Stein Kjølberg, global concept director of Jotun Hull Performance Solutions, writes exclusively for Splash today.
The method most ship operators use to monitor hull and propeller performance has not changed much in decades. And while noon reports are useful, this time-honored approach has limitations. But things are changing due to an ISO standard and a range of performance solutions.
At a time when market pressures and regulatory developments are forcing the maritime industry to focus on energy efficiency and meeting environmental challenges, ship owners and operators are eyeing opportunities in efficiency-based solutions and technologies.
So it is little surprise that an increasing number of owners and operators are also exploring new opportunities when it comes to vessel optimization due to its direct link to fuel savings.
Performance monitoring is maturing, and there’s a lot of interest being shown in the ISO 19030 standard. This is not surprising since poor hull and propeller performance is currently estimated to account for around 10% of the world’s fleet energy cost and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions. This points to a considerable improvement potential.
Most suppliers argue that their hull performance monitoring solutions and antifouling coating systems offer significant fuel and emission saving potential. However, monitoring is often challenging due to several rapidly changing factors that influence fuel consumption including draft, trim, ship speed, and wind. Also, while the different monitoring solutions all have a similar basic approach, the available approaches are difficult to measure.
There are effective solutions for improving performance but, up until the introduction of the ISO 19030 standard, there was no globally recognised and standardised way for measuring this and providing return on investment for owners and operators. The standard satisfies that demand, prescribing measurement methodology and defining performance indicators for hull and performance maintenance, repair and retrofit activities.
The voluntary standard offers a two-tier methodological approach: ISO 19030-2, the default measurement method, with the most exacting requirements and greatest measurement accuracy; and ISO 19030-3, allowing for ‘alternative methods’ and included in order to increase the applicability of the standard.
The ISO 19030 standard, introduced by ISO in 2016, represents a good starting point to offering a level playing field and the adoption of industry-wide best practices and transparency.
In spite of the standard still being relatively new to the industry, it’s attracting a lot of interest as owners and operators work to improve their vessel and fleet performance. If used in the right way, the standard can help improve performance and save significant amounts of money in terms of fuel costs.
At the outset, the standard was developed to achieve a step change in enhancing environmental performance and vessel efficiency. It makes it easier for decision makers to make better and quicker decisions. It also provides much needed transparency for buyers and sellers of technologies and services intended to improve hull and propeller performance. Further, it will make it easier for the same buyers and sellers to enter into performance-based contracts and thereby better align incentives.
While there is wide industry consensus that performance monitoring is necessary and good, some operators have raised possible drawbacks such as the adverse market conditions which already forcing them to cut costs. The need to prioritize and comply with the mandatory new regulations is also a challenge, as is the cost of installing the supporting tools in order to use the standard.
Measuring hull and propeller performance has always been complex and challenging for operators. Indeed, the impact of biofouling on fuel consumption is still underestimated by some. That said, the familiarity of the ISO 19030 standard is growing in the industry. This helps operators to better measure hull and propeller performance by moving from the traditional ways of monitoring into the new era of big data, which can be used to boost performance and save money.
Also, it’s important to bear in mind that the industry in general is becoming more complex and challenging with stakeholders, for example, banks, charterers and regulators, all pushing for more efficiency and transparency. Monitoring in accordance with the standard will help operators meet the increasing performance demands and regulatory requirements.
As for the costs involved in outfitting ships with performance measurement systems, this could be done in an inexpensive way.
The basic approach in ISO 19030-3 is to use noon reports. This way, operators will at least have indications on overall performance. By investing in some additional equipment, the accuracy can be further improved. In order to comply with ISO 19030-2, which is based on high frequency data, a datalogger, torgue meter and some cabling is required. Alternatively, flowmeters can be used. Both torque meters and dataloggers are becoming very affordable these days, allowing for a quick return on investment.
Experience shows that when we talk with operators, the discussion often revolves around what they actually want to achieve with the data collection and analysis. As a starting point, we recommend operators to begin using the standard to improve the quality of the noon reports and get familiar with the methodology. As a next step, they can then look into investing in the required equipment should they want to comply with ISO 19030-2 to get more accurate performance data.