Germany: gmec 2012 – Strategies for Better Environment

Germany - gmec 2012 - Strategies for Better Environment
Hartmut Zielke (HW)

What strategies, programmes and technologies can the maritime industry adopt to continue with success its progress towards better environmental performance? Answers will be provided by gmec, global maritime environmental congress, to be held at the Hamburg Fair site on 3 and 4 September 2012 on the occasion of SMM.

Leading international experts will present what has been achieved so far in maritime environmental protection, describe the current trends, and discuss innovative future developments. “Conference participants and trade visitors can benefit from a unique combination, with the close links of the gmec conference and the SMM supporting programme,” says Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH. “All the world leaders in the maritime industry are represented here, giving gmec visitors first-hand information on the latest market-ready technical solutions, and giving manufacturers and users in the maritime engineering sector inspiration for future developments.” Chris Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade Communications Limited and member of the gmec Steering Committee responsible for the conference programme, sees the environmental congress as an effective tool on the way to more environmental compatibility and reduced emissions in the maritime sector: “It promotes exchange of ideas and knowledge among leading experts and executives from the scientific community and the maritime industry, thus accelerating the development and market launch of effective environmentally appropriate technologies and products.”

gmec will start with welcome addresses on 3 September, the day before the start of SMM, by Spyros Polemis, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, and Corrado Antonini, Honorary Chairman CESA (Community of European Shipyards Associations); that will be followed by a Round Table discussion of international experts with an audience of invited guests, dealing with current and future aspects of “Green Shipping”.

The second gmec conference day will be structured in four sessions. Two parallel strands of presentations will address the environmental and economically relevant aspects of the maritime industry, with reference to concrete solutions. Under the general heading of “Setting the green course”, the conference ranges from A for avoidance of waste, to ballast water management, CO2 emissions, maritime environmental regulations, oil spills, to Z for “zero emission perspectives”.

Session 1, chaired by Torsten Schramm, COO Germanischer Lloyd, features presentations on “CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions”. According to a study by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), international shipping accounted for 2.7% of global CO2 emissions in 2007. Since then, this percentage has steadily increased with the growth in international trading, accompanied by growth in the global merchant fleet. Figures published by the Bremen Institute of Maritime Transport and Logistics (ISL) at the beginning of this year show that there were 48,700 ships with more than 300 GT (gross tons), that is 3% up on 2011. Including units with more than 100 GT, the fleet grew by as much as 4% to 103,400 units. The IMO experts estimated in their analysis that CO2 emissions would rise from 1.12 billion t (2007) to 1,475 billion t in 2020 in a “business as usual” scenario. Efficiency improvements in ship propulsion and tougher international environmental regulations are likely to reduce the rise in CO2 emissions. One of the important questions and points of discussion at the conference will be whether CO2 emissions trading would be a possible means of controlling emissions from shipping; another will be the “zero emission perspective”.

Pollutant emissions include sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulates and soot, caused in particular by the heavy oil which is mainly used in shipping. That will be the core subject of Session 3, which follows in the afternoon of the CO2 session and will be chaired by Carolyn Comer, Global Sales Manager International Marine Fuels at Shell. The sulphur content of fuels, which is the main cause of particulate emissions, has already been restricted by the IMO by setting ever lower limits. Last year an overall percentage of 4.5% sulphur was still permitted in heavy oil fuel. From 2012 the limit has been reduced globally to 3.5%. Just how necessary this reduction in sulphur content is can be seen from the 2007 IMO study – without restriction in sulphur content, the sulphur dioxide emissions from global shipping would rise from 16.2 million t to 22.7 million t in 2020. Step-by-step reduction to 0.5% in 2020 is expected to cut SOx emissions by 78% to 4.9 million t.

One of the complexes dealt with at this 3rd gmec session is the SECAs (or more briefly ECAs), that is the Sulphur Emission Control Areas established by the states around the North Sea and Baltic Sea a few years ago. Since 2010 the maximum sulphur limit in these areas has been 1%, reduced to 0.1% from 2015 onwards. Other ECAs are also being planned and discussed, e.g. the coasts of North America and the Mediterranean. And there are also proposals for Central America, South Korea and Australia. The technical and economic consequences of that for shipping will be a major focus in this gmec session. Other subjects include LNG as a possible alternative to heavy oil or diesel for ship propulsion, cleaning systems for oil fuels, and exhaust gas scrubbers.

Ballast water treatment is the focus of Session 2, held in the morning in parallel to Session 1. It will be chaired by Henrik von Platen, Executive Vice President of Samco Shipholding Pte Ltd, with presentations on the performance of existing systems, conditions in port, the US regulations, and economic aspects such as investment and operation. Numerous effective systems have become established, following the adoption of IMO regulations in 2004. The IMO International Convention for Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one maritime region to another. It prescribes that less than ten viable organisms greater than or equal to 50 micrometres per cubic metre of ballast water are permitted in discharge of ballast water into the sea. That is to be achieved by onboard ballast water cleaning facilities, which work either by heating, filtration or chemical means. The manufacturers of water treatment systems now offer appropriate equipment. Just how necessary that is can be seen from the fact that container ships alone need some ten billion tonnes of ballast water to maintain stability, as determined by scientists of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft ten years ago. By 2016 at the latest, all maritime ships, that is new builds and ships already in operation, have to be fitted with ballast water treatment systems.

The fourth session, following ballast water, is about “Green Initiatives”, to be chaired by Dirk Lehmann, Managing Director of Becker Marine Systems, a marine equipment company that has made a name for itself in manufacture of high-performance steering gear.

Source: Hamburg-Messe, May 29, 2012; Image: Hartmut Zielke (HW)

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