical precedents, such as the adoption of double-hull designs following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, demonstrate the industry’s capacity to evolve in response to environmental challenges. Similarly, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 sulfur cap, which significantly reduced permissible sulfur emissions from ships, marked a pivotal moment in maritime regulation, driving technological advancements and operational changes.

The collaboration between Kongsberg and Deltamarin represents a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to enhance the sustainability of maritime operations. As the industry continues to grapple with stringent environmental regulations and the imperative to reduce carbon footprints, such innovative designs are likely to become increasingly prevalent, heralding a new era of eco-friendly maritime transport.

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