A Nordic showcase for next-gen shipping tech

A Nordic showcase for next-gen shipping tech

The biennial Nor-Shipping event in Oslo is the talk of the shipping industry with thousands of participants from across the world. At the most recent event, Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine solutions were the centre of attention.

Text: David J. Cord Photo: Bejamin A. Ward

Nor-Shipping is a maritime trade fair which is held in Norway every other year. In June 2019 almost 48,000 participants from 85 countries attended the week-long event.

Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, was on hand to officially open the event, while Prime Minister Erna Solberg gave the opening address. The event focused on ocean leadership and new business opportunities in the ocean space. Five exhibition halls featured 846 of the world’s leading maritime companies, including Wärtsilä.

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The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.

An arena for decarbonisation and sustainability

“Nor-shipping is an arena for decarbonisation and sustainability and so is extremely important for Wärtsilä,” said Atte Palomäki, Executive Vice President, Communications, Branding & Marketing. “We want to enable sustainable societies with smart technology. Being here with our message is a way to invite partners to work together with us.”

A major theme was how the maritime industry will play its part to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement. A presentation of the Wärtsilä-led ZEEDS (Zero Emission Energy Distribution at Sea) bunkering logistics project served as a concrete example of how to transition to future fuels in a collaborative manner.

ZEEDS’ main partners – Wärtsilä, Kvaerner, Equinor Aker Solutions, DFDS and Grieg Star – envision an ecosystem of strategically located offshore clean fuel production and distribution hubs. Wind will provide the power to create sustainable ammonia for ship-to-ship refuelling.

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Andrew Calzetti, Marketing Director, Wärtsilä Marine Business.

Co-creation advances full speed ahead

Andrew Calzetti, Marketing Director, Wärtsilä Marine Business updated participants on the latest developments in Wärtsilä's Ocean Awakening campaign. He reinforced the message of co-creation and dropping the barriers of competition to bring about the huge transformation shipping must undergo.

Part of that vision is engaging stakeholders in the wider ecosystem, with Calzetti highlighting the momentum achieved in Wärtsilä's SEA20 initiative, designed to spur collaboration among maritime cities around the world. Calzetti stressed the payoff is potentially huge not only for the sustainability of marine ecosystems but also for the participating cities’ liveability and economies.

Calzetti also highlighted other examples of collaboration, including the IntelliTug project in Singapore for an autonomous harbour tug and Wärtsilä’s partnership with Norled to develop a cutting-edge auto-docking system to improve efficiency and safety.

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Andrea Morgante, Wärtsilä’s Vice President, Strategy & Business Development.

Improve efficiency and lowering emissions

Andrea Morgante, Wärtsilä’s Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, addressed decarbonisation and the thorny issue of fuels. Despite shipping being the most efficient mode of transport, the industry wastes an estimated USD 30 billion per year due to interface inefficiencies in the logistics chain, especially waiting time.

Launching the new version of Wärtsilä Transas’ Navi-Planner, Managing Director Torsten Büssow said the offering is an example of reducing fuel use by optimising voyage planning. Trialled on 100 ships last year, he described it as the ultimate “Google Maps” for ships incorporating the latest technologies, including satellite connectivity, IoT, machine learning, cloud computing and cyber protection.

Launched at the same time by Nicholas Martin, Director Digital Offering at Wärtsilä, was the new digital version of OPERIM (Operational Performance Improvement & Monitoring). OPERIM provides operators with real-time data on Wärtsilä products and solutions combined with cloud-based analytics. It constantly monitors performance so adjustments can be made as operating conditions change. This enables the vessel to operate at optimal efficiency, boosting profitability, sustainability and safety.

Improving efficiencies can save fuel and reduce emissions, yet we also have another tool available today: LNG.

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Managing Director Torsten Büssow. 
 
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Nicholas Martin, Director Digital Offering at Wärtsilä.

 
Cleaner fuels for today and tomorrow

“We believe that today we can already put the maritime industry on the right path by supporting a switch to LNG as the main fuel,” Morgante said. “Moving forward from there, the industry will have to shift to green fuels, essentially synthetic fuels or biofuels.”

To achieve a 50% reduction in emissions at a fleet level by 2050, in reality, means a 70% reduction at the vessel level, taking into account the projected growth of the world fleet, Morgante said. Short sea voyages will improve with advances in battery and storage technology, fuel cells and waste recovery. For longer voyages LNG is key.

“LNG is a fuel we have available today,” explained Wärtsilä’s Reetta Kaila, Business Development Manager, Gas Solutions. “When we have that system onboard, we can easily blend in greener fuels when they are available. With LNG now we can reduce emissions, but LNG also allows us to blend biogas or synthetic methane into the fuel when it is available, reducing emissions even more.”

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Digitalisation and transformation

Another top theme was the impact of data analytics and digital innovation. The Wärtsilä stand featured this year's widest screen and was among the most populated throughout the four days, with experts busy mingling with visitors keen to learn more about the company's industry-leading technology portfolio.

Visitors to Wärtsilä’s stand could try Wärtsilä’s Ship Design’s virtual reality tour of a ship to learn more about 3D design tools. There were also presentations of hybrid propulsion systems, the Wärtsilä 14 high-speed compact engine and the Wärtsilä Expertise Centres, which will ensure optimal lifecycle performance of vessels using remote monitoring and data analytics. Environmental solutions, such as Wärtsilä’s SMART Water & Waste System and exhaust gas cleaning systems were also on display.

“The shipping industry is facing a transformation,” said Tamara de Gruyter, Vice President, Europe & Africa at Wärtsilä. “We have to go to a sustainable society and a sustainable ocean. The future of sustainable shipping and the smart marine ecosystem is not only about technology, new fuels and data. It is very much about the power of collaboration, of people working together.”

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