By far the biggest challenge is to align the whole maritime industry in its evolution towards greater sustainability, which translates to workable and commercially viable technology. There’s no single answer to the question of which green technologies should be adopted so we need to work together on a phased transition that leaves no one in the industry behind. Not all alternative fuels are suitable for various vessels.
There are two main ways to reduce carbon emissions from vessels: lower the vessels’ overall fuel requirements and/or reduce the carbon content of the fuel they consume. At Fugro, we believe big reductions in carbon emissions are best achieved through collaboration and partnerships, whether with niche innovative small businesses or by taking part in large international consortiums.
For example, we’re collaborating with SEA-KIT on remote and autonomous innovations that are reducing energy consumption by changing how people work in the marine environment. Advancing the development of uncrewed operations means smaller ships and a lower carbon footprint, as fewer people need to go offshore.
We’re also leading a maritime consortium on a programme called MENENS (Methanol as an Energy Step Towards Zero-Emission Dutch Shipping, abbreviated from the Dutch), which is researching the use of methanol as a low-carbon marine fuel. Methanol can achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions compared to traditional fuels and is viewed in the international maritime sector as one of the most feasible fuels for large-scale adoption to support the energy transition.
A few years ago, we performed a study that showed methanol to be a perfect alternative to diesel for the kind of operations delivered by our survey and geotechnical investigation vessels. As a data-driven research organisation, we needed to test this hypothesis by gathering real-life data on green methanol’s operational performance compared to diesel. The Fugro Pioneer, one of our survey vessels, is already equipped with four diesel engines. In 2023, we will swap out two of the engines for methanol, keeping the others as diesel to compare the performance. The results will advise the industry on fossil-fuel alternatives based on acquired and analysed data, thereby unlocking insights using an approach which just so happens to be Fugro’s day job!
MASSPeople focuses on the people behind remote and autonomous technology, aiming to align international training standards for the maritime sector’s green transition
Fugro is committed to several sustainability targets, with the ultimate goal of achieving Net Zero Emissions of its operations (i.e. scope 1 and scope 2 emissions) by 2035. The aim is to transition the fleet to green fuels, such as methanol, over the next 13 years while simultaneously moving towards a combination of crewed, lightly crewed and uncrewed vessels. Over the coming years, we’ll also implement fuel-saving technologies, both big and small. For the larger vessels, battery hybrid propulsion systems will make an impact, while smaller changes to operational modes and hardware upgrades such as LEDs and heat-reflective paint will be implemented throughout the fleet.
The Fugro Pegasus, one of several uncrewed vessels resulting from our collaboration with SEA-KIT International. Uncrewed vessels improve safety and reduce the environmental impact of marine activities