Since a month back, I am a “visiting researcher” at the Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI). I took a course here in 2013 for Professor Barbara Czarniawska, found it a very nice place, and now I’m here to finish writing my dissertation, participate in seminars etc. I held a presentation on my own on the 31st of March entitled “Tell an engineer to read books? It was quite a shock.”
Yesterday I presented a recent paper written by Linda Styhre and myself, on the possibilities for increasing energy efficiency in short sea shipping through increasing port efficiency, at a seminar in Stockholm organized by Lighthouse. The title of my presentation was “Reduce time in port to slow steam while at sea – win-win or in nobody’s interest?”
The whole thing was actually filmed and can be seen here (slides in English, presentation in Swedish).
I’ve given some presentations recently, first on Transportforum on “Shipping companies’ strategies to improve energy efficiency – From now to 2050″ in Linköping, a Swedish national transport conference. Available here, in Swedish: Transportforum – Hannes Johnson.
I also presented my M.Sc. course in Maritime Energy Management at the 16th DNV-GL NMU Workshop. Available here: DNVGL – Hannes Johnson.
Our study of port efficiency from the perspective of a short sea shipping operator and the potential for using decreased time in port to go slower at sea has finally been accepted in Transportation Research Part A – Policy and Practice. The paper, written together with Linda Styhre of IVL, is entitled simply “Increased energy efficiency in short sea shipping through decreased time in port” and has the following abstract: According to a range of assessments, there exists a large cost-effective potential to increase energy efficiency in shipping through reduced speed at sea enabled by shorter time in port. This means that the energy needed can be reduced whilst maintaining the same transport service. However, the fact that a large cost-effective potential has been identified that is not being harnessed by decision-makers in practice suggests that there is more to this potential to understand. In this paper, the possibilities for increasing energy efficiency by reducing waiting time in port are explored and problematised through a case study of a short sea bulk shipping company transporting dry bulk goods mainly in the North and Baltic seas. Operational data from two ships in the company’s fleet for one year showed that the ships spent more than 40% of their time in ports and that half of the time in port was not productive. The two most important reasons for the large share of unproductive time were that ports were closed on nights and weekends and that ships arrived too early before the stevedores were ready to load or unload the cargo. Reducing all of the unproductive time may be difficult, but the results also show that even a conservative estimate of one to four hours of reduced time per port call would lead to a reduction in energy use of 2-8%. From in-depth interviews with employees of the shipping company, ports and ship agencies, a complex picture is painted when attempting to understand how this potential arises. Aspects such as a lack of effective ship-shore-port communication, little time for ship operators, an absence of means for accurately predicting energy use of voyages as a function of speed, perceived risk of arriving too late, and relationships with third-party technical management may all play a role. A link will be posted as soon as it has been made available by the publisher. [Edit: article now available here, open access!]
How do shipping companies that are great at energy efficiency do it? I’ve written before about how this is an unchartered area in education (and I’d say still largely unchartered in research). About two years ago, I was asked to start drafting a course on this topic for a new M.Sc. programme in Maritime Management. That course has finally materialized and is now into its second week here at Chalmers.
The course is divided into three parts. First, the students will familiarize themselves with climate change science and policy – the global processes as well as those centered on shipping (EU, IMO) – and the role of energy efficiency in mitigating GHG emissions. The goal is thus for students to understand the societal need for greater energy efficiency in shipping. Dr. Charlotte Billgren of the Swedish Transport Agency will also provide students with a guest lecture on the diplomatic negotiations in the EU and the IMO – to get an appreciation for the work behind final regulations. This part of the course will be tested through a home exam.
The second part consists of lectures on energy efficiency in shipping companies. This part of the course has been modeled after the consultancy work of DNV-GL, where energy efficiency is typically divided into six parts – voyage performance management, ship performance management, fuel (bunkering) management, main and auxiliary engine, secondary energy users (boilers, pumps, fans etc.), and overall organization and management. Mikael Johansson of DNV-GL in Gothenburg has produced some great course literature for this part of the course.
The final and perhaps most important part of the course is the student projects. Energy efficiency in shipping companies is a rather new field of practice and companies have different approaches based on their resources, business models, competence, interests etc. Rather than having a final exam, the students will perform small projects in groups at Swedish shipping companies. I’ve had discussion meetings with Stena Line, Wallenius Marine and Laurin Maritime, and we were not lost for project ideas. Out of twelve project concepts, we’ve chosen four for this year’s course. They all revolve around understanding the role of the ship crew in energy efficient ship operations.
Projects will be presented here at Chalmers Lindholmen campus on the 16th of January 2015. I’ll post about this again, but please send me an email if you are interested in coming.
This paper, just published in Environmental Science & Technology, is the result of a collaborative project between the Maritime Environment research group (to which I belong) and the Division of Physical Resource Theory at Chalmers. My own contribution to this paper was limited – it was mostly discussing, reading, and some writing. The actual modeling work was done by Maria Taljegård (as a continuation of her excellent M.Sc. thesis), Selma Brynolf and Maria Grahn. But I mention it here anyway; it is a very nice paper. Abstract below:
The regionalized Global Energy Transition model has been modified to include a more detailed shipping sector in order to assess what marine fuels and propulsion technologies might be cost-effective by 2050 when achieving an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 400 or 500 ppm by the year 2100. The robustness of the results was examined in a Monte Carlo analysis, varying uncertain parameters and technology options, including the amount of primary energy resources, the availability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, and costs of different technologies and fuels. The four main findings are: (i) it is cost-effective to start the phase out of fuel oil from the shipping sector in the next decade; (ii) natural gas-based fuels (liquefied natural gas and fossil methanol) are the most probable substitutes during the study period; (iii) availability of CCS, the CO2 target, liquefied natural gas tank cost and potential oil resources affect marine fuel choices significantly; and (iv) biofuels rarely play a major role in the shipping sector, due to limited supply and competition for bioenergy from other energy sectors.
The council for the Swedish Energy Agency’s research programme “Energy efficiency in the transport sector” just visited Chalmers. Being funded 100% by this programme, I made a presentation of main research results as well as some unplanned spin-offs (the M.Sc. course in energy management, the project on speed reductions due to increased port efficiency, cooperation with Copenhagen Business School, etc.), and some research ideas for the future.