The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the driving force behind many initiatives to help combat air pollution and make shipping cleaner and greener
By Davide Ippolito, Head of Marine Group Product Management, Hempel A/S
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the driving force behind many initiatives to help combat air pollution and make shipping cleaner and greener. Many tanker owners have already entered the race to meet IMO’s longer-term vision to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2050, against 2008 baselines. Currently there is no commercially viable, widely available and sustainable long-term fuelling solution to assist shipowners in meeting these 2050 GHG emissions requirements. As such, many shipowners, operators and managers are looking at the most viable interim measures for reducing fuel use, and therefore lowering emissions and managing fuel costs.
Slowly but surely
Though not without its drawbacks in terms of emissions, some prudent owners, operators and managers are looking to utilise slow steaming as a pragmatic approach to reducing fuel emissions over the coming years. This operational practice of moving at a slower speed, widely adopted by tanker owners in 2008 following the financial crisis, reduces fuel requirements therefore lowers fuel emissions. But this only works properly if the vessel is adequately equipped to operate efficiently at a slower speed. Protecting the vessel’s hull with a coating solution developed to optimise vessel performance when moving at slow speed or when idle is therefore essential.
Most hull coatings today are designed to reduce the hydrodynamic drag caused by micro and macro fouling. By making the hull as smooth as possible and by preventing the build-up of marine organisms, the vessel will move through the water with minimal resistance. It is more cost efficient to apply an effective hull coating from the outset and avoid the extra fuel costs incurred by countering the drag caused by fouling. However, owners should work with their coatings manufacturer to select a coatings system that is designed to protect vessels when idle or moving slowly. Otherwise, any savings made from the lower fuel bill will likely be mitigated by the impact of increased hull fouling and resistance – which, in simple terms, requires vessels to burn more fuel.
A lick of paint
Hempel, the worldwide coatings manufacturer, has over 100 years’ experience in marine coatings and is a pioneer in coating technology. Currently there are three principal technologies being used to combat fouling; antifouling paints, fouling release coatings and fouling defence coatings.
Antifouling paints are chemically active polishing coatings which act on marine organisms by inhibiting or limiting their settlement on a ship’s surface. Fouling release paints are non-chemically active coatings which prevent or reduce an organism’s adhesion by physical means, such as through the creation of an exceptionally smooth hull. Fouling defence coatings, a relatively new coating system, take the best of both technologies to achieve outstanding fouling prevention by combining ultra-smoothness with only a small fraction of the active ingredients used in the antifouling paints. Each technology offers specific benefits.
Earlier this year Hempel launched a new antifouling coating – Globic 7000 – that has been specifically designed to deliver effective protection for up to 60 months. It incorporates an optimum biocide mix to guard against both hard and soft fouling. This delivers an improved performance against slime and algae so is suitable for wide operational conditions including slow steaming and long idle periods. This coating delivers 4.5% fuel savings over a 60-month docking interval compared to a market average antifouling.
While the race is on to meet the IMO’s 2050 vision it would be fair to say it is more of a marathon than a sprint when it comes to finding a sustainable fuelling solution for the shipping industry. By using the right hull coating in conjunction with slow steaming, other technologies and operational strategies to reduce fuel consumption, tanker owners can make significant progress in the meantime.
Globic 7000 at a glance:
Reinforced with patented microfibres for best-in-class mechanical strength to avoid cracking and peeling, significantly reducing maintenance costs in drydock.