Research  Projects

Ongoing research projects


Recent news from the project:

1.    Project meeting with China partners will be held at HRS offices on Monday 14/12/2015

2.    Project results presented during the Annual Meeting of the Hellenic Institute of Marine Technology (25/11/2015)

Project Description
The use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel for propulsion of commercial ships can lead to both the significant reduction of the ship engines exhaust gas emissions (CO2, NOx, SOx, PM) and the lower operational cost due to the substantial lower price of LNG (compared to the Diesel fuels). Thus, LNG fueled ships are expected to dominate in medium to long-term due to the rising of fuel prices, the tightening of legislation concerning the ship energy indices (EEDI, EEOI) and gaseous emissions and the discovery and extraction of new gas sources worldwide.

The proposal that was applied by our Organization and Harbin Engineering University won the 2nd place between 80 candidates and obtained a funding approval on the context of the European call “Bilateral R&D Cooperation between Greece and China 2012 – 2014”. The basic concept of the present work is the development of new technology and technical Regulatory framework for conversion of the existing shuttle ferries and containerships in order for their diesel propulsion plants to operate on either using liquefied natural gas (LNG) or Diesel fuel. Two types of ships will be dealt with in this work, namely open type ferries and large containerships. Two different national groups of project partners will be involved, namely Greek and Chinese. The former will focus on the shuttle ferries operating on (Greek) domestic routes and the latter on the containerships operating on national and international routes. The study will include the modifications on the ship propulsion installation, the auxiliary systems and machinery required for the storage and use of liquefied natural gas as fuel for ships, the additional requirements for the ship safety systems, the regulations required at national and international level for the operation of ships with LNG fuel, the land based installations and the means for LNG bunkering and the economic – environmental impact assessment of the proposed conversion.

The expected results of the project will be as follows:

•    Full set of plans and procedures required for an open type ferry to issue a conversion permit towards the conversion of her propulsion plant into a dual fueled Diesel-LNG engine. Development of new technical Rules and Regulations governing the conversion of open type ferries and operate their main propulsion engines on either natural gas or diesel fuel.
•    Theoretical and experimental investigations of the parameters affecting the Diesel-LNG fueled engine performance (power output, emissions etc.).
•    Theoretical investigation of the critical parts/assemblies of the LNG fueling system (i.e. storage tanks, piping, cryogenic system, gasification system etc.) for open type ferries and containerships.
•    Technical requirements and specifications of ship safety arrangements (i.e. fire fighting, gas detection, ship evacuation etc.).
•    Proposal to the Governing Regulating Bodies to implement the findings of this research in form of new related regulations or/and improved existing legislation for open type ferries and containerships.
•    Investigation of LNG bunkering alternatives at national (Greece-China) and international level.
•    Estimate the cost effectiveness of the proposed schemes for the Greek and Chinese sides.
•    Environmental evaluation of the proposed schemes (gaseous emissions, EEDI, EEOI).

In total, five partners participate in the research project. From the Greek side there are three partners, Hellenic Register of Shipping (HRS), the Department of Naval Architecture of Technological Educational Institute of Athens (TEI-A) and the Naval Design Office N. Petyhakis (NDO). As for the Chinese side there are two partners, the Harbin Engineering University (HEU) and the China International Marine Containers (Group) Ltd. (CIMC). The project steering committee is on the top of the Organizational structure of the project and consists of the project coordinator and the project scientific supervisors for the Greek and Chinese sides. The project coordinator is Mr. K. Krimitzas from HRS, whereas the project scientific supervisor (Greek side) is Dr. G. Theotokatos from the TEI-A. The Chinese side scientific supervisor is Dr. Ding from the HEU. On the middle level (below the project steering committee) is the project coordination team, which consists of the Greek and Chinese coordination teams. The Greek side coordination team consists of the Greek partner coordination persons, namely: Mr. Krimitzas (HRS) and Dr. Livanos (TEI-A). The Chinese side coordination team consists of two persons, one from each Chinese partner, namely: Dr. Ding from the HEU and Mr. Zhou from the CIMC. The partners working teams are on the lower level of the project organizational structure and each one is coordinated by the coordinator person of the respective partner. A diagram of the project organizational structure as well as the interactions between the responsible persons, committees and working teams are presented in the following figure.

The expected benefits for the participant research organizations are summarized as follows:

•    Both Greek and Chinese sides are interested in implementing LNG fuel technology for ship propulsion due to financial and environmental reasons
•    Strengthening the relations between the Greek and Chinese Higher Education institutes, cooperation in research activities between Greek-China institutes
•    Transferring the Chinese experience in engine experimental technology in the Greek higher education institute
•    Transferring the Greek experience in ship propulsion plant simulation technology to the Chinese University
•    Collaboration between Universities/Higher Education Institutes and companies with expected benefits for both sides

The expected benefits for the participant companies are summarized as follows:
•    Fruitful cooperation and technology transfer between an esteemed traditional ship-owing Country (Greece) and a fast developing ship-building country (China)
•    The Greek companies having a significant experience in ship building in national level will come into contact with a company form the greatest world ship builder (China) thus obtaining important benefits
•    The Chinese company will obtain access to the produced plans and approval procedures derived by the Greek companies
•    Exchanging of Greek researchers/students for working in the Chinese University and Chinese researchers/students for working in the Higher Education Institute

LNG usage will come into force in the forthcoming future, imposed by the implementation of stringent emission limits and the increased environmental awareness for clean transportation. For the Greek territory it would be of great importance the conversion of the propulsion plants of the existing open ferries, which are used for short distance route close to urban areas, from the Diesel fuel mode to the LNG fuel mode. That is owing to the following reasons: the fuel economy that is obtained using LNG fuel and the lower gaseous emissions compared to the Diesel engines. The former is crucial for the Greek state since both Diesel and LNG fuels are imported, whereas the latter will have a positive consequence for improving the air quality of the urban area. On the other hand, the Chinese side, due to its activities in the shipbuilding sector, is greatly interested either in converting the propulsion plant of existing containerships for the Diesel mode to the LNG mode or studying containerships propulsion plants operating with LNG fuel.

The project will contribute to a) the reinforcement of the research activities in TEI of Athens, b) the cooperation between researchers and academic staff of Greek and China Higher education Institutes, c) the increase of collaboration between Higher education institutes and companies of the maritime sector d) the offer of employment to Greek researchers in their field of their expertise, as well as incentives to stay in Greece contributing to the research and development.

There is an obvious necessity for obtaining a reduction of all of the ship gaseous emissions (including CO2), as well as lowering the ship operational cost. Therefore, activities on LNG fuel technology transfer in marine sector, which have associated advantages (both environmental and economic), will lie at the centre of the research effort in the field of marine technology for the next years.

The completion of the project will facilitate the use and exploitation of project results in the future research works concerning the conversion or the design of other ship types with LNG/Diesel propulsion plants. In addition, the international competitiveness of the research group will be strengthened.

The expected benefits, for the Greek maritime companies that will use such technologies in their ships, would be the decrease of ship operating costs and the facilitation of ship sailing in emissions control areas (ECAs or SECAs). Therefore, the company competitiveness will increase, whereas the expected benefits for the environment would be the global reduction of CO2 and the rest engine gaseous emissions as well as the reduction of pollutant sources close to urban areas.


Recently finished research projects


The environmental impact of ships has always been among the primary concerns of the maritime industry. However, in light of the stricter legislations that will be put into force in the near future, shipbuilders and ship-owners search for ways to comply with the Energy Efficiency Design and Operation Index that is currently being considered at IMO.

The greening of shipping operations has to do with more than just the amount of NOx, SOx and CO2 gases emitted at any period of time: the fact that for every tonne of fuel burnt approximately three tonnes of CO2 are produced indicates that the environmental performance of ships is linked to their cost-effectiveness. As a result, consistent energy management onboard will become a priority for rule compliance, and robustness against unpredictable financial fluctuations.

Due to forthcoming international regulatory developments for air emissions in the maritime industry, a series of tools and methodologies that will offer the European operators the knowledge and tools to respond cost – effectively and efficiently to the oncoming legislation in uncertain financial periods are currently being developed in this project. The research focuses on the installed systems onboard the ships under consideration and does not address their hydrodynamic performance. More specifically the objectives of Refresh can be summarised as follows:

•    Development and customisation of dynamic energy modelling routines of the systems onboard;
•    Optimisation of the energy efficiency and exhaust gas emissions for the remaining of the life cycle of the ships under consideration;
•    Monitoring and management techniques for establishing the best possible practices during operation;
•    Development of a decision support tool (DSS), where the above developments will be integrated and will allow ashore personnel and crew to manage the energy performance of ships.

Considering the fact that more than 40% of the world’s fleet is comprised of container ships, tankers, bulk carriers and passenger ships, Refresh will elaborate these ship types only. Refresh will address the aspects of retrofitting, allow onboard and ashore personnel to monitor the performance of the ship and adopt appropriate practices as a function of its operational profile.

The partners for the consortium have been selected according to their expertise and strategic interests, and have a first class match with the objectives of REFRESH. In order to provide a set of tangible and readily deployable methodologies and tools for one of the top agenda items of the maritime industry, it has been necessary to assemble such team of experts from across Europe. The consortium of REFRESH brings together a complementary partnership of 19 organisations comprising:

•    3 shipyards (MSD, LCS and SGDP)
•    3 consultancies with extended experience in retrofitting (VD, AMS and ST)
•    3 operators (ANEK, CSME and NAV) participating directly in the consortium and 2 more (Maran Tankers and COSTAMARE container ships) represented by AMS
•    3 research and development oriented SME (SAS, TV and ENI)
•    2 universities (NTUA and SSRC)
•    2 class societies (HRS and ABS)
•    2 associations (AIN and ACL) and 1 local authority (FC)



Finished research projects

1. Dynamic behavior of misaligned bearings.
Scientific Responsible: University of Patras
End-User: H.R.S.
Funding:H.R.S. - Hellenic Ministry of Development
Duration: 1995 – 1996

2.  On the specification of the roll radius of gyration for RO/RO Passenger Ships
Scientific responsible: National Technical University of Athens
End-User: H.R.S.
Duration: 1996 – 1997

3. Software development for the study of the ship structures integrity.
Scientific Responsible: H.R.S.
In collaboration with: National Technical University of Athens
Funding: H.R.S. - Hellenic Ministry of Development
Duration: 1996 - 1999

4. Development of a rational approach for the assessment of ships wave loading. (Based on the wave climate of several sea areas)
Scientific Responsible: H.R.S.
In collaboration with: National Technical University of Athens
Funding: H.R.S. - Hellenic Ministry of Development
Duration: 1996 – 1999

5. Development of a hybrid CAD system for the design of surfaces and solids. Application in Naval Architecture and Mechanical Engineering.
Scientific Responsible: National Technical University of Athens
Technical consultant / End User: H.R.S.
Funding: Hellenic Ministry of Development
Duration:1996 - 1997

6. CA – FSEA: Concerted Action on Formal Safety and Environmental Assessment.
Concerted Action funded by EC
Duration: 1997-1999

7. Development of design principles for the construction of High Speed Craft in F.R.P.
Scientific Responsibles: H.R.S.-NTUA
Funding: H.R.S. - Hellenic Ministry of Development
Duration: 1996 - 2000

8. Design for Safety: An Integrated Approach to Safe European Ro/Ro Ferry Design (SAFER EURORO)
Thematic Network funded by EC
Duration: 1997 - 2001

9. An integrated system for electronic management of drawings and codes with application to Naval Architecture.

Scientific Responsibles: H.R.S.
In collaboration with: National Technical University of Athens
Funding: H.R.S. - Hellenic Ministry of Development
Duration: 1999 - 2001

10. Development of Rules and Regulations for the design, construction and certification of marinas & floating pontoons.
Scientific Responsibles: H.R.S.
In collaboration with: National Technical University of Athens
Funding: H.R.S. - Hellenic Ministry of Development
Duration: 1999 - 2001

11. Design optimization of Ro/Ro Passenger vessel of new technology.
Scientific Responsibles: NTUA
Partners: HRS, Elefsis Shipyards, MARTEDEC
Funding: Elefsis Shipyards - H.R.S. - Hellenic Ministry of Development
Duration: 1998 - 2000

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