The shipping company Furetank is making their fleet more environment friendly and sustainable through a range of measures, e.g. adopting LNG (liquid natural gas) as fuel. The new vessels will emit less, reduce climate impact and provide competitive advantage.

”We are convinced that it is possible to make environment-friendly shipping profitable. In 2016, our vessel Fure West was converted to LNG (liquid natural gas) propulsion, and we have more LNG powered new buildings on order”, says Lars Höglund, CEO of the family-owned shipping company Furetank.

”The new ships are more energy efficient and reduce the environmental impact. The investments will contribute both to a better environment and to a sustainable competitive advantage for Swedish shipping”.

Climate-efficient vessels

The Swedish shipping companies Furetank Rederi AB, Älvtank and Thun Tankers have six new LNG powered low emission vessels on order from Avic Dingheng Shipbuilding Ltd. Three of the ships will be owned by Furetank. Photo: Furetank.

”LNG has emerged as a very interesting fuel option. There are several incentives to replace the conventional marine fuel. With liquid natural gas and energy optimized ship design, we are able to cut more than 88 percent of NOx emissions and 99 percent of particulate emissions. Less than 0,1 percent of the acidifying sulphur dioxide emissions remain. Furthermore, fuel economy is improved since bunker consumption is reduced by 40 percent. This lowers the climate impact, since more than half of the carbon dioxide emissions are saved”, Lars Höglund says.

”It is not just a matter of switching to a cleaner fuel, but we are implementing a range of other measures as well. Together with our partners, we have developed ships that live up to both current and future demands:

  • Finding the optimum balance between the propeller speed and the engine load. When the balance is right, efficiency is highest, so we have implemented this on every ship in our fleet, with 20 percent fuel savings as the result.
  • Frequency controlled motors supply a constant power from the shaft generator to different loads, allowing the propeller to be used efficiently.
  • Battery backup (UPS) for all vital functions to minimize use of auxiliary engines.
  • Other fuel saving measures include optimizing the hull for the typical operating speed and draft, and adopting a certain rudder design; with efficient rudder control, resistance and fuel consumption is reduced.
  • Enclosing the propeller with a nozzle improves the efficiency about 25 percent at lower speeds. This allows our ships to be assigned the highest ice class without having to install more powerful main engines than are needed otherwise.
  • Ship infrastructure is environmentally adapted, by means of energy-efficient ventilation, heat recovery from exhaust gas and cooling water, and low energy lighting.
  • The ballast water cleaning system operates entirely without chemical additives”.

”Fuel is important, of course – but the environmental advantage is the combined effect of many measures, large and small”, Lars Höglund says.

Lack of encouragement

Many factors need to be considered to make a ship climate efficient, such as fuel choice, fuel economy and energy efficiency measures, says Lars Höglund, CEO at Furetank. Illustration: Furetank.

”Clean technology investments are not always encouraged by the market or the authorities. It would be better if toll, pilotage and fairway fees were differentiated depending on health and climate impact. High emission vessels will remain in operation until they are. The fact that the Swedish Maritime Administration is required to turn a profit acts as a disincentive to removing the fees; there are political solutions of course, but we are not there yet. Another obstacle is the lack of LNG bunker terminals in the Baltic Sea region. There are currently only two permanent facilities available, one in Finland and one in Norway”.

”If climate-efficient vessels were given a certain competitive advantage, much of the maritime transports in the Baltic could be handled by the twelve LNG ships ordered by Swedish shipping companies. That would be a good contribution towards the goals of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, aiming to restore the Baltic marine environment”, Lars Höglund says.

”There is an abundance of great greentech solutions that aren’t implemented yet on vessels in our waters. The potential for improvement is huge, and our technology investments prove it. We want to reduce climate impact and make a contribution to a cleaner future. It would be good if the market and the authorities rewarded such ambitions more clearly, of course”, Lars Höglund says.

The article was published in September 2017.