How confident is shipping in Energy Saving Tech (ESTs)?

Keith Elliott, Stakeholder Engagement Lead, updates us on what industry insiders have told VTAS about their attitudes towards investing in Energy Saving Tech (ESTs).

Q) Keith, how would you describe discussions with people in the industry about ESTs?

A) We had really insightful conversations with people who represented a broad range of interests across the shipping industry. These conversations confirmed much of what we already thought, but it was good to have this confirmed by those in the know. However we’re keen to hear more and are encouraging people to tell us what they think. We’ve launched two online surveys on our website - where owners, charterers and the supply chain can tell us what they think. The website also contains other ways of getting involved in VTAS.


Q) So, do you think the industry is aware of ESTs and the benefits they can deliver?

A) Yes, overall the industry appears to be aware of a wide range of ESTs but perceives that, compared to operational management and navigational efficiency, ESTs currently offer low levels of savings at too high a cost. VTAS is keen to help people understand about the benefits of investing in ESTs and help achieve the highest return on investment (ROI). Charles’s article set some of these out here.


Q) Where companies are using ESTs, are they using one or a number of ESTs together?

A) Of the companies we spoke to those investing in ESTs are generally using more than one, as they see the benefits of a combined approach. The most commonly used ESTs were optimising vessel design for a specific trade or operation and energy efficient lighting. Arguably these technologies provide the greatest certainty of ROI and have a proven track record. Based on our discussions, companies would most likely consider using alternative energy sources (such as wind devices), hybridisation and fuel based measures (including fuel types, fuel additives, fuel devices).


Q) What’s motivating companies using ESTs?

A) The main motivators are financial and the need to meet a changing regulatory landscape - rather than concerns about greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and having a ‘green’ reputation. So, again, helping build an evidence-based business case for financial investment is something we’re focusing on.


Q) What appear to be the main barriers to adoption for those that aren’t?

A) There appears to be three main barriers. The first is a lack of confidence in the cost savings from using ESTs, because of a real lack of independent ‘before’ and ‘after’ vessel performance data to test EST performance claims. The second was concern about the reliability of ESTs and the third a lack of an agreed industry standard for measuring EST performance - despite ISO 19030. Together, the lack of confidence and uncertainty is limiting the investment funding available.


Q) How does the industry think these could be addressed?

A) Where companies don’t have their own in-house resources there was a great deal of interest in technical and financial solutions to save energy based on independently verified data. Companies felt this would enable them to undertake due diligence in meeting IMO targets and any new regulatory frameworks.


Q) So, finally, Keith, how can the industry take part in the current stage of VTAS?

A) Well, people can get in touch [hyperlink to contact us] to talk to us about the issue that most interests them – investment or taking part in a pilot project. However, if they haven’t got time I’d encourage people to take part in our online surveys. All the information is available on our brand new website.