Implementing energy management systems in shipping – a short introduction to the research project

This blog reports the progress of a research project conducted at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden – “Implementing Energy Management Systems in Shipping”. Related themes are also discussed. The project focuses on understanding and developing best practice for shipping companies who want to become more energy efficient.

An action research approach is taken into implementing an energy management system according to ISO 50001 and the IMO Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) in two Swedish shipping companies – Laurin Maritime and Transatlantic. Part of this research is also DNV, supporting with knowledge from their own energy efficiency projects. The project is financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and will run from 2010-2013. From 2013-2015, the results will be generalized through an expanded project.

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Seminar on business models and energy efficiency in shipping

René Taudal Poulsen, associate professor at Copenhagen Business School, and myself will  talk about energy monitoring practices in shipping companies in an open seminar at the Department of Shipping and Marine Technology at Chalmers, on the 7th of April, 13-15:

It is often said that what gets measured, gets done. When it comes to getting energy efficiency done, shipping companies can choose different ways to measure and assess their energy use. Some methods are more complex and accurate than others. Some increase workload onboard as well as ashore. Some companies introduce systems that are more complex but also decrease workload, freeing up time for improving performance rather than doing paperwork. Some prefer not to invest in crew training and installations onboard at all, as they would rather charter in vessels with crew on a short term basis.

Methods to monitor energy use are now increasingly in the spotlight due to ongoing policy-making processes to abate the climate impact of the shipping sector. The European Commission recently started a process to have all ships making EU-related voyages monitor and report amongst other aspects their energy use. A concurrent discussion is taking place in the IMO. During this seminar, we will discuss why companies choose different means of monitoring, and how this depends on their business model; on what they choose to make and what they choose to buy. We argue that some business models make it much more difficult for shipping companies to work effectively with energy efficiency.

For more info, please click here. If you have any questions, please send me an email.

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1st Swedish Energy Management Research Day

I was at Linköping University on the 3rd of March on the 1st Swedish Energy Management Research Day, hosted by associate professor Patrik Thollander. The overarching purpose of the day was to discuss methods in studying energy efficiency and energy management. Participants represented a wide range of approaches, from quantitative analysis of computer-aided telephone surveys to action research (me). I gave a presentation on reflections on methodology I’d made up to the present when doing research on energy management practice, heavily influenced by Barbara Czarniawska’s course in qualitative field research, UFIS (Ute på Fältet, Inne vid Skrivbordet – roughly From the Field to the Desk), that I had just finished.

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Lunch talk at Kühne Logistics University

I’m speaking tomorrow (5th of February) during lunch at the Kühne Logistics University (KLU). The topic is Understanding energy management practices in shipping companies – an action research approach. Please come by if you’re in the neighborhood. The event is described here.

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New paper: “Barriers to energy efficiency in short sea shipping”

Our paper Barriers to improving energy efficiency in short sea shipping – an action research case study was just accepted for publication in the Journal of Cleaner Production. It is the first case study in a series of articles detailing the results of this research project. The abstract is as follows:

Increased energy efficiency will be paramount in mitigating CO2 emissions from shipping. Paradoxically, previous research has shown that a substantial amount of measures that typically increase energy efficiency, should be cost-efficient to implement. This is often explained in literature in terms of barriers in markets, institutions and organizations. This article is the first of a series of articles from a joint industry project aiming at understanding good energy management practices in shipping companies. It explores barriers to energy efficiency in shipping through a case study of a short sea shipping company in their process to implement an energy management system. An action research design was chosen to contribute to better practice as well as knowledge in the research community. The study shows that work with energy efficiency was not straightforward, and several challenge areas could be discerned: project management capabilities, ship-shore communication, division of responsibilities, access to performance measurements, and competence in energy efficiency. It is proposed that interpretative research methodologies such as action research could contribute to new perspectives on the traditional barrier discourse.

An early version was presented at the International Research Conference on Short Sea Shipping in Lisbon, 2012.

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Low Carbon Shipping 2013, London

I’ll be attending LCS 2013 in September as co-author of the paper Cost-effective choices of shipping fuels and vessel technologies in a carbon-constrained world: Results from the Global Energy Transition (GET) model, together with Maria Taljegård, Maria Grahn, Selma Bengtsson and Karin Andersson.

The LCS conference is held this year jointly with Ship Efficiency: The Event.

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Japanese Forum of Business and Society (JFBS) Conference 2013: CSR and Corporate Governance

My paper Sustainability challenges and business in society – the case of maritime energy efficiency was just accepted for a doctoral student workshop at the 3rd Annual Conference of the Japanese Forum of Business and Society (JFBS) in September. This years theme is CSR and Corporate Governance.

The conference is co-arranged with Humboldt-University Berlin and the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB). It is hosted by the School of Commerce, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.

[Update: the final programme for the doctoral workshop has been posted,  as well as the detailed conference programme. All set for a very interesting day.]

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Behavior Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference 2013

My submission to this year’s Behavior Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference in Sacramento, CA, was just accepted. I’ll be presenting a poster entitled Understanding energy efficiency in shipping through action research, and it will focus on the role of energy auditing to build momentum for effective energy management. Previous conferences seem to have been great events, so I’m really looking forward to this.

In the words of the conference organizers, BECC is “the premier event focused on understanding individual and organizational behavior and decision-making related to energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and sustainability.” It is convened by the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC), Stanford University, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE), University of California.

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Licentiate presentation

My licentiate thesis discussion turned out great. A lot of people showed up, so I ran out of copies of the thesis and had to print a second batch. Patrik Thollander was a very friendly discussion leader. I tried Prezi for the first time for my presentation, check it out below:

The thesis, without the appended papers, is available here. If you are interested in the full thesis in paper, please send me an email with your adress.

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Towards understanding energy efficiency in shipping [updated]

My licentiate thesis is finally finished and uploaded: Towards understanding energy efficiency in shipping. It will be discussed here at Chalmers University of Technology, Lindholmen Campus, house Saga, ground floor, room Alfa, on the 7th of March, 13.00-15.30. Assistant professor Patrik Thollander from Linköping University will lead the seminar. Complete printed versions will be available there. Those of you that have emailed me for a copy will be sent one by mail as soon as it has been printed.

Update: Paper III in the thesis – Will the ship energy efficiency management plan reduce CO2 emissions? A comparison with ISO 50001 and the ISM code -  was just published in Vol. 40, Issue 2 of Maritime Policy & Management. I have a limited number of electronic copies to give out, please email me if you are interested.

The paper was chosen as one of six best papers from the 2012 International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) conference (which had 324 accepted abstracts and roughly 150 accepted papers) with the following motivation:

This sixth paper has been included into this Special Issue, because of its comprehensive digest of current field knowledge into ship gas emissions. Although previous academic papers have dealt well with designing optimization models of ship gas emissions, some have failed to reflect field knowledge of the issues and the current situation and discussions about the topic within the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and shipping industries. The authors of this paper clearly pinpoint a gap between available cost-efficient measures, technically and economically, to improve CO2 efficiency in shipping and actual applicable instruments by ship owners, managers or operators, referring to the SEEMP and Safety Management Systems in shipping, the ISM Code, as well as to the international standard for energy management systems, ISO 50001.

(from Tae-Woo Lee, P. and Cheoing, I. (2012). Guest editorial: Clustering logistics with ports and shipping services in the time of troubled waters and free trade era. Maritime Policy & Management, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 95-99)

Update 2: Corrected some minor mistakes in the thesis, new version in the same link above.

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Education for increasing energy efficiency in shipping

Writing papers is one way of disseminating knowledge, education is another. Last week, myself and Mikael Johansson of DNV had our first meeting on creating a M.Sc. course in Energy management. It will be part of a M.Sc. programme in Maritime Management given here at Chalmers. The course will provide students with the skills they need to audit and improve energy management practices within a shipping company, grounded in a technical and operational understanding of ships and shipping.

The first thing on the agenda is naturally to develop course literature – there is none available. The course itself starts for the first time in Fall 2014, but the plan is to have the book finished by the end of this year. We will be creating a reference and review group during this Fall, and would in the meantime be happy to hear from people in universities and elsewhere who are engaged in similar projects.

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