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What is a Green Ship?

written by: Raunekk • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 1/30/2010

The increasing pressure of environmental concerns is forcing the shipyards around the world to make their ships "eco-friendly" in nature. Anyone following this trend must have come across the term "green ships". What does it means and what is its significance? Read inside the article to find out.

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    “Green ship” is a name given to any sea going vessel that contributes towards improving the present environmental condition in some way or the other. The word “green” in “Green Ship” signifies the green cover of the earth, which is unfortunately reducing as a result of the increase of human intervention in environmental activities.

    Maritime industry is one of the greatest contributors of the green house effect, a phenomenon that has drastically affected the earth’s natural ecosystem. Thus, as an effort to reduce carbon emissions coming from the maritime industry and also to support the world movement towards eradicating the green house effect, many shipyards around the world have started inculcating special methods and equipments in their ships, which not only helps in minimizing the carbon foot prints but also in increasing the ships efficiency. These environmentally- friendly ships are known as “Green Ships.”

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    Green Ship Technology

    The greatest contributor of environmental pollution on a ship is the ship’s engine room. The diesel engines and other machinery present in the engine room utilize fuel for their working and release carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases in return. The key to reduce this poisonous emission is to improve the design of these machines and also of the ship. The ships should be designed in such a way that it poses least threat to the environment. Thus, better the design, greener is the ship.

    A greener and efficiently designed ship can be achieved by

    • Minimizing the consumption of materials during ship building.
    • Reducing the usage of energy and toxic materials during ship manufacturing process.
    • Using efficient machinery
    • Improving the overall ship design
    • Reusing of ship’s parts and accessories during ship maintenance.

    Hull design and the kind of materials used in making a ship play a very important role towards the overall efficiency of the ship. For e.g., optimization of hull lines of the ship increases the speed of the ship, saves fuel and also improves the economic efficiency.

    Green ship technology means using methods that reduce emission and energy consumption during ship construction processes such as hull construction, painting and fitting. Moreover, a green ship should also abide by all the rules and regulations related to environmental protection and conservation. Thus, if it’s a green ship then special attention is provided during its manufacturing and service processes.

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    Optimizing Marine Equipments and Systems

    As mentioned earlier, improving the marine machinery is yet another method for making a ship green. The marine equipments chosen for a green ship should consume less energy, emit less pollution and have higher efficiency. This can be done by concentrating on technical aspects of machines such as boilers, main engine, generators, air conditioning system, air compressors etc.

    A green ship also means using new technologies such as advanced hull and propeller systems, exhaust gas scrubber systems, waste recovery system, exhaust gas recirculation system etc. Apart from this, use of right grade of fuel for a particular engine also reduces carbon emission and fuel consumption. This also results in less routine maintenance, demanding reduced human labor and energy.

    Moreover, there are many new technologies that have completely changed the way a ship works, apart from reducing the carbon emission. A few examples of such green technologies are – the electric propulsion system, which uses an electric management system to improve the overall efficiency of the ship while reducing the exhaust; advanced green diesel engines, which consume less fuel, reduce carbon emission and produce least vibration and noise etc.

    Thus, there are many methods for making a green ship green. Also, with the continuous increase in global warming, shipyards around the world are making extra efforts, in their own ways, to contribute towards mitigating the rising environmental concern. Therefore, it can be said that until the conditions related to green house effect don’t improve, the concept of “green ships” is here to stay.