World First in Gas and Fuel Cell Technology within Shipping

Published Dec 12, 2003
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Eidesvik AS is a very special shipping company. Within a traditional industry, the company is unique in the world in its efforts to steer shipping towards an environmentally friendly future. Recently they took delivery of a gas fuelled ship. In the long term Simon Eidesvik wants to see fuel cell technology in use onboard his ships.

Following three years of development the first gas fuelled vessel, Viking Energy, has now been launched. The vessel is an important step towards lowering emissions from the shipping industry. The Bømlo based shipping company Eidesvik AS took the initiative and has been in charge of the project with developing the vessel. It has been built at Kleven Verft.

The project, including two ships, has been carried out in cooperation with Statoil. Eidesvik AS and Simon Møkster Shipping AS will own and run one each. Both vessels have been contracted by Statoil for 10 years.

As a world first for gas fuelled ships Viking Energy, delivered from Kleven Verft in April, and its counterpart which will be delivered 1 July 2003, have received considerable international interest.

Natural gas used as fuel within shipping is new, also in Norway. Although natural gas is abundant in Norway, use of the resource nationally has so far been very limited.

Lowered Emissions
Through international commitments Norway has pledged to reduce emissions of NOx by 65000 ton annually by 2010. In addition there are demands for reduction of CO2 emissions from the Kyoto treaty. 40 percent of NOx emissions derive from the shipping and fishing industries along the coast and from offshore shipping.

By using gas fuel Viking Energy will cut emissions of NOx by approximately 200 tonn annually.

‘We are very proud to include this gas fuelled vessel in our fleet,’ says Managing Director Simon Eidesvik. ‘I see them as a step in the right direction towards a more environmentally friendly shipping industry, a development the Eidesvik Group is committed to,’ he underlines.

Simon Eidesvik is both a traditional and a forward-looking shipowner. He is running a traditional family owned company with strong ties to the community at Bømlo, on the Western Coast of Norway.

At the same time his company is in the forefront of developing the shipping industry in an environmentally friendly direction. As far as Scandinavian Oil-Gas Magazine has established Eidesvik is the only shipping company working actively to develop fuel cell technology for ships.

‘This lies in the future, but we hope to have a prototype ready in 2005’ Simon Eidesvik says.

‘We are cooperating with several other institutions, in order to develop ships for offshore clients which are as environmentally friendly as possible,’ Eidesvik explains.

‘In that connection it is natural to look at fuel cells technology. Within the car industry all the major companies have already developed their own fuel cells programs. But shipping is a rather more conservative industry, I guess that is why it is lacking behind in this matter’, Eidesvik smiles. Eidesvik Group AS is not lagging behind.

Eidesvik Group AS owns, or have considerable interests in 23 ships. Eidesvik Shipping Ltd runs 14 vessels. They are all special vessels designed for assignments within the offshore industry and for cablelaying. Several of the ships have been designed by the shipping company, in cooperation with the shipyards.

Eidesvik Group is eager to maintain a Norwegian fleet. All ships sail under Norwegian flag, except one that is registered in Britain.

Competitive Advantage
As part of the strive to develop environmentally friendly ships, Eidesvik has established cooperation with Bellona, as well as other organisations.

‘It is important for us to make sure we get the best possible information in order to develop the best possible environmental solution,’ Eidesvik says.

Simon Eidesvik is certain that the forward looking strategy of the Eidesvik Group will be a strong competitive advantage in the near future, and that it thereby might challenge more shipping companies to develop equally environmentally friendly concepts.

Eidesvik receives respect from environmental organisations for its forward looking initiatives.

‘Eidesvik certainly deserves respect and admiration for their work within environmentally friendly supply ships,’ says leader of Bellona, Fredric Hauge. ‘The first gas powered supply ship which was set afloat now in April was the first step. Fuel cells will be the next step,’ he continues.

The cooperation between Eidesvik and Bellona is founded on an understanding of mutual need for each other specialised knowledge. Eidesvik knows shipping.

‘We feel Bellona has distinguished itself as an environmental organisation with a strong drive to find solutions. That is why we trust them to help us find the best possible solutions for fuel cell vessels. Of course, we have cooperation and discussions also with other organisations and companies,’ Eidesvik says.

‘Together with Bellona we hope to find the best environmental solution which also involves commercially viable technology.’

So far it is too early to see the fruits of the cooperation, as it was formalised in March this year. Eidesvik then joined Bellona’s cooperation program for industry and commerce, B7.

‘Bellona has an overall knowledge of energy technology which is unique in Europe. We therefore believe it is of major importance to work together with them also in order to establish the necessary political instruments in order to push the development in the right direction.’

‘We believe that by showing how it can be done Eidesvik will both gain competitive advantage at the same time as we push the industry in a more environmentally friendly direction,’ Simon Eidesvik underlines.

‘The industry is in great need of companies which dare to take these kind of steps,’ says the leader of Bellona, Fredric Hauge. He gives great credit to Eidesvik A/S for its initiative.

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