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Good environmental practices are also good for business

Good environmental practices are also good for business

The discussion of Energy Efficiency- Onboard and Ashore, at today’s Cruise Shipping Miami, moderated by CLIA’s Budd Darr svp of Technical and Regulatory Affairs,  offered a holistic view of how the cruise industry is ‘…doing the right things…’ with concurrent economic benefits.

As the session’s title suggested - developments on shore, including design (and sustainability) of cruise ship terminals, as well as logistics of moving supplies on/waste off, are part of the equation, alongside the onboard efficiencies of powering propulsion and hotel functions.

Darr said that the maritime industry has made great progress in putting energy efficiency protocols in place, and noted that the Cruise Ship Safety Forum (where CLIA cooperates with builders, Class and the cruise lines) has put a solution in front of the IMO regarding LNG storage tanks on cruise vessels.

Speaking to Seatrade Insider, he emphasized, ‘This is our solution to get the cruise industry into the EEDI scheme’.

All of the speakers offered different perspectives on the overarching fact - good environmental practices are also good for business - on multiple levels.

Massport’s Michael Vanderbeek, the deputy port director, stressed that cruise terminals are no longer private company facilities; these days, they are an integral part of communities, and are associated with climate change, providing a broader statement of community values. When perceived as doing the right thing, they will likely garner strong local support, in contrast with objections on grounds of air and water quality.

Richard Pruitt, RCCL’s vice president handling Safety and Environmental Stewardship, talked about his company’s efforts to bring efficiencies to both newbuilds (‘the best time to implement energy saving measures’) but also to retrofits.

Noting that 60% of energy consumed relates to propulsion, he stressed RCCL’s close cooperation and discussion with the big engine suppliers. Detailed study includes optimizing propellers with hull forms, which are then tied to characteristics of specific routings and itineraries, and ‘air lubrication’ (bubbling) systems. No detail is overlooked, he stressed.

Pruitt explained that small efficiencies are gained by grinding down welds, for example.

For RCCL, one area for future improvement will be coaxing additional applications for waste heat recovery, with Pruitt saying, ‘We are looking for the next big application.’

From the engine side, panelist Robert Ollus, of Wartsila, explained the economics of various propulsion options- noting that two stage turbochargers represent, ‘a trend that will not stop, as shipowners seek to squeeze more out of their engines.’

In a notable quote, he opined that ‘Efficiency barriers and meant to be broken’ -  when he discussed recent advances in common rail linkages for fuel injectors and for gas engines (which also have the benefit of eliminating the black smoke from engine starts).

He also commented that even with lowered oil prices, exhaust gas scrubbers are still ‘a seriously good solution’ to high prices of low sulfur fuels - with environmental benefits.  

In the Q&A, the panelists talked about advances in biofuels, which are ‘showing a lot of promise’ according to Darr.

Ollus noted that increasing numbers of diesel engines are already burning processed bio-diesel. The subject turned to upcoming revisions of the ISO 8217 fuel standard, with Darr concluding with the hope that the maritime community will embrace these types of fuels.

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