Wärtsilä employees monitor engines

Strong decarbonisation strategy for your ship? 3 simple steps to success

If you’re looking for the right decarbonisation strategy for your vessel, three simple steps with an expert will help you avoid investment risks.

Vessel owners know that they need to decarbonise their operations, but how can they choose the right decarbonisation strategy for their operational profile and business case? Three simple steps with a trusted expert is all it takes.

The International Maritime Organization’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) came into force in January 2024. Do you own a 10 to 15-year-old vessel that’s one of the surprisingly high number in CII category C or lower? If you do, it’s going to need efficiency improvements if it is to avoid the scrapyard before the end of its predicted service life. These improvements need to be planned and executed with the help of a solid decarbonisation strategy.

It is estimated that more than half of the global fleet subject to CII will soon fall out of compliance without such improvements. By 2030, if no action is taken, 81% of bulkers, 80% of container ships and 57% of oil tankers will find themselves at the bottom of the class, in CII category E.

There are three pillars to a marine decarbonisation strategy: fuel, energy saving technologies and carbon capture. A trusted expert with a full view of what technologies are available and how to apply and integrate them is invaluable.

Pinning your hopes on a single technology is rarely the optimal solution; a single vessel may need several solutions to ensure compliance, while suitable technologies may vary even across a fleet of similar vessels.


Find the right technologies to lower your emissions

“With this outlook it is no wonder that in recent years we have seen a sharp increase in requests for expert advice and support to help customers navigate their decarbonisation journey,” says Giulio Tirelli, Director, Business Development, Wärtsilä Marine. 

Wärtsilä’s response comes in the form of Decarbonisation Services. “We take a consultative approach, acting as a trusted, technology-agnostic expert to help you benchmark your current emission performance and then identify the optimal energy-saving technologies to help you improve it.” 

The consultants in the team follow a three-step approach to decarbonising your vessels.

1 – Analyse

“Data and digitalisation are enabling a completely new engineering approach,” explains Tirelli. “With your fleet or individual vessels, the first step is to build a complete picture of the current state of play. We do this by gathering and analysing several years of data from a variety of sources, including vessel operational profiles, technical characteristics, and official vessel fuel consumption reported by owners – as well as data from any Wärtsilä Data Collection Units installed onboard. We can then use machine learning techniques to process this data and predict how your vessel’s vessel emission performance will degrade over time.”

2 ­– Simulate

Once the Wärtsilä experts have enough data they can use it to build a digital twin of your vessel. As the name suggests, this virtual model mirrors its physical counterpart and is built based on data gathered from sensors installed onboard the vessel. The twin is used simulate the effects of different energy saving technologies, or more likely different combinations of technologies and how they interact with each other.

A digital twin can include technologies like:

A digital twin can also simulate the effect of:

A good example of how this approach is applied in practice is the team’s work with Carnival Corporation. “We have been working on a modelling project for the Regal Princess,” says Peter Hansten, General Manager, Decarbonisation Services, Wärtsilä. “To build the digital twin we used three years’ worth of Carnival’s operational data, including itineraries and routing information, so that we can simulate operation during sailing, idling and in port.”

Initially the customer focus was on hybridisation, but during the project it became apparent that other technologies might be of benefit too, and our modelling was able to demonstrate that this was the case. 

To see how Decarbonisation Services helped Carnival Corporation choose the best ways to decarbonise, watch the video.


3 – Advise

The third step is to find out what measures are technically and economically feasible. The key determiners here are:

  • the vessel’s dry docking schedule
  • the cost of installing each technology
  • the age of the vessel or vessels

“As a vessel owner, you get clarity with data-led advice that helps you to determine not only which investments make sense but also the optimal time to make them,” explains Tirelli. 

Handpicked related content: Looking for the best ways to cut your vessel’s greenhouse gas emissions? The top 50 are all gathered in one eBook: 50 great ways the maritime industry could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.


You will get the best advice, not the hard sell

If you have a newer vessel, maybe one energy saving technology will be enough; if your vessel is close to the end of its operational life, it might make more financial sense to scrap it, not upgrade it. 

“It’s also possible that you won’t be able to find the optimal solution or solutions with Wärtsilä,” explains Tirelli. “But Decarbonisation Services is about consulting and advising rather than selling, so we’ll happily tell you that too. The priority is always to identify what is best for your vessel or fleet.” 

As well as advice on hardware investments, you can also get advice on what will be required from your crews, both in terms of operating the upgraded vessel and collecting ongoing data to make timely, fact-based decisions.


The simple way to avoid risks

Perhaps the most important benefit that Decarbonisation Services brings is that it minimises investment risks. With an open, fact-based approach based on data, the service allows you to accurately predict, measure and, if required, even guarantee your vessel’s performance. Data like this is invaluable when approaching financial institutions or insurance companies as you will be able to prove that your proposed investment is financially viable.

“As a vessel owner it can feel like you’re scrambling around in the dark when trying to work out what to do about decarbonisation and when. In a nutshell, Decarbonisation Services takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of choosing the right solutions. You get a clear plan of action based on solid data rather than static assumptions, so you can act quickly and in the most economically viable way,” Tirelli concludes.

Learn how to discover the real CII status of your vessels and how you can improve it by downloading this white paper: Discover the real CII status of your vessels – and how to improve it.

Written by
Charlie Bass

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