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Damen: Connecting the dots for sustainable maritime solutions

Posted on May 1, 2024

Bringing sustainability together with the green ship model

“Our ambitions are clear,” states Damen’s sustainability and circular economy specialist Dewi Wesselman. “We want to be the world’s most sustainable maritime solutions provider. And to achieve that, we want to build our vessels cradle to cradle, and connect them to operate them emissions-free.”

Such goals have stimulated diverse initiatives at Damen these past few years. Amongst the latest of these is the Green Ship Model. This describes, at a glance, the different roles performed throughout the Damen Shipyards Group and how the various teams interact with one another to further maritime sustainability.

“With the picture we can see – and show – what the different divisions in the group are doing from design, building, repair and maintenance, services and endof-life solutions and how we bring all these activities together to add benefit for clients and help promote a cleaner, greener maritime industry.”

For years already Damen has been working to improve the sustainable performance of the design of newbuild vessels. This has included experimenting with different construction materials, for example.

“Right now, we are considering looking at circular materials for the crew cabins of our Service Operations Vessel,” Dewi says. “There are 80 cabins on board so, if we get this right, we’re looking at a very nice achievement.”

Damen Triton the enabler

A key component in the promotion of green operations is Damen Triton. The IoT solution collects data from sensors located around the vessel, which can be used to inform improvements in efficiency.

Dewi offers the example of two recently delivered Damen ferries featuring Damen Triton. Able to observe their speed and its relation to fuel consumption, the captains could adjust their sailing behaviour. The result was a 20% decrease in fuel consumption – and a corresponding reduction in emissions.

Crucially, Damen is now installing Damen Triton to existing tonnage, paving the way for green refit projects.

Informing decarbonisation

“With the information we gain from Damen Triton, we gain a clear picture of the vessel’s operating profile. We can then advise clients of steps they can take to increase efficiency and decarbonise their operation.”

Damen, with its wide range of decarbonisation solutions is then able to support the client in taking the next steps towards greater sustainability.

“We’re working with many companies who provide sustainable solutions, such as assessing whether a vessel can benefit from wind assisted propulsion or carbon capture opportunities.”

“This really does encompass the entire Damen Group,” says Dewi. “Damen Marine Components offers a range of energy saving solutions that can help increase efficiency and lower emissions. Damen Services offers, for example, shore power to enable emissions free hotel load in port, while Damen Financial Services offers a portfolio of solutions for the financing of vessel greening projects, and our Shiprepair and Conversion division is able to execute these green refit projects.

What we cannot do in-house, we can often do with partners. We’re working with many companies who provide sustainable solutions, such as assessing whether a vessel can benefit from wind assisted propulsion, for example, or carbon capture opportunities.”

Green Refit Tool

To support its efforts, Damen has created a Green Refit tool. To this can be added the data of the vessel’s profile. The tool can then provide a clear picture of options that can be undertaken to facilitate greater efficiency and the resultant reduction in emissions that can be anticipated. It provides, for example, details of forthcoming legislation that will impact upon the vessel, as well as an indication of time taken to achieve a return on investment. Such information offers a vital contribution to ESG reporting and helps to secure investment opportunities.

“Next to operational efficiency, a benefit of a connected vessel is that it can enable predictive maintenance. We can advise clients when systems and components require replacement or refurbishment before efficiency is depleted. With this, we can enter into re-manufacturing agreements with suppliers. We can return, for example, the engine to the OEM. They can then make it as good as new, maintaining efficiency and minimising waste which is part of the cradle-tocradle mindset.”

Closing the loop

For Damen, this is just the beginning for the Green Ship Model. The company has plans to develop the model further, ensuring their offering truly encompasses the entire lifecycle of a vessel.

“Right now, we are looking at decommissioning of vessels,” explains Dewi. “We have a pilot project in the pipeline at our Botlek yard in Rotterdam. With this, we will assess how we can undertake the responsible recycling of ships in the Netherlands and provide the steel for reuse, either in our own or another industry. This will really help us to close the loop.”


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