Tuesday, July 20, 2021

New Technology Helps Cool The Situation with Regard to Maritime Emissions

EU Funded Project Witnesses Innovative Solutions Tested
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – EUROPE – WORLDWIDE – When the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decreed the demand for a zero carbon shipping environment by 2200, anyone who envisaged one, swift technological development which would instantly magic away the problem of pollution from ships stood to be sadly disappointed.

The road to the elimination of such concerns is one to be taken in small, incremental steps, chipping away at the problem and seeing a steady improvement. The IMO wants to see a reduction in the net greenhouse gas emissions from sea travel, currently 2.5% of all global CO2 pollution, by at least 50% by 2050, with an initial reduction of at least 40% by 2030.

On 1 May 2021, the four year Engimmonia EU research project began, a consortium comprising 21 partners from 9 countries under the coordination of RINA Consulting. They include businesses from the shipping industry as well as universities and research institutes, funded in part from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme of the European Union subject to grant agreement No. 955413.

The Engimmonia objective is to promote the global introduction of alternative fuels and the transfer of clean energy projects that have already been proven on land to the maritime sector. The large majority of global greenhouse gas emissions in sea travel arise from long haul journeys and the research project is investigating the benefits of carbon-free fuel, such as ammonia in ships’ engines.

The interaction of other clean energy technologies is also being tested. They include for example heat recovery solutions and, as part of the project, Fahrenheit GmbH, which specialises in sustainable energy solutions, is developing optimised cooling solutions. Central to this is the adoption of adsorption technology to generate electricity or to cool spaces.

An adsorption chiller cools water that is then used to air-condition rooms or to cool, e.g., machines, servers or other processes. The unique quality of adsorption cooling is that it uses heat, that is, central heating or waste heat from machines, instead of electricity as the main input energy. Therefore, the adsorption chiller saves approximately 80% of electricity costs that would normally occur for an air-conditioning system or chiller.

Fahrenheit claims the title of market and technology leader in the field of adsorption cooling and is focused on developing the technology for other areas of application. Eliza Nowak who is in charge of the project at Fahrenheit explains thus:

“When developing concepts, we always cater for the specific needs of the respective heat source and the cooling requirement. We are convinced of the great potential in deploying adsorption chillers on board ships. [To identify the best material pairing of sorption and cooling agents for a prototype] we shall characterise different sorption agent configurations in regard to their sorption capacity, achievable cooling capacity and the thermal stability, and define the optimal combination for the application. We will [then] use the demo installation on the ship as a reference project, and ultimately we want to expand new collaborations and contacts within the shipping industry.”

That third stage when a final prototype test will be required will be undertaken with the equipment be installed on the demo ship, a ferry belonging to the Greek shipping company ANEK, and its operation will be monitored and analysed.

The Fahrenheit adsorption cooling units work according to the principle of solid matter sorption, known as adsorption (from the Latin to suck (in)). Adsorption describes the enrichment of materials (gases or liquids) on the surface of a solid, the adsorber.

In the adsorption process, water vapour from sorption material (silica gel or zeolite) is ‘sucked in’ and adsorbed causing the water to vaporise and cooling energy to be generated. If the material is saturated, it is regenerated by applying heat. For the refrigerant, Fahrenheit uses pure water without synthetic refrigerants.

The units allow a GWP (global warming potential) of zero to be achieved. The EU regulations on the fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gas regulation) are met without any problem. This Video may make things clearer.

Photo: Image courtesy of Fahrenheit GmbH.