Working with Startups and SMEs to help tackle maritime decarbonisation issues

Programme Overview

In partnership with Seaspan, Inmarsat and Lloyd’s Register, we have been looking for novel solutions that have the potential to decrease emissions and help the maritime industry on its route to net zero. Four innovation challenge areas including:
1. Crew safety and training
2. Benchmarking of emissions
3. Real time risk management
4. Carbon capture.  

To learn more about the specific challenges we are focusing on in this iteration of Thetius:Zero see below.

The Shortlist

We received a number of applications from startups and SMEs across all the challenge areas. From the submitted applications, a shortlist was generated, and successful solutions were invited to pitch their idea to a decision-making jury at a physical event in May. During this two-day event, a range of companies and entrepreneurs showcased their ideas and solutions that could potentially solve some of the challenges we are aiming to address.

Following this event, the selected teams behind the chosen ideas will progress to the next stage and benefit from facilitated workshops focusing on establishing a proof-of-concept partnership. As well as support from the partners involved throughout the process.

The chosen companies going forward to this stage will be announced in the coming days!

The Challenges

Challenge 1- Improving crew safety around alternative fuels

We are working towards developing and solutions to solve issues across four challenge areas; improving crew safety around alternative fuels, tools to benchmark and create lifecycle assessments for vessel emissions, managing the risks presented by alternative fuels in real time and carbon capture.

Though conventional fuels can be dangerous, they are well understood and crew members usually understand how to use and handle them safely. Handling the wide range of alternative fuels that are going to be needed to successfully decarbonise the industry requires specialist knowledge. Further, some of those fuels are hazardous to human health and crew exposure to them needs to be carefully monitored and limited where possible.

Engineering crew members, particularly engine ratings, face the highest risks from alternative fuels such as ammonia, hydrogen and LNG. The fuel preparation, engine and reliquification rooms have been highlighted as hazardous areas that the crew should avoid where possible. If there is work that must be done in those areas, the crew need to be effectively monitored and they need access to effective training tools to give them the skills to work safely.

We are seeking innovative solutions that can minimise the need for crew to spend time in hazardous areas, monitor the safety of crew members who need to work in dangerous spaces, or provide effective training tools to improve safe working.

Challenge 2- Tools to benchmark and create a lifecycle assessment for vessel emissions

It is currently very difficult to truly understand lifecycle emissions for vessels in a way that can support effective operational and investment decisions. Though a range of measures exist, they do not provide enough detail to effectively assess and support decision making with regards to the future emission impacts of retrofits, energy efficiency measures, scrapping, and new build projects.

Measures like EEXI, EEDI, and CII are useful for providing a baseline understanding of a vessel’s efficiency, but they are not detailed enough and not updated frequently enough to support benchmarking of fleets both inter fleet and wider worldwide fleets. With no two voyages being the same due to a range of external factors including the weather, tides and charterers procedures influencing vessel performance and efficiency. It is difficult to calculate, monitor and understand the potential benefits of energy saving devices to justify financial investments in performance improvement measures, and benchmark tonnage against the wider world fleet.

We are seeking innovative solutions that enable effective benchmarking of a vessel’s performance against the global fleet in granular detail with publicly available or purchasable data sets (such as weather, tides, EU MRV data and AIS information). An understanding of what factors contribute to a vessel’s efficiency throughout its lifecycle to determine valuable insights that can highlight opportunities for improving efficiencies and reducing emissions further. Benchmarking vessels against ships in the same ship type category and benchmarking within subcategories for each ship type should be considered. 

Challenge 3- Managing the risks presented by alternative fuels in real time

The introduction of alternative fuels is fundamental to reaching net zero emissions. Ammonia, LNG, hydrogen and methanol are a few of the options that exist. However these emerging fuel types present new risks to seafarers, port workers, the environment and society as a whole. Flammability and toxicity are major challenges presented by these fuel types.

Despite the risks associated with an ammonia leak, the gas is incredibly difficult to detect in small quantities. Safely using these fuels will require heightened levels of awareness and carriage procedures than those associated with traditional marine fuel types. Regulators, ports, and class will need to create rules for safe handling, but proactive real time monitoring and management of these dynamic risks in a port environment will be critical to supporting safe vessel movements and bunkering operations. These types of systems may already exist in static landside infrastructure such as an ammonia plant. But a port environment is dynamic and constantly changing, with vessel movements, bunkering and cargo operations changing risk levels constantly.

We are seeking innovative solutions that can be used to detect small leaks of alternative fuels, provide real time risk monitoring in a port environment, or enable better decision making in an emergency.

Challenge 4- Carbon Capture

Carbon capture and storage technology is a high potential measure that could be adopted in a short timeframe for cutting CO2 emissions from shipping. But making carbon capture viable and financially feasible in container shipping will require a step change in the efficiency of onboard systems.

Most existing carbon capture systems are relatively inefficient, meaning that they do not capture enough carbon before it is released to the atmosphere. They consume large amounts of energy which can only be generated by burning more fuel. Existing systems also require large amounts of storage space onboard which could otherwise be used to carry containers. Finally, there are no widely available mechanisms for discharging captured carbon ashore.

We are seeking innovative solutions that minimise the space required to store captured carbon, dramatically increasing the rate of capture, reduce the energy consumption of onboard systems, or improve the discharge process.

If you have any queries, concerns or comments, or you would like to ask some questions before applying please get in touch:

By email:

By phone: +44 (0) 208 614 0788

By social: @Thetiustech (DMs open)

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