New pay-per-use equipment as a service model will be offered on AI-, IoT-based smart scrubber and other clean tech to lower operating costs and increase efficiency, says Ecospray chief executive Stefano Di Santo
When it comes to the price tag for decarbonisation, you cannot blame shipowners if they have sticker shock. To cut greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by 50% by 2050, shipowners will invest an estimated US$1.65Tn over the next 30 years. Compounding the path to decarbonisation is that the carbon-neutral fuels and the technologies to use those fuels are not yet commercialised.
“Given the complexity of the topic, the whole shipping industry is pondering the right path,” Ecospray Technologies chief executive Stefano Di Santo told Marine Propulsion. “Currently, there is no ready-to-market solution we can use to tackle the decarbonisation challenge.” But Mr Di Santo believes the successful path starts by creating partnerships to spur “innovation, research and collaboration.”
A leader in marine emission cleaning technology and part of Carnival Corp since 2013, Italy’s Ecospray Technologies has increasingly focused on developing and commercialising disruptive technologies for reducing emissions and lowering fuel consumption in the marine sector.
This disruptive, ‘Industry 4.0’ approach is evident in its smart scrubber. While exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) are not new, the smart scrubber is an IoT-based system, optimised using artificial intelligence to lower operating costs and increase efficiency. The smart scrubber is an outgrowth of a partnership with Berlin-based IT specialist relayr.
“We will complete the installation of smart scrubbers on board three different types of ship – cruise, cargo and ferry – aiming to start a six-month data collection, allowing the AI to begin its machine learning process,” said Mr Di Santo.
Besides tackling industry technological hurdles, Mr Di Santo noted that Ecospray is addressing the financial ones, too. “The smart scrubber could be soon coupled with a new financial tool too, called IMO Warranty. Together with AI and the equipment as a service (EaaS) model, based on a pay-per-use offering, the IMO Warranty will ensure fuel savings for the shipowner, even in case of non-availability or non-compliance with the EGCS,” he said.
Shipboard carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as a promising technology for advancing shipping’s decarbonisation efforts, with scrubber technology playing a role in its development.
“This is exactly the technology we are investing in. We believe that CCS and EGCS is the most viable solution we can develop, with a high success rate, that is measurable and boasts certain benefits,” he said.
For over a year, Ecospray has been collaborating with academia and research institutes on developing its ‘carbon-friendly fuel cell’. Powered by hydrogen or methane, the fuel cell “is unique, as it reduces costs and environmental impact, coupling carbon capture with energy production simultaneously,” said Mr Di Santo. He believes it will be ready in 2023.
He said the carbon-friendly fuel cell aims to be “an answer to the problem by using the combined effect of carbon capture and power generation.” He pointed out that such technology represents “only one piece of a bigger puzzle,” requiring logistics and port management to transport and dispose of the captured CO2.
“Being able to capture and store CO2 on board will require a global network of operators who are capable of receiving, storing, and selling the final product,” he said.
As shipping moves towards its 2050 decarbonisation target date, Ecospray’s business model will be based on delivering technologies as a service, and new products – including fuel cells and CCS, “as well as technologies that turn waste into a resource, enhancing the value of discarded low-concentration methane and producing heat and power from landfill lean gas,” explained Mr Di Santo. “All our technologies are designed to achieve the zero-emissions target. This is because Ecospray has a clear vision in mind: to make clean energy a reality.”