Interferry Conference to Explore "Game-Changing" Driverless Ships, Fuel-Saving Technologies, and Zero-Emissions Initiatives

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday September 16, 2015

Interferry Monday announced in an emailed press release that technical innovations will be the main theme of the 40th annual Interferry Conference on October 3-7 in Copenhagen, including a discussion on the "dawn of an era" where ship intelligence becomes a dominant trend, specifically in terms of remote controlled ships, fuel-saving solutions, and zero-emissions initiatives.

"The first remote-controlled ferry demonstrator could hit the water within four to five years thanks to a new wave of research into operational efficiency based on ship intelligence solutions," states Interferry.
Oskar Levander, Vice President for innovation, engineering & technology at Rolls-Royce Marine is said to be planning to speak to the idea at the conference.

"Today there is a lot of R&D focus on unmanned airplanes and driverless land-based vehicles and society is becoming more prepared to accept these game-changing solutions. It is only a question of time as to when shipping will follow the same path," comments Levander.

Levander suggests that the unmanned commercial vessels are likely to be locally operated as flag states can permit their operation before international regulations catch up.

Fuel-Saving Solutions

Two fuel-saving solutions will also be explored at the conference via case studies, says Interferry. 

"Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower Oy Ltd, will report on sea trials of the company's Rotor Sail auxiliary wind propulsion system, which has been tested on Bore Line's ro-ro vessel Estraden since last year with 'very promising' results," states Interferry, noting that appropriate wind conditions allow the system to be throttled back, reducing fuel consumption and related emissions.
Bruno Bouckaert, commercial director of Hull Vane is reported to be planning to describe its underwater hydrofoil-type wing intended to be fixed to the stern of a ship. 

"The device saves fuel by generating beneficial lift force to reduce wavemaking, pitching, rolling and yawing," explains Interferry, adding that ferries are likely to be suitable ship types because of their quick sailing speed and limited slow steaming.

"Installations on three vessels ranging from 30-55 metres long have shown savings of 8-20 percent in propulsion power depending on speed, while Computational Fluid Dynamics calculations and model tests indicate 4-15 percent savings for larger vessels up to 220 metres."

Emission Control Initiatives

Eliza Gagatsi, senior project manager at the Hellenic Institute of Transport, is said to be speaking on an "E-ferry" project, which is said to be supported by the European H2020 "green" ferry initiative. 

"The ferry is set to be powered by the largest battery pack ever installed in a vessel and is designed to combine energy efficiency and zero GHG emissions with competitive speed, capacity and reliability," states Interferry
BB Green innovation project, supported by the European Commission, is also said to be planned to be described to attendees by Ulf Tudem, general manager of Effect Ships International

"The company has developed the concept for a 30 knot electric commuter ferry of vacuum-infused carbon sandwich construction in which an air-supported monohull offers a 40% reduction in water resistance," said Interferry. 

"A 20x6m full scale demonstrator has been built by BJB of Latvia. The prototype also features a battery electric and contra rotating pod propulsion driveline developed by Echandia of Sweden, with powering from a new lithium ion titanate battery developed by Emrol of Belgium."

In April, Interferry's Regulatory Affairs Director Johan Roos said the European Union (EU) should leave liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure development to the market.