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How to achieve energy efficiency excellence

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Hans Merten Stein Hans Merten Stein
Head of Shipping Advisory

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In a competitive market, energy efficiency is high on the agenda of every shipping company. And as fuel prices will most likely rise again, shipping companies cannot afford to leave this stone unturned. On paper, they already do so, since every vessel of more than 400 GT has to have a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) on board. Yet, only few achieve the savings they could reap in practice.
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  • Keywords: Maritime

There are so many factors influencing the performance of a vessel that many shipping companies find it challenging to determine where to start and how to continue. Not every possible optimization measure makes sense in every instance, and it takes knowledge and experience to identify the most promising parameters to address. 

Acknowledging that too many owners, managers and operators struggle with selecting the right set of technical and operational optimization measures to realize the greatest possible savings potential, DNV GL has enhanced its proven Energy Management approach and supporting toolkit. “With our Energy Management 3.0 advisory service, we help the customer design and implement a comprehensive strategy that will take their current energy management to the next level – and save fuel,” explains Merten Stein, Head of Shipping Advisory Germany at DNV GL ‒ Maritime. “Especially medium-sized and large fleet owners, managers and operators can improve their energy management significantly.” 

The proven advisory approach follows a basic three-step process: 

  1. Analysis of the ship specifics, the operating profile and the existing energy management system to identify the most promising and feasible improvement areas. 
  2. Design of an energy management concept, including a strategy, specific measures and targets, the organizational implications, a monitoring and reporting concept, a change management concept, and quick wins.
  3. Coordination and monitoring of the implementation, providing supporting tools and defining relevant procedures. This step also includes support in achieving behavioural change among the client’s staff and firmly embedding energy management in the corporate culture.

Finally, regular validation of the implementation status of the energy management system, monitoring the effects on the ship’s operating costs, and identifying potential additional measures in a continuous improvement process ensures real impact.

DNV GL has helped numerous owners, managers and charterers achieve significant savings along this path. Merten Stein points out: “Often many smaller measures add up to substantial savings. Taking a holistic approach by combining these measures to deliver the greatest possible benefit is key.”

Implementing best-in-class energy management

Euronav, a global leader in the crude oil tanker market, had identified fuel efficiency management as a key instrument for strengthening their market position and financial performance. DNV GL reviewed the existing fuel saving regime, then prepared a comprehensive list of technical and operational fuel saving measures. A tailored set of key measures was allocated to each tanker, with a focus on low-cost operational improvements, especially staff awareness, buy-in and co-operation. Furthermore, the company’s organizational set-up, job descriptions, operational procedures, energy management policy and processes, and SEEMPs were updated, and the cornerstones of a performance management system were established based on tanker industry best-practices. 

Stamatis Bourboulis, the General Manager of Euronav Ship Management Hellas, confirms: “DNV GL’s advisory team helped us advance in terms of Energy Management: They combined management techniques and technical insights and provided both, the structure and the expertise we needed to pave the ground for fuel savings.”

Performance management support and e-learning

For “K” Line, which operates a fleet of more than 500 vessels, DNV GL prepared recommendations regarding strategy, organizational setup, roles and responsibilities, reporting and monitoring, continuous improvement as well as implementation of specific optimization measures. Improvement input for existing performance management dashboards supporting real-time transparency of main indicators and performance drivers were provided to enable management to take ship-specific fuel-saving action. In addition, DNV GL adapted its Maritime Academy’s proven e-learning solution to "K" Line’s specific needs. The programme successfully raised crew awareness, educating and motivating the seafarers to focus on saving fuel.

“We received comprehensive support from DNV GL to strengthen our Energy Management function – from reviewing the status quo and defining new solutions up to rolling out fuel-saving measures across our fleet. For roll-out we used DNV GL’s e-learning tool which was adapted to our specific requirements and helped us reach more than 2,000 seafarers globally while saving fuel,” says Joichi Sasaki, the Associate Director in charge of Energy Management & Advanced Technology.

Fuel saving potential

Practical experience has shown that significant fuel savings can be achieved across all ship types, depending on ship type and the sophistication of the customer’s systems. For a bulk carrier, for example, the savings potential adds up to 7–13.5 per cent in ship operations alone. A proven measure in this field is voyage execution and charter planning, and in particular, speed and route optimization as well as fuel efficiency incentives in the charter party. 

Another 5–10 per cent can often be gained by optimizing the ship’s condition: Advanced condition monitoring, defining the best hull and propeller cleaning intervals, and choosing the right coating can improve hull performance substantially. Monitoring engine performance and operations, including the auxiliary engines, typically results in another 1.5–5 per cent in savings (see table below). 

Energy Management 3.0 for bodytext 

With more than 1,600 prepared SEEMPs, 500 ship energy management audits and 80 energy projects carried out for customers around the world, DNV GL has the practical experience required to deliver custom-tailored support to shipping companies across all segments.