: Marine and offshore industry sets course for decarbonisation
FROM shipbuilders to fuel suppliers, Singapore’s maritime industry is charting a course towards a low-carbon economy, in line with the Republic’s international commitments.
As a member of the International Maritime Organization, Singapore is aligned with the group’s goals of cutting carbon-dioxide emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Local decarbonisation moves include a target for the harbour craft and pleasure craft sectors to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, set by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore in March.
“With these clear commitments put forth by Singapore, local companies are now paying greater attention to the impact of sustainability (on) their bottom lines and business resilience than before,” said Taufik Ahmed Faroock, Enterprise Singapore’s (EnterpriseSG) director of marine and offshore as well as energy and chemicals.
Some are expanding or diversifying their energy use to include low-carbon fuels and renewable sources, while others are supporting the generation, storage or transport of such greener sources, he added.
EnterpriseSG estimates that more than 100 Singapore marine and offshore engineering (M&OE) companies are participating in, or exploring, projects in maritime decarbonisation and offshore renewables.
Strategic Marine: Setting sail for sustainability
Specialist shipbuilder Strategic Marine is making waves in the maritime industry with its green vessels.
In March, it launched South-east Asia’s first hybrid crew-transfer vessel, which is propelled by both conventional diesel-powered engines and batteries. These vessels transport personnel to offshore wind facilities; the company’s other product line of fast crew boats is deployed in the oil and gas industry.
Both vessel lines are designed to consume less fuel and emit less carbon. For instance, active interceptors – small plates attached to the back of a ship – help the vessels move through water with less resistance and thus consume less fuel.
The hybrid propulsion system also stores excess energy – generated by the main engines while the ship is in operation – in batteries. This can later be used for propulsion.
Chief executive officer Chan Eng Yew said: “It’s about layers upon layers of technology that we overlay onto our product line that help cut carbon emissions.”
Strategic Marine has sold four crew-transfer vessels to a UK-based operator and produced one fast crew boat, with two more under construction.
Its ships are also equipped with a “green passport” for safe ship recycling. This is an international document that provides information on potentially hazardous materials used in the construction of the ship, its equipment and systems.
When a ship is dismantled, the recycling facility can refer to the green passport on how to properly dispose of these hazardous substances and reuse valuable materials.
Apart from building low-emissions ships, the company has also reduced its carbon footprint in upskilling employees.
Through augmented reality technology, trainees can learn how to don a welding mask, wield a welding gun, and weld a metallic joint without physically doing so. This reduces the emissions and consumption of materials associated with traditional welding training.
Recycling is part of day-to-day operations too, said Chan. “We are very conscious of recycling all our products, whether it’s from vendors or our aluminium products and even our wooden pallets – everything is basically recycled.”
C-LNG Solutions: Cleaner fuel supplies for ships
Founded in 2020 by engineers with experience in offshore oil and gas, C-LNG provides cleaner alternative fuel-supply systems for ships – such as the liquefied natural gas (LNG) from which it takes its name.
It has patented its own type-C LNG storage tank, which is more cost-efficient than conventional type-A, type-B or membrane tanks.
Using this technology, C-LNG has delivered two large-scale LNG fuel-supply systems for vessels with a capacity of 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) each. These vessels are operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world’s largest container shipper.
This year, it also completed the world’s largest container-vessel retrofit project, fitting a 3,260 TEU vessel with an LNG fuel-supply system.
While LNG is relatively cleaner, it is chiefly a transition fuel for the M&OE industry, as it still results in carbon emissions. The leakage of methane contained in LNG also threatens to exacerbate global warming.
But these problems can be solved by technology, C-LNG’s president Sunny Xu told BT. For example, the industry is already capable of producing synthetic LNG, which is carbon-neutral.
Nonetheless, recognising that clients may have different demands and preferences, C-LNG provides a range of clean-energy options, such as ammonia, methanol and carbon-capture systems.
“There is no one single fuel that can dominate the market in the future,” said Xu.
Low-carbon fuels are a major trend in the industry’s decarbonisation, noted EnterpriseSG’s Taufik. Another is offshore wind, with more than 20 local companies having pivoted to this.
In pursuit of cleaner options, C-LNG undertakes in-house research with its 12-person engineering team in Singapore. Supported by EnterpriseSG, the company is developing an ammonia-ready marine LNG fuel-supply system.
One difficulty in decarbonising the M&OE industry is that the rules and regulations for marine applications are more stringent than onshore ones, Xu noted.
Marine solutions need to consume less power and often face stricter safety requirements. There is also the challenge of designing systems to be as small as possible, due to the limited space on board.
As demand for clean solutions in the M&OE industry is driven by regulations, the government’s commitment is crucial, said Xu. “The government needs more incentive policies to encourage key industrial players to (make more of an) effort.”
Meds Venture: A farmer of carbon credits
Beyond helping current clients such as ports, data centres and manufacturers, Multi-Energy Decarbonized Solutions (Meds) Venture is looking to do more in the M&OE space.
The sector is being pushed towards greater sustainability by government regulations and investor pressures, said founder and group chief executive Gary Gan.
The issue is that in Asia, many players are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), rather than large conglomerates, observed Gan. “SMEs are just part of the supply-chain ecosystem.”
“Only when a big player with a large consumer base comes in and starts pushing the agenda will we be able to see more decarbonisation actions in the M&OE sector,” added chief operating officer Stanislav Borisov.
The solutions provider helps clients at every stage of the decarbonisation journey. First, it determines the baseline of their carbon footprint. Then it proposes energy solutions tailored to clients’ needs and budgets, and implements these with its technical expertise.
The emissions reductions achieved by clients are validated by third parties. Following the launch of the Asia Carbon Institute in Singapore in August, Meds intends to work with this non-profit carbon-credit registry for the verification of carbon credits.
“We farm carbon credits,” summarised Gan. “Usually, these steps are delivered by multiple entities, but Meds wants to have a holistic approach on the entire value chain.
“You need to have a multidisciplinary team, with carbon experts, energy experts (and) engineers. You need to put all these pieces together.”
EnterpriseSG’s Taufik cited Meds as a company which invested in sustainability early and is now reaping the benefits, as it has become an expert in integrating multiple types of decarbonisation solutions.
Meds uses its in-house artificial intelligence-driven energy modelling and analytics platform, Decaplan, for everything from initial baseline assessments and energy-system master planning, to continuous monitoring for optimal operations.
The platform is under continual development, incorporating ever-more sophisticated energy models and databases across different industries. The company aims to keep the core competencies within Singapore, with plans to hire researchers for further in-house improvement.
Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.