Ardmore continues to make significant progress towards its energy transition ambitions, which are delivered through the company’s robust Energy Transition Plan (ETP), writes Ardmore’s Director, Innovation, Garry Noonan. This approach to the energy transition, he says, is focused on reducing Ardmore’s carbon footprint, unlocking further improvements in our fuel efficiency, and supporting the development of alternative fuels.
With shipping under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact and decarbonize its operations, a plan for the energy transition is crucial to remain competitive and sustainable in the long run. A well-defined energy transition plan can help to identify the key challenges and opportunities presented by the changing energy landscape. As highlighted in our 2022 Sustainability Report, this includes the development of new fuels, the deployment of clean technologies, the adoption of innovative business models, and the building of relationships with customers that are shifting their priorities towards more sustainable products.
The energy reality
At Ardmore, our approach is underpinned by the mindset that shipping’s journey towards decarbonization will be an evolution. Global events in the last year have highlighted the importance of the ‘energy reality’ alongside the energy transition. While the momentum achieved so far in shipping’s decarbonization drive is encouraging, it’s essential to recognize the role that fossil fuels will continue to play in the short term, while making rapid progress away from carbon-intensive practices and cargoes in the long term.
At the same time, the regulatory and reporting obligations placed upon all shipowners do not stand still. From the start of this year, new regulations came into force that require all ships to calculate their Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and to begin collecting data to report their annual operational Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).
Against this backdrop, our Energy Transition Plan has continued to make strong progress over the past 12 months across its three areas of focus: transition technologies, transition projects, and sustainable (non-fossil fuel) cargoes.
Energy efficiency – a non-negotiable
One of the key aspects of our approach is the use of energy-efficient technologies across our fleet. To date, we have invested in fuel-efficient engines, advanced hull designs, and other technologies that reduce fuel consumption and emissions. In addition to reducing our own emissions through design and operational solutions, we are closely tracking the development of alternative low-carbon marine fuels. This includes our partnership with e1 Marine. In 2022, it made ground-breaking advances in the application of methanol-to-hydrogen generation technology for onboard fuel-cell grade hydrogen.
The most significant progress under the aegis of our ETP has come from our investment in initiatives that are bringing about incremental but significant improvements in fuel efficiency. This includes equipping our ships with variable speed drives, which are crucial in lowering electrical load and fuel consumption.
Through our ETP, we are constantly identifying and assessing new and emerging technologies that can boost fleet-wide performance. Indeed, whilst we implemented twelve different initiatives in 2022, we assessed over 100 possibilities. This includes the Filtree emissions-reduction equipment from Value Maritime, for which we have placed orders for a total of nine vessels. This system uses a Clean Loop technology that filters sulfur, and 99% of ultra-fine particulate matter from the vessel exhaust stream. When fitted with this next-generation exhaust gas cleaning technology these nine vessels will be Carbon Capture ready for future onboard CO2 emissions collection in conjunction with interested customers, demonstrating of our commitment to future-proofing our vessels with proven solutions.
Lean Marine’s FuelOpt™ propulsion optimization technology has also been implemented across our fleet this year. By automating propulsion control and removing the need for ongoing monitoring and manual changes, this technology lessens the technical strain of greener ship operations. This helps to prevent fuel overconsumption and helps to guarantee the most effective engine load.
Our ETP is not just a series of individual projects but a vehicle for building detailed in-house knowledge and expertise of what works best for Ardmore, working with technology vendors to adapt and deploy their solutions for our vessels, and collaborating with partners to develop bespoke solutions.
Looking forward, we are confident that our ETP will continue to deliver the operational and environmental dividends to help fulfil Ardmore’s energy transition ambitions.
To access our full 2022 Sustainability Report, click here.