‘How Green is Green in the Leisure Marine World?’ was the theme of a panel discussion which took place at the I-nnovationLab stage during this year’s METSTRADE Show. A panel of well qualified technical experts discussed the current situation, peeked into the future and answered several interesting questions from the audience. The session was moderated by Patrick Hemp, Technical Manager for ICOMIA. In this blog we share the four key points from the expert panel discussion
Learn from the past, to improve the future.
ICOMIA have a keen interest and dedication to working with yards, engine manufacturers, and product suppliers on environmental issues.
A big challenge which our industry is still working on, is the lack of methods and facilities for disposal and recycling of the existing aged fleet. But just as importantly, we should ensure that future construction and operation of leisure craft, is more sustainable, by considering methods such as design for disassembly, and life cycle assessment.
Turning Green aspirations into action
Viareggio Superyachts (VSY) has set up a Green Governance plan across their business activities since 2011. They consider the word Green, to be a verb rather than an adjective.
Using relevant technical input such as informational science, mathematics or statistics, they have established a computational sustainability model. The metrics would cover for instance, carbon emissions, S0x and N0x emissions, acidification, pollutants etc. This enables them to deliver a decision support system, which objectively assesses different parameters related to sustainability in a scientific way. The aim is to effectively balance environmental impact, with economic and social needs in the construction and operation of superyachts.
Electrification is delivering more sustainable solutions
Triskel Marine are an R & D based company focusing on energy efficiency, cutting emissions and reducing fuel consumption. They have a broad practical viewpoint on the future of electric propulsion and energy storage systems.
Hybrid propulsion systems represent a sensible two step approach, or a transition solution, not entirely eliminating internal combustion engines. Full electrification is not seen as likely to happen in the foreseeable future. The future of energy storage systems (batteries) is somewhat focused on Lithium Ion technology, as this is where the investment and marketing emphasis has been directed. This has reduced the research in lead acid battery technology. But still there is a strong technical preference for lead acid batteries, as they are fully recyclable, and have less technical disadvantages than Lithium Ion. (There are no current end-of-life recycling solutions for Lithium Ion batteries.)
Flow cell batteries and hydrogen / fuel cell solutions are under development, so scientifically speaking more advanced solutions are already within reach, but the challenge will be to deliver them commercially, with due regard for their sustainability.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) can improve sustainable material selection
LCA is an inventory of environmental parameters which is locked into the production materials and processes as a formula for measuring their ultimate sustainability.
All parts go through a ‘used phase’ but in marine applications this can be much longer than in domestic or automotive products. The automotive industry is setting the standard, particularly in Germany where they have a high focus on end-of-life solutions, finding good ways to return the value of parts and reduce impact on the environment. As an example from within our industry, a 28% saving on total carbon emissions was established via an LCA carried out on a natural basalt fibre/ bio epoxy composite, when compared with a traditional GRP composite, such as those commonly used in the construction of many boats.
It was mentioned that anyone not using LCA for material selection was going blindly into the future, and that this method of bench marking would be essential for considering the environmental impact at the end-of-use phase, for boats being built in the coming decades. Open source LCA Calculation tools are available. There is one specifically for the marine industry called MarineShift360.Also, the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) offers an LCA tool specifically for composite materials.
Click here to learn more about the panel participants and their organisations