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Innovative on-board energy saving solutions (ZEWT Partnership)

The transformation of maritime transport and inland navigation towards climate neutrality can be accelerated through the development and deployment of innovative technologies to improve energy efficiency. The wide-spread adoption of these technologies, in particular for high-power vessels, is crucial. RDI efforts will develop technological solutions for higher efficiency, reducing fuel consumption as well as increasing performance. The overall aim is reducing the vessel’s energy demand, facilitating the transition to sustainable energy sources with lower energy density and potentially higher cost.

Energy efficiency measures may have specific applications linked to new technologies (e.g. alternative fuels, fuel cells, electrification, assisted wind power propulsion) which require significant changes in the on-board energy balance and management.

Projects are expected to address technological solutions for energy efficiency yielding at least 10% reduction in energy consumption compared to best available technologies for similar applications in case of a single measure and at least 20% in case of combined measures.

A wide range of potential solutions may be proposed, including for example: reducing thermal, electrical and propulsive loads, optimisation of on-board energy management systems, design based systemic/holistic approaches and/or the use of active/adaptive technologies.

Digital solutions supporting operational strategies and remote monitoring and control can also be addressed if they are contributing to higher energy efficiency. More and advanced sensors integrated with advanced energy management can form the basis for an increased full life-cycle ship energy efficiency and can feed into digital twin models for the ship and for its sub-systems. Cyber security aspects are expected to be taken into account.

Other potential solutions may include waste heat recovery systems, HVAC improvements, new hull forms, advanced propeller and appendages for enhanced hydrodynamics, reduced hull resistance through air lubrication, new automation and control strategies, new coatings, employing new high performance materials (in particular lightweight materials such as composites) or enhanced production processes.

To maximise the potential for GHG reduction, solutions will be prioritised that are applicable to a wide variety of waterborne operations (and not just selective cases), regarding both maritime and inland navigation.

The technical and operational transferability will be ensured through standardisation and the development of multi-media documentations and training programmes enabling also the long term development of skills.

Activities addressing efficiency gains through the design of internal combustion engines or power generation systems are excluded.

Solutions are expected to be demonstrated in line with the expected TRL but testing within an operational environment would be a benefit.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership on ‘Zero Emission Waterborne Transport’ (ZEWT).