RMC’s talent team wins international Intelligence Hunt competition – What can we learn from them?
Mika Laurilehto, CSO, Rauma Marine Constructions
The marine industries are facing an enormous challenge: How do companies fulfil the tightening standards of emission regulations while responding to freight forwarders´ and customers’ increasing environmental awareness? And how do they do all this profitably? These are burning questions especially for shipping companies and therefore also for us shipbuilders.
Solutions for cutting emissions from marine transport are already available. This was demonstrated by our talent team of five that won the Intelligence Hunt competition organised by SeaFocus International. The finals were held at the end of January.
The talent team, consisting of students, were assigned by RMC to decarbonise shortsea shipping and came up with a concrete solution for the benefit of everyone in the marine industry.
An emission-free vessel would pay off in less than nine years
In their study, the team looked into the standards set by regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that shipping companies will have to meet, and developed a feasible solution for meeting them. The goal was to create an integrated solution that would cover the vessel, the route, the fuel and the power source.
The talent team presented a solution where a vessel would operate between Lake Saimaa, Finland, and St Petersburg, Russia, transporting both passengers and cargo. There is demand for new logistic solutions along the route and growth potential as timber trade between Finland and Russia increases.
The vessel would make use of technology that’s already available, and it would be practically emission-free: two electric propulsion motors would be powered by five hydrogen fuel cells or, alternatively, by batteries. In addition, the vessel would have optimised transportation volumes so that more cargo and passengers could be transported while consuming less energy.
According to the team’s calculations, the vessel would pay off in less than nine years.
The greatest challenge in decarbonisation is not the technology
The jury, which consisted of distinguished international experts in marine industries, found the team’s work impressive – for good reason. The team’s study showed that shipping companies can indeed already fulfil the requirements of emission regulations profitably.
The central strength of the talent team’s solution is that it can be scaled for other routes.
In discussions around alternative, carbon neutral fuels, shipping companies tend to point out that the distribution network is insufficient. From energy companies’ point of view, low demand is a problem. Our talent team found a way to balance the equation with short, regular routes and vessels operating in coastal waters: they create demand and support the profitability of investments into the production of energy, favouring local players no matter where in the world they are operating.
The fuel solution alone will not make the solution profitable, because the vessel presented by the team can’t be multiplied as such. Instead, each vessel must be tailored in the design and construction phases to be optimal for the route it will operate. To achieve this, top experts in shipbuilding are needed. They can integrate various innovative solutions, developed by their partners, and enable their use in practice.
The talent team presented more than extravagant visions. They offered a realistic, integrated solution that can be implemented immediately. However, no single player can do it alone.
We can all learn something from our international talent team’s achievement: The technology for decarbonising marine transport already exists. What we need now is collaboration between companies and the public sector, and across industries and geographic borders.