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2020 – the year of clean technology

The last six months have only reinforced the volatility and atmosphere of constant change in the maritime sector, with shipping showing great resilience and adaptability. Amidst the turbulence, we have seen a heightened drive from shipowners and operators to not only return to ‘normal’ operations, but to grow back bigger, better and more efficient, through collaboration, digitalisation and actioning a radical new way of thinking. The ‘reset’ of 2020 has thrown a new light on to the bigger issues that shipping is facing. Digitalisation, for example, has significantly accelerated in the past year, with owners and operators embracing the potential of new data driven solutions to cut costs and improve efficiencies. Similar progress is now being made on decarbonisation, with increased collaboration between yards and owners, and more investment in proven clean technologies. For example, we have recently seen an uptick in enquires in relation to our pioneering air lubrication technology, the Silverstream System. The system decreases frictional resistance between the hull and the water by creating a carpet of microbubbles that coat the entire flat bottom of the vessel, thereby reducing fuel consumption and associated emissions. Installing the system saves net 5-10% fuel, depending on vessel type and operational profile. Most recently, we fulfilled an order for our Silverstream System to be installed on eight Hyundai Heavy Industries-built, Shell-chartered newbuild LNG carriers. The milestone order reflects not only the industry’s understanding of the significant value of proven and readily available clean technology, but a growing inclination in the industry to think radically and embrace new technology as part of an overall strategy to meet the IMO’s carbon reduction targets. With a number of industry leaders implementing and placing higher value on proven clean technologies, such as our Silverstream System, we see air lubrication becoming a standard on newbuild vessels in the coming years and being utilised to upgrade the existing fleet, which is also a possibility with the system. Alongside radical innovation, we believe collaboration is also key in furthering the adoption of clean technologies and decarbonisation of the shipping industry. For example, we have recently partnered with the University of Southampton, following a grant awarded by Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), on a two-year project to advance machine learning and artificial intelligence within the maritime industry, and further develop the Silverstream System. Collaboration, new ways of thinking and world-class engineering expertise will not only be critical to the decarbonisation journey but offer a means for the shipping industry to grow back bigger, better and more efficient than ever before. This year should be viewed as a turning point in the industry’s decarbonisation journey; a year to accelerate the implementation of sustainable practises and application of clean technologies to enable a cleaner, long-standing fleet of future.

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