Over the last years the increasingly restrictive environmental policies in the maritime sector (MARPOL, ECAs, SECAs …) and the volatility of conventional fuel prices have triggered initiatives to improve emission levels and energy efficiency in maritime transport. These initiatives include the development and use of new fuels and more efficient propulsion systems that reduce the environmental impact generated by the different activities associated with the maritime sector (Transport, Fishing, Services, etc.) while reducing operating costs.
From the technological point of view, the introduction of new fuels such as Natural Gas (CNG, LNG) and electric propulsion systems are gradually changing the current scenario. An example of this is the new Ro-Ro ship “Auto Eco” from UECC, powered by LNG, which since December 2016 began to berth weekly in the Port of Vigo. Optimization of accumulation systems, compressed and liquefied gas, batteries and the design of the new propulsive plants are the main problems to be addressed. Besides, the lack of supply infrastructures and the lack of information about existing infrastructure are additional barriers.
Historically, the maritime sector has been slower in adapting changes and innovations than other sectors. Technological advance is further hampered by the lack of knowledge and awareness among the legislative bodies at regional, national, and international level. This creates an environment of uncertainty that is particularly problematic given the industry requirement to register and certify all equipment with the maritime classification societies.
Training and educating staff with new equipment and advanced technologies is also complicated by these circumstances since it is unknown which technologies and equipment will be approved or not, and under which regulative conditions. From professional training schools (merchant seafarers, technicians, naval engineers, etc.) to ship-owners, operators and even technical staff from different administrations (inspectors), the inability to acquire practical knowledge in this area is another important barrier.
The Effivessel Project is an initiative to tackle many of these obstacles to new clean solutions in the maritime industry. It is dedicated to the following issues:
- Development of specific reference legislation (national and international) as a facilitating tool for the advancement and application of new technologies.
- Cross-border technology transfer between the different entities involved in the sector.
- Development of training plans adapted to the different profiles that constitute the sector.
- Development of practical training that facilitates and promotes knowledge:
- Practical training on new fuels / conventional propulsion (MCI): propulsion systems based on internal combustion engines (Dedicated and Dual fuel) and storage and supply of new fuels (CNG, LNG).
- Practical training on new propulsion systems: electric propulsion systems, accumulation in batteries, new fuels (CNG / LNG) in electric propulsion systems (generators).
- Analysis of the port infrastructures of the Atlantic Area that allows obtaining action plans to improve the supply facilities.
In order to make this initiative a reality, this project proposal has been submitted to the European call for proposals entitled “Interreg Atlantic Area 2016”, which is financed by ERDF funds. Effivessel Project partners’ consortium is composed by the following public and private entities originating from 5 European countries of the so-called Atlantic Area:
- Autoridad Portuaria de Vigo (Project leader; Spain)
- Inova Labs (Spain)
- EnergyLab (Spain)
- Politécnico Marítimo Pesqueiro do Atlántico de Vigo (Spain)
- Port of Dublin (Ireland)
- Escola Superior Náutica Infante D. Henrique (Portugal)
- University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)
- Ecole Nationale Supériere Maritime (France)
Additionally, the following entities act as supporting collaborators in the Effivessel project:
- Asociación de Armadores de Vigo (ARVI; Spain)
- Asociación Clúster Naval de Galicia (ACLUNAGA; Spain)
- Asociación Ibérica de Gas Natural para la Movilidad (GASNAM; Spain)
- Bureau Veritas
- Direção Geral de Recursos Naturais, Segurança e Serviços Marítimos (Portugal)