Improving Efficiencies Is the Most Effective Way to Meet Maritime Carbon Regulations, says Shipping Startup 13 Mari

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Fleet owners will benefit more from improving fuel efficiencies now, instead of waiting for a “silver bullet” in alternative fuel, in order to meet shipping industry CO2 emission regulations.

Kearny, New Jersey, May 20, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As of 2022, international shipping accounts for 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally, resulting in a push towards decarbonization of the shipping industry, spearheaded by various international regulations that are being phased in over the next few years.

Among these regulations include the International Maritime Organization’s Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and the annual operational carbon intensity indicator (CII). Since the beginning of 2023, it has become mandatory for all ships to calculate their attained Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) to measure their energy efficiency and to initiate the collection of data for the reporting of their annual operational carbon intensity indicator (CII) and CII rating. These rating systems require the ships in a fleet to be below the curve by 2030 and by 2050, reach net zero emissions.

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Meanwhile, large ships using ports in the European Union are subject to the EU’s Emissions Trading System. The system covers 50% of greenhouse gas emissions from voyages beginning or ending at an EU port, and 100% of emissions if both origin and destination are within the EU.

Despite these requirements and others gradually taking effect, industry observers have noted that shipping investors are not pushing as hard as needed towards decarbonizing the industry. This may be because of misaligned incentives within the industry and how it operates, such as the time charter agreement between shipowner and the operator.

On the other hand, a number of companies are looking at alternative fuel sources for cargo ships, such as methanol, ammonia, hydrogen fuel cells, and nuclear energy. While using these fuels may indeed greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there are major supply chain issues attached to adopting these systems. For example, using ammonia entails major infrastructure changes, not only on the ship, but on ports and refueling systems.

According to Krassi Fotev, Founder of 13 Mari, a shipping industry startup dedicated to ship tuning solutions, for such a change to make a measurable impact on a global level, virtually every port worldwide has to be modified to accommodate ammonia-powered ships.

“If we’re talking about a major global change, that includes regulatory aspects, infrastructure, and supply chain issues on top of the modifications you need to make to the ship,” Krassi says. “It’s not just shipowners who need to make investments, but also governments and other parties involved. Massive changes need to be made when adopting a different fuel system. And, because there’s no global agreement on which type of new fuel to concentrate on, there are so many different options being trialed.”

Furthermore, the focus on adopting greener fuels may lead to ignoring the overall environmental impact, as carbon emissions don’t just come from burning the fuel but also from almost everywhere across the supply chain.

According to Krassi, a more realistic and effective way for ships to meet carbon emission regulations today is to improve their efficiency, resulting in less fuel consumed. There are several ways to improve a ship’s efficiency, such as improving drag, engine performance, and propeller design, using better routing solutions, installing sails, and using a smart management system so that ships can sail at optimum speed. Many of these solutions can be applied simultaneously, and these marginal improvements add up and allow modern ships to stay below the curve.

Among the tuning solutions available for ships are 13 Mari Elements, which use the simplicity of ripple-shaped composite elements installed on the ship’s hull, leveraging existing technologies to enhance the flow and efficiency of maritime vessels. According to academic estimations, the physical effect that 13 Mari is trying to exploit could, in theory, reach a maximum of 24% in drag reduction. 13 Mari has already achieved 7% drag reduction in the towing tank and is working every day to get closer to the limit by improving the optimization of the hulls shape, through the use of its innovative technology.

Krassi says that most of these efficiency improvements are fuel-agnostic, meaning that they can be used on ships regardless of fuel, resulting in cost savings all around. With most cargo ships having a fixed lifespan before being retired, improving efficiency now on existing ships will allow fleet owners and operators to adhere to carbon emission regulations and reduce their negative environmental impact.

“Investing in improving the efficiency of current ships brings a lot of benefits, allowing fleets to meet regulations without having to go into drastic modifications or waiting for a silver bullet,” he adds. “When the time comes to buy new ships, and alternative fuel sources are available, then fleet owners can switch over at no loss. And, in the meantime, they managed to release a lot less emissions than if they did nothing.”

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Name: Krassi Fotev

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