2nd International Conference on Ship Efficiency questioned efficiency design index (EEDI)

 05 Oct 2009 11.40am

Professor Stefan Krueger of TU Hamburg Harburg, Institute of Ship Design and Ship Safety, discussed the pros and cons of the EEDI currently debated within the IMO working groups.

Professor Krueger explained the motivation for EEDI, which is the current IMO response to the increasing CO2 output from shipping. He pointed out that the EEDI philosophy had serious drawbacks and would undermine technical progress. Possibilities of optimizing the ship design would be extremely limited.

He reminded the audience from 24 countries – many of them representing shipping companies – that the CO2 output is proportional to fuel consumption. All measures to decrease fuel consumption also decrease the CO2 footprint. His pragmatic solution for improving ship efficiency and reducing the CO2 problem was adjusting the fuel price accordingly. IMO, however, opted for an EEDI, which expresses the impact to the environment from shipping versus the benefit to the society.

Professor Krueger made reference to the baseline definition, which depends solely on the deadweight of the ship and the ship type. This leads to ships being “efficient” when they are big and slow. To make the Index work, Professor Krueger suggested to replace deadweight with payload and to improve the baseline concept by taking into account physical principles. Otherwise, there would be no encouragement for designers to develop more efficient designs resulting in significant reductions of fuel consumption.

Already after the first hour of the conference the organizers had fulfilled their ambition to provide a forum, where maritime stakeholders can exchange their ideas on all issues related to an efficient ship operation incl. design aspects and future fuels and efficient power. Altogether 17 presentations showed the wide range of complex technical possibilities to increase a ship’s efficiency and to improve measures to protect the environment.

The conference ended with the conclusion, that there is no contradiction between economy and environmental aspects. New ships can be designed efficiently and at the same time be environmentally friendly. Different approaches were presented how to evaluate and to select technical retrofit options. It was fairly obvious that there is „no ready to use” remedy for the challenges of today’s climate change. Case studies demonstrated that investments done on existing vessels can be amortised in few years. As an alternative to heavy fuel oil, gas-fuelled operation of ships will become a real option in future.

The next STG Conference on Ship Efficiency will take place in 2011.