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Zero emissions, slower speeds, more vessels and minimal or zero crew on board. That is how the future of the global Mercantile Marine would look like in 30 years as we depicted in the previous article Tide of Change in the Marine Industry. The industry has to go through “Changes in Tide” in order to reach this smart vision of the future. As world-class leaders in this industry, allow us to provide a deeper look at the three “Changes in Tide” we feel we should provide leadership in achieving at this time.
Nowadays, the first tide is already coming in on current technology evolutions based upon historical fleets. Vessels are steaming slower and they have optimized diesel engines for fuel consumption/emissions, the addition of clean exhaust technology, hull treatments and increasing digitization to maximize benefits. Leading suppliers, such as ComAp, are providing the systems and architectures to effectively control, monitor and ensure safe and reliable operation of these modifications to existing vessels.
As we look forward to the second “Change in Tide”, we see a new “transition” tonnage with a specific design and operational features. Low emissions achieved by alternate/dual-fuel technologies on large reciprocating engines (ComAp already has dual fuel/gas technologies running in the field), ancillary hybrid systems based upon batteries and other renewable sources for zero-emission operation, peak shaving and efficiency gains. Controlling and monitoring these systems is key, as is linking data to shore or cloud data processing. As a result, using advanced equipment such as the ComAp IntelliSys Hybrid unit and the WebSupervisor remote access tool becomes core to a vessel’s success.
The third “Change in Tide” is a purposed designed tonnage for zero carbon. Fully electric, probably with a combination of renewable power sources such as hydrogen fuel cells, hi-tech sails and photovoltaic installations, these vessels of the future will be unmanned and have significant digital footprints as they send and receive data from the fleet owners, charterers, operators and potentially regulatory authorities. Visionary suppliers, such as ComAp, are already investing in these future needs, not just in developing hardware and software, but investing heavily in the people. Especially those with the right technical and commercial skillsets followed by placing them in regional and local offices where they can understand specific needs.
Unlike the tides at sea, there is going to be a significant overlap of these industry movements, but one thing is clear, the Marine world is changing and only companies that recognize and act on this ensure a successful future.