Low Carbon Shipping - A Systems Approach

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

It is estimated that shipping accounts for 3.3% of CO2 emissions in the world. With the need to reduce overall CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 to mitigate global warming then shipping must cut its emissions. The importance of shipping to the UK economy should not be underestimated. Over 90% of the UK's imports and exports are transported by ships and UK shipping plays a vital role in transportation links to our neighbouring countries and also within the UK to its many islands. Shipping provides the means of exploiting offshore natural resources including fishing, offshore mining, and oil and gas reserves e.g. North Sea shuttle tankers, and more recently cruise ships and liners have offered holidays afloat. Today, shipping contributes some 10 billion annually to the UK's GDP thereby contributing some 3 billion to the UK Exchequer. In terms of employment, the UK shipping industry is responsible for employing over 200,000 people either directly in shipping or indirectly in service industries. Whilst few ships are actually built in the UK today, the UK remains one of the world's leading providers of marine services including insurance and finance, is home to many shipping companies, has many marine equipment manufacturers and is the centre for international shipping organisations such as IMO and the Baltic Exchange. There are currently about 750 ships over 1,000 Tonnes registered with UK classification societies, and the number of UK registered ships continues to increase despite the recent down turn in the economy in both the domestic and international markets. We currently lack a holistic understanding of the shipping industry. Its drawn out contractual, technological and financial evolution has obscured access to both top-down and bottom-up system level understanding of its sensitivities and left many commercial habits engrained and unchanged for literally hundreds of years. The inescapable truths identified above can galvanise a reaction from all members of the shipping community, and we aim to capitalise on this.To understand the shipping system, the relationship between its principal components, transport logistics and ship designs, must be elucidated. Only then, can future logistical and ship concepts be optimised to achieve maximum reduction of carbon emissions. Through this understanding and optimisation, projections can then be made for future trends in the demand for shipping, the impacts of technical and policy solutions and their associated implementation barriers, and the most just measurement and apportionment mechanisms.These unique challenges can only be addressed with strong stakeholder involvement (we have significant commitments to our consortium from regulators: WWF, Lloyds Register, technologists: British Maritime Technologies, QinetiQ and Rolls Royce and operators: Shell, Fisher, David MacBrayne and the UK MoD, as well as wider support from a number of other companies across all constituents of the shipping industry). In addition, we have formed a multidisciplinary team (geographers, economists, naval architects, marine engineers, human factor experts and energy modelers) to ensure that specialist skills and experience can be shared whenever it is required. Using these assets we will undertake an aggregated, holistic, systems analysis of the shipping industry to elucidate and clarify the many complex interfaces in the shipping industry (port operations, owner/operator relationships, contractual agreements and the links to other transport modes). The analysis will extend to 2050, and involve the generation of future concept designs both for ships and infrastructure regimes. The model will project trends for global trade flows, but it will have particular focus on the UK's international and domestic passenger and freight transport.

Planned Impact

Anthropogenic carbon emission is almost universally recognised as the greatest threat to civilisation. The imminent (or passed) arrival of 'peak oil', the date on which liquid fossil fuel production capacity peaks, threatens to reverse the 20th century's greatest economic achievement - globalisation. Ignorance of these two phenomena has been widely predicted to bring cataclysmic events (see Shell's 'scramble' scenario www.shell.com/scenarios). The shipping industry's ability to provide a response is hampered by its lack of public visibility. Unlike many other industries (e.g. aviation), there is less consumer pressure incentivising shipping to respond to the climate change threat. The impacts of this research programme will be threefold: 1) Implementation strategies, emerging technologies and operational procedures will be identified that provide the smoothest transition for the shipping industry (and therefore the consumer) through the turbulent and volatile macroeconomic and regulatory conditions that are likely to characterise the first half of the 21st Century. 2) The second is that the results of the holistic shipping system model will inform governments, international unions and regulatory bodies with the most accurate possible prediction of the effects of a variety of instruments (policy, incentives and fiscal) for enforcing and encouraging the reduction of carbon emissions. 3) The third will be on the consumer of shipping services. By generating inspirational future ship, propulsion and infrastructure designs, we intend to capture the public's imagination through our website and through dissemination in the mass media, simultaneously raising awareness of the public's reliance on shipping, the scope for engineering, innovation and creativity in finding solutions for the shipping industry and the contribution to the battle against climate change that the shipping industry can make. The particular significance of shipping to the UK economy cannot be underestimated. Over 90% of the UK's imports and exports are transported by ships across the oceans of the world making it our most important trading mechanism in the global economy. UK shipping plays a vital role in passenger transportation, linking the UK to neighbouring countries and interconnecting the mainland and its many islands. Shipping has provided the means of exploiting offshore natural resources including fishing, mining, and oil and gas reserves, facilitated intercontinental travel, and more recently holidays afloat. Over the last 10 years, the UK shipping industry has recovered from the steady decline experienced in the latter part of the 20th Century, and .today shipping contributes some 10 billion annually to the UK's GDP, and some 3 billion to the UK exchequer in various taxes. In terms of employment the shipping industry employs over 200,000 people directly (UK officers and crew, surveyors, etc) and indirectly (ship repair, business services, ports). The UK remains one of the world's leading providers of marine services, home to many shipping companies, centres for international shipping operations (e.g. Baltic Exchange Centre for Regulation, International Maritime Organisation), shipping insurers (e.g. Lloyds of London), and major classification societies (Lloyds Register). The UK is also home to many technology, equipment & consultancy companies (e.g. Rolls Royce, Converteam, QinetiQ, BMT, 3 quays) which continue to take a significant share of global markets despite tough competition on cost consistently providing a technological edge in their products and services. Today the UK has over 750 registered ships over 1,000 gross tonnes growing by approximately 3% per annum, and the future for the UK shipping industry long term is healthy, providing it can meet the challenges of increasing environmental control, and the need to reduce carbon emissions from all sources..
 
Description To reduce emissions from the shipping sector is an inter-related problem extending across shipbuilding practices, ship designs, ship operation, and port infrastructure which themselves are influenced by global conditions such as global economics, international legislation. However the research output suggest that reductions in emissions are achievable across the world fleet using new technologies, better ship designs, and improved operational practices.

The Project in Low Carbon Shipping was immediately followed by Shipping in Changing Climes where consolidation of the outputs of the two projects reside.
Exploitation Route We are engaged with the industrial shipping sector from equipment suppliers to shipping companies. The findings of the research have been output via conferences, papers and seminars involving a broad spectrum of industry. The outputs from Low Carbon Shipping were directly transferred into Shipping in Changing Climes as the 2nd stage of the investigation. Data bases, papers and outputs are attributed to the later project.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport

URL http://lowcarbonshipping.co.uk/
 
Description We are engaged with the industrial shipping sector from equipment suppliers to shipping companies. The findings of the research have been output via conferences, papers and seminars involving a broad spectrum of industry. The outputs from Low Carbon Shipping were directly transferred into Shipping in Changing Climes as the 2nd stage of the investigation. Data bases, papers and outputs are attributed to the later project.
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description IMO Discussions on Shipping Regulation especially atmospheric emissions
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The input has been to International Maritime Organisation on Shipping Regulations pertaining to atmospheric emissions.
 
Description Shipping in Changing Climes
Amount £3,500,000 (GEL)
Funding ID EP/K039253/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2013 
End 06/2017