Conference paper Open Access

Alternative fuels and power systems to reduce environmental impact of support vessels

Geertsma, Cdr (E) dr. ir.; Krijgsman, ir. M

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence have declared the ambition to reduce its fossil fuel dependency by at least 20% in 2030 and by at least 70% in 2050. For the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN), these targets seem more stringent than the initial strategy on greenhouse gas reduction for ships agreed by IMO, which aims for 50% reduction in total annual global shipping emission by 2050. The RNLN is currently investigating the replacement of a series of support vessels, 5 ships between 1000 and 2000 tons that perform hydrographic, submarine exercise support, civil support and seamanship training operations. These vessels perform support operations, are not volume critical in their design and have a limited mission duration of 2 to 3 weeks, and thus seem good candidates for alternative fuels and alternative power systems, such as fuel cells and batteries, that have emissions with a minimum impact on the environment.

This study presents a novel approach to compare various alternative energy carrier and power system options with the Ships Power and Energy Concept (SPEC) exploration tool. We first introduce the baseline vessel and introduce the various fuels and technologies considered. We consider marine diesel oil as a baseline and alternative energy carriers hydrogen, methanol or ammonia and batteries. We review the fuels, their current and future availability and their impact on the environment. Moreover, we review the power system technologies, considering diesel generators running on marine diesel oil, methanol, ammonia or dimethyl ether, fuel cells running on hydrogen or methanol and batteries as the only power supply, recharged when ashore. Furthermore, we review power system designs with the combinations of fuel and power supply identified above and will consider: the mass and volume of the power system configurations and energy storage, fuel or batteries; the estimated capital and operational expenditure; technology readiness level; logistic availability of the fuel; and the estimated yearly CO2 emissions. Electrical propulsion with electrical power supply from internal combustion engines running on methanol appears a mature and cost-effective candidate to achieve the reduction target of 70% reduction in CO2 emission and its related dependancy on fossil fuels, with a 10% increase in capital cost and double fuel cost.

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