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Singapore: DNV Centre of Excellence propels maritime industry towards IMO’s decarbonization goals

Since its inception, DNV’s Maritime Decarbonization and Smart Shipping Centre of Excellence (COE) has worked on bespoke decarbonization plans for various local customers and pioneered feasibility studies for complex projects on alternative bunker fuels.




dnv coe imo decarbonization goals

DNV was the first classification society to establish the COE in Singapore back in 2021, focused on developing SEA’s maritime digitalization, decarbonization and smart port capabilities. 

The Centre was established at a time when the Singapore government also saw the need for a stronger push to decarbonize the industry. The Centre is focused on not only supporting the maritime industry in Singapore with decarbonization but also around the wider region. DNV experts are based in key maritime hubs around the region to ensure ease of accessibility to classification and advisory services.

Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria, Regional Manager South East Asia, Pacific & India, Maritime at DNV said, “Singapore has made great strides to establish itself as a leading maritime city, driven by the government’s rigorous efforts to build a sustainable maritime industry. This is a vision we share at DNV, that of collaboration and innovation. A vision we aim to materialize through the Maritime Decarbonization and Smart Shipping Centre of Excellence (COE) as we accelerate towards a decarbonized future.”

Since its establishment, the Centre has worked on a number of key decarbonization projects for shipowners and the wider shipping value chain and has been commissioned to produce studies and reports to inform decarbonization efforts both in Singapore and around the region.

Focusing on one of its key areas, the Centre is working with various local customers by providing Decarbonization Plan services for existing fleet and new buildings.

DNV COE Director Dr Shahrin Osman
DNV COE (Singapore/Asia-Pac) Director Dr Shahrin Osman

Dr. Shahrin Osman, Director of DNV’s COE (Singapore/Asia-Pac), said: “From bespoke decarbonization plans and pioneering feasibility studies to complex projects on alternative fuels, the Centre of Excellence’s vast capabilities leveraging on data-driven insights supported by global experts, are geared towards propelling the maritime industry towards the goals of IMO 2050. We are working closely with industry partners to set the course for progress not only in Singapore but across the regional maritime landscape.”

DNV is currently working with a client to develop a bespoke decarbonization plan including a comprehensive CFD analysis for potential retrofitting, to help them with energy-efficient measures and transition to low carbon operations.

The classification society is also working with Anglo American on a feasibility study on battery electric boat operations at Waterways Watch Society, a non-profit organization supported by Anglo American. Currently, there are six workboats powered by petrol at Waterways Watch Society, used/deployed for educational purposes, including collecting litter around Singapore’s waters. The scope of work includes technical assessment and commercial study on the electrification solutions.

The COE has participated in various Industry projects related to alternative bunker fuels with ITOCHU, port authorities in Sweden, Denmark, Hamburg and more. Work is also underway for a study on the Singapore-Norway Green Corridor for Singapore’s Port Activities.

DNV together with Seatrium and other institutions are currently developing a marine and land-based charging infrastructure, interoperable standards, and a marinized Energy Storage System to power harbour crafts in Singapore. Developing a comprehensive electric vessel supply chain will foster growth in the local SME technology and supply chain ecosystem and support the adoption of electric harbour crafts in Singapore in line with MPA’s mandate for harbour craft and pleasure craft sectors to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Studies produced by DNV’s Centre of Excellence:

  • GCMD commissioned a study on “Safety and Operational Guidelines for Piloting Ammonia Bunkering in Singapore”. The study analyzed capacity needs and feasible operating concepts, recommending suitable sites for pilots, and identified hazards, key risks and mitigation measures.
  • Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) co-sponsored a study on the future of seafarers, to examine the key drivers transforming the maritime industry and their impact on ship management and seafarers.
  • A whitepaper titled ‘Indian Coastal Green Shipping Programme’ was commissioned by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Mumbai. The report provided insights into the opportunities and recommendations on how coastal shipping can reduce India's carbon emissions and facilitate its transition to green shipping.

Lukasz Luwanski, Regional Business Development Director, South East Asia, Pacific & India, Maritime at DNV said, “We are seeing a growing number of customers in the region wanting to decarbonize their operations, some with ambitions that even surpass that of IMO 2050’s emission targets. By strategically deploying our COE team in Singapore and key hubs across the region, we ensure customers get access to technical experts with intimate knowledge of the local regulatory requirements in their respective markets.”

Besides the projects undertaken thus far, the Centre is also focused on providing several other key services to enable decarbonization in the industry: 

  • Sustainability/ESG – ESG and sustainability services are becoming increasingly important in the maritime industry. DNV offers a range of ESG services, including ESG due diligence, ESG framework development, and emissions verification for sustainability reporting and financing. These services are enhanced by a robust data-driven approach, employing intuitive dashboards that provide a holistic view of customers' data, enabling comprehensive monitoring and measurement. By integrating these tools, maritime companies are able to adeptly comprehend, manage, and capitalise on sustainability-related risks and opportunities, a critical need in today's global scenario.
  • Energy efficiency -  Implementing operational and technical efficiency measures could help shipowners achieve shorter-term compliance with GHG regulations and thereby reduce the need for consumption of more expensive fuels. DNV’s COE team have worked with a number of clients for the optimal utilization of operational measures to achieve compliance along the IMO 2050 trajectory.
    • Hull CFD analysis
    • Ship energy audit
    • COSSMOS (a modelling and optimisation tool to simulate, quantify and compare alternative propulsion, machinery, and fuel system configurations)
  • Seafarers training & development- The COE team has jointly developed training standards for alternate fuels in various industry workgroups, guidelines for alternate fuels competency and safety culture studies. In addition, the team offers training courses related to the safety and operations of alternative fuels such as Methanol and Ammonia (coming soon)
  • Marine battery and shore power studies - DNV offers several technical services related to marine electrification, such as battery electrification feasibility study and battery-hybrid selector. DNV helps to assess the technical feasibility and economic potential of full and/or hybrid battery electrification for retrofits and newbuilds.
  • Carbon Insetting - Carbon insetting is needed for Scope 3 reporting by the clients of shipowners. The usage of biofuel insetting is voluntary and insetting certificates cannot be used for EU ETS reductions. DNV offers a 3-step verification approach encompassing an initial audit as well as transparent regular and transactional verification, where the carbon savings to be retired from shipowners to their specific clients will be verified.
  • Performance Verification - DNV provides performance verification through in-service measurements (e.g. fuel consumption assessment) and dedicated trials to quantify the savings from technical or operational measures to reduce emissions and main engine consumption.

Industry collaborations

Increasingly stringent green regulations is expected to put a cost pressure on cargo owners and ship owners.

“A wider collaboration between industry and authorities is the key to make the green shift cost effective and efficient,” said Dr. Shahrin.

“DNV works closely with shipowners, maritime associations and the local authorities to establish new maritime processes, standards and frameworks and explore novel fuel technologies to accelerate the decarbonization of the maritime industry to meet IMO targets.”

In July 2021, the DNV Foundation teamed up with the MPA to launch the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) in Singapore, along with five other founding partners. 

Find out more about DNV’s Maritime Decarbonization and Smart Shipping Centre of Excellence here.

Related: Completed safety study paves way for first ammonia bunkering pilot in Singapore
Related: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation awards ammonia bunkering safety study to DNV-led consortium
Related: SMW 2023: DNV study shows 87% of seafarers need training on new bunker fuels
Related: DNV white paper outlines suggestions to achieve sustainable maritime ecosystem in India
Related: MPA and partners establish Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation

Photo credit: DNV
Published: 1 February, 2024

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SMW 2024: Ken Energy and Green COP partner to advance bio bunker fuels in Singapore

Through partnership between its two members, CSA said SGD 10 million will be invested into development and production of biofuel blends and aims to launch commercial-scale production by 2026.





SMW 2024: Ken Energy and Green COP partner to advance bio bunker fuels in Singapore

The Coastal Sustainability Alliance (CSA), an industry collaborative effort led by Kuok Maritime Group (KMG), on Tuesday 916 April) announced its plans to advance the maritime biofuel ecosystem in Singapore with up to SGD 10 million (USD 7.33 million) in investments. 

The partnership will be spearheaded by two of its Alliance members – Green COP and Ken Energy – which formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today at the Tech Stage (EXPO @SMW) at Singapore Maritime Week 2024.

Over the next two years, the CSA aims to develop stable B30, B40 and B50 biofuel blends and achieve production and commercial adoption of up to 50% (B50), derived from 50% agri-waste to Biobutanol – a blend poised to significantly reduce carbon emissions in maritime operations.

This process includes biofuel certification, commencing sea trials, building a production plant by 2025, and launching commercial-scale production by 2026. An initial SGD 500,000 angel investment has been secured for establishing a pilot plant for processing agri-waste, and over SGD 10 million is expected to be invested in scaling production capabilities.

These efforts in decarbonising the maritime sector will contribute to the CSA’s efforts to build the next generation of Singapore’s coastal ecosystem and are timely to address the potential surge in demand for sustainable biofuels.

Mr Tan Thai Yong, Managing Director, Strategic Projects and Technology, Kuok Maritime Group and Chairperson, CSA Council, said: “The formation of biofuel ecosystem under the Coastal Sustainability Alliance demonstrates our commitment to foster partnerships and deliver innovative sustainable maritime solutions for our conventional fleet owners as they progressively switch to lower emissions vessels.

“In bringing together Green COP and Ken Energy, we are laying the groundwork for a new biofuel supply chain and providing a viable alternative in the energy transition for the maritime sector. This initiative is more than an advancement in fuel technology as it exemplifies the power of collaboration, underscoring the CSA’s role as a steward and catalyst for positive change in the maritime industry.”

The CSA is actively driving maritime biofuel development to provide a viable biofuel alternative for vessels to reduce carbon emissions. The ecosystem will secure a ready supply of biofuel for local coastal demand and ensure the quality and stability of the biofuels with supply chain track and trace. This initiative also seeks to bolster Singapore’s standing in the Global Biofuels Alliance over the long term by building new R&D and innovation tracks in line with the nation’s environmental commitments.

Through this partnership, Ken Energy will play a pivotal role in strengthening the market and commercial utilisation of Biobutanol in maritime operations. This comprises vital aspects such as operational feasibility, life cycle assessment, and carbon emission reduction strategies. Ken Energy’s expertise and resources will be instrumental in optimising the practical implementation of Biobutanol for a B30-B50 blend and subsequent market integration in providing B50 to its customer fleet of bunker barges and CSA members.

Desmond Chong, Managing Director of Ken Energy, said: “We believe in the green transition that the maritime industry is embarking on. This conviction underscores our strategic collaboration with Green COP. Leveraging our proficiency in marine transportation logistics alongside Green COP's commendable sustainable biofuel production, we aim to spur the industry's widespread adoption of biofuels."

Green COP, with its proprietary technology, specialises in the efficient conversion of plant-based biowaste into sustainable biofuels through a patented pre-treatment and fermentation process. This innovative, cost-effective approach maximises resource utilisation and minimises waste generation, contributing to the circular economy and environmental sustainability.

Dr Hanson Lee, CEO of Green COP, said, “Green COP presents existing fleet owners with a coherent biofuel solution to achieve their net-zero targets in a progressive manner. We envision a future where Sustainable Marine Fuels (SMF), alongside coastal electrification, become the norm. The CSA has provided us access to market insights, industry collaborations and the necessary incubation for our growth. We look forward to working with more like-minded partners to spur biofuels research and adoption.”

Earlier in March 2024, Green COP signed an MOU agreement with 3Y Energy to develop and optimise green biofuel blends for the maritime and transportation sectors. Through this collaboration, Green COP will set up a pilot plant capable of processing a ton of biomass daily to produce sustainable fuels, while 3Y Energy will provide the innovative solutions in green fuel utilisation including biofuel blends. 

Introducing the B50 blend represents a significant advancement in reducing carbon emissions within the maritime industry. For every metric ton (mt) of B50 fuel burned, carbon emissions are reduced to 1.5 mt, a substantial improvement over the B30 blend, which reduces CO2 emissions to 2.1 mt per metric ton of fuel burned. Additionally, the production of Biobutanol, a key component of the B50 blend, is more energy-efficient and yields a higher volume of fuel compared to traditional methods used for producing Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME). This enhances the sustainability of the fuel production process and supports the maritime sector’s transition to greener energy sources.

The CSA will continue to broaden the scope of the pioneering biofuel ecosystem and seek additional collaborations from stakeholders across the maritime and energy sectors to enhance technological, adoption and logistical capabilities.

This development follows closely on the heels of the Coastal Sustainability Alliance PXO Electric Fleet Signing and MoU Ceremony, held on 12 April.

Related: Alliance commences building of electric tug and supply boat for Singapore waters
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects


Photo credit: Coastal Sustainability Alliance
Published: 17 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: Pacific Environment, Ulsan Port Authority to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports

Both signed a MoU to develop zero-emission shipping and ports in South Korea, within Asia, across transpacific and global corridors including possibility of supporting Korea Ports to transition to green bunker fuels.





SMW 2024: Pacific Environment, Ulsan Port Authority mulls transition to green bunker fuels in South Korea

Pacific Environment on Tuesday (16 April) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ulsan Port Authority outlining a vision of multi-year collaboration to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports in the Republic of Korea, within Asia, across transpacific and global corridors. 

The MOU Signing Ceremony occurred during a joint reception co-hosted by Pacific Environment and Ulsan Port Authority with more than 50 participants during the Singapore Maritime Week 2024.

The MOU includes areas of possible cooperation: 

  • Supporting the Republic of Korea to decarbonise both its domestic shipping and harbour craft industry to align all Republic of Korea ports with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1.5 degree Celsius trajectory
  • Support the Uslan Port to design and implement green shipping corridors across Asia, the transpacific and global corridors
  • Support the Ulsan Port and Republic of Korea Ports to transition to green fuels and provide electric power and zero-emission lifecycle fuels to help marine vessels meet zero-emissions prior to 2050 
  • Provide the Ulsan Port with an action plan to achieve the International Maritime Organization’s 2023 Greenhouse Gas Strategy 
  • Support the Ulsan Port to address additional marine and climate policy issues, such as ending ocean plastic pollution, fossil fuel shipping pollution, among others
  • Support improvement of the Ulsan Port and Republic of Korea Port’s system to prompt the use of green fuels, develop workforce safety standards and train workers.

This is the second MOU that Pacific Environment has signed with Republic of Korea maritime leaders. Last May 2023, Pacific Environment and Korean Maritime Institute signed a multiyear MOU to accelerate zero-emission shipping and ports. 

Soonyo Jeong, Vice President, Ulsan Port Authority, said: “We are excited about our partnership with Pacific Environment and look forward to the support the organisation can provide on-the-ground to move our port and our country to a zero-emission future.”

“As the largest bunkering port in the Republic of Korea, we hope to do our part to address climate change and move shipping to a 1.5 degree Celsius future.”

Shannon Wright, Executive Director, Pacific Environment, said: “Pacific Environment is proud to partner with the Port of Ulsan. Today’s signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Port of Ulsan and Pacific Environment is an exciting start to a multiyear partnership. 

“Ulsan Port has been designated as the only green ship fuel supply port in the Republic of Korea, and aims to become an green energy logistics hub.”

“We look forward to supporting the port with strategic policy and planning assistance to support the efforts towards zero-emission shipping and ports.”

Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects


Photo credit: Pacific Environment
Published: 17 April 2024

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SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses

Both organisations will focus on establishing a sustainable ammonia supply chain and addressing bunkering, transportation, and storage challenges, amongst others.





SMW 2024: Seatrium, A*STAR to explore new energies and AI for offshore and marine uses

Singapore-headquartered marine engineering firm Seatrium and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) on Tuesday (16 April) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore research opportunities in new energies and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop innovative products and engineering solutions for the Offshore and Marine (O&M) Sector. 

The MoU signing took place during the Singapore Maritime Week and was witnessed by the event’s Guest of Honour, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

The collaboration combines Seatrium’s insights into trends and opportunities within the O&M sector with the research capabilities of A*STAR and its National Platforms such as the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS). The parties aim to boost the O&M sector’s pivot to new energies efficiently and reliably, and support the global transition to a low-carbon economy. Through machine learning, manufacturing process technologies and digital solutions, the collaboration will also streamline product development and manufacturing processes, and promote innovation and sustainability in Seatrium’s operations.

The focus areas of the MoU include the co-development of:

New Energies

This includes the exploration of new energies such as hydrogen and ammonia solutions, specifically tailored for offshore and marine applications. A*STAR and Seatrium were part of Singapore’s first ammonia fuel trial on the Fortescue Green Pioneer. 

A*STAR contributed to the development of an ammonia plume model for safety and environmental impact assessment, while Seatrium was responsible for the installation of the vessel’s fuel system and safety features.

Both organisations will now focus on establishing a sustainable ammonia supply chain and addressing bunkering, transportation, and storage challenges. Coupled with carbon capture technologies, Seatrium's suite of product solutions aims to provide sustainable energy solutions for the offshore and marine sector.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The partnership leverages AI to explore innovative solutions in engineering processes, operational efficiency, and decision-making across project lifecycles. 

This includes the planned development of Large Language Models (LLMs) to improve vessel design and validation turnaround by automating and streamlining parts of the process. AI will be used to automate work site inspection and surveillance for improved operational efficiency.

Since 2008, Seatrium’s predecessor entities and A*STAR have worked on research projects such as green shipping, digital design, automation, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced manufacturing. 

The outcomes have culminated in the development of new capabilities, including co-designing the world’s first made-in-Singapore Low Ultraviolet (LUV) Ballast Water Treatment System. 

This eco-friendly system employs energy-efficient ultra-violet rays and proprietary ultra-low frequency bio-fouling control for chemical-free treatment of ballast water.

Mr Chris Ong, CEO of Seatrium, said: “The collaborative efforts between Seatrium and A*STAR are geared towards accelerating the energy transition and maritime decarbonisation.”

“By combining our knowledge and pushing boundaries, we aim to develop advanced energy solutions that will help the industry adopt renewable sources more quickly.”

“Through innovation, research, and sustainable practices, we are focused on minimising carbon emissions, improving operational efficiency, and promoting cleaner energy.”

“We are committed to making a positive impact and playing a vital role in Singapore's sustainable O&M sector with the support of our partners, stakeholders, and customers.”

Mr Frederick Chew, CEO of A*STAR, said: “Building on our previous successful collaboration programmes in green shipping, digital design and advanced manufacturing, this latest collaboration in new energies and AI furthers Seatrium and A*STAR’s shared vision of developing more smart and sustainable solutions for the O&M sector.”

“I look forward to programme outcomes that will contribute substantively to Seatrium’s and Singapore’s economic and sustainability goals.”

Related: Fortescue successfully conducts world’s first ammonia bunker fuel trial in Singapore
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister
Related: SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity
Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects


Photo credit: Seatrium and A*STAR
Published: 17 April 2024

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