Thursday, November 11, 2010

Container Shipping Lines (and Car Carriers) Prefer Green Paint

New Low Friction Coating Reduces CO2 Emissions
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – Almost every week we report on yet another attempt by the major ocean freight carriers to reduce fuel consumption and thereby lower CO2 emissions. Mitsui OSK are one of the companies who are never afraid to innovate in the name of improved performance (and a greener public profile). Now the Japanese box carrier has trialled a new product on one of their fleet of car carriers with impressive results.

The PCTC (pure truck and car carrier) Neptune Ace, built by Minaminippon Shipbuilding Co Ltd and capable of carrying 6,400 standard passenger cars was completed just a few days ago and has been finished with a low friction hull paint ‘LF-Sea’ specially developed by Nippon Paint Marine Coatings, uses a component called hydrogel, which is a naturally derived material. The hydrogel allows water to fill in small indentations on the hull to minimize friction drag.

Vessel hull’s friction drag is the greater part of resistance in the sea water. Reducing the friction drag is a very effective way to reduce CO2 emissions during vessel operation. MOL has taken a proactive stance in developing and adopting a low-friction ship bottom paint as part of its environmental initiatives. LF-Sea can realize about 4% reduction in fuel consumption compared to an identical vessel using conventional bottom paint. Reducing the consumption of heavy fuel oil by 4% ensures a decrease in CO2 emissions at the same rate.

Sea trials of the Neptune Ace confirmed that the estimates of the new product were accurate and so MOL will continue joint research and development on an ultra-high fuel efficient ship bottom paint with the aim of further CO2 reduction with Nippon Paint Co. and Nippon Paint Marine Coatings Co., Ltd. The companies will strive to further improve LF-Sea paint with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 8% to 12% compared to conventional anti-fouling paints.

MOL believes the performance assessment on the new building PCTC will serve as a benchmark for the development on an ultra-high efficient ship bottom paint. This R&D initiative is one of several subsidized through the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's “Support for Technology Development from Marine Vessels for Curtailing CO2” project.

Photo: The Neptune Ace under way.