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Odfjell's energy-efficiency program: Makeovers for a more sustainable fleet

Over the last few years, Odfjell vessels have undergone nothing less than a complete makeover – with groundbreaking effects in energy efficiency and overall quality.

Our vessels sail around the world, through different ecosystems and climates, visiting a multitude of destinations every year. This takes a toll on our vessels, and it takes a toll on the environment.

Odfjell aims to be a front runner in minimizing our environmental footprints. We continuously raise the bar for our operations, and have initiated several projects to become more eco-friendly and energy-efficient.

We invest heavily in environmentally friendly technologies that give remarkable results: Since 2009, Odfjell has increased the energy efficiency of our managed fleet by 30%. Among the initiatives is our retrofit and propulsion line upgrade.

The many port calls make a mark on the hull.

Bow Triumph coming into the yard for drydock maintenance in 2018. Photo: Yoana Valdivia

In-house innovation sets a new standard

The retrofit program was launched in 2015 after years of dedicated research. The concept is developed by Odfjell, in cooperation with MAN Diesel & Turbo, Grenaa Motorfabrik, Marintek and ABB AS Turbocharging. Together we have built a unique and highly effective upgrade program for rudder systems, propellers and main engines.

“This project shows Odfjell at its finest; it is a result of a true team effort, and demonstrate the deep know-how of our organization. The vessels are lifted to a level that responds to – and goes beyond – the current expectations for energy efficiency and eco-friendliness”

Kristian Mørch, CEO

The first upgrade was dedicated to Odfjell’s core owned fleet: The Kværner and Poland lines. The Kværner vessels were delivered from yard in the 1990s, the Poland vessels from 2003 to 2007. The age is in itself no measure for the ships’ unique qualities, and Odfjell wanted to secure that this high-end tonnage can stay in trade for many years to come.

The old coating is completely removed, preparing for the new, high-performance paint.

Bow Star at the 2019 drydocking. Photo: Alessio Contran.

The retrofit upgrades cover:

  • Propeller blades
  • Rudder-bulb (bulb welded to rudder to minimize energy loss, by reducing turbulence and recover energy from propeller slipstream)
  • Main engine
  • Turbochargers
  • Shaft generation gear
  • Machinery
  • Hull coating with high-performance silicon paint
  • Environmental Acceptable Lubricant (EAL)
  • Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS)

After the retrofit, the vessels are among the most energy efficient chemical tankers in the world. Even vessels that have passed 20 years of age are now at the same level as vessels being built today – achieving the highest score on the RightShip emission rating, A+.

The Rightship emission rating compares the relative efficiency of the world's fleet, using an A to G scale. Photo: Thomas Kohnle

“We are involved in many projects related to energy saving and the reduction of emissions. Odfjell is one of our clients showing great technological interest and willingness to apply energy-saving measures to reduce emissions”

Dr. Kourosh Koushan, Research Manager at Marintek,
when the project was launched.

Bow Clipper was the first vessel to be upgraded back in 2015. The 40,000 dwt Kværner vessel has been a trusted part of Odfjell’s trade since she was delivered from yard in 1995. The Kværner vessels were at the time built – and still are – the most advanced chemical tankers in the world, bristling with sophisticated technology. But technology develops and age makes its mark, so after 20 years of service the upgrade was well timed.

The installation went according to plan, but although various tests had been done along with the developing phase, the effects of the retrofit were still not bulletproofed. We wanted to verify results in a full-scale test: Bow Clipper was fully loaded – with several thousand tonnes more cargo than the initial sea trial – and sent directly from the yard to the Meditteranean.

The results were remarkable: A decreased fuel consumption of more than 20%, with matching reduced emissions.

New propeller blades and rudder-bulb installation completed on Bow Star. Photo: Alessio Contran

“This innovative project sets a benchmark in the Odfjell fleet. I am proud to be on board and to sail with an environmentally friendly, 20 years old – lovely, fine lady”

Captain Randy Allan D. Cabaio

Four years in, the initial results are verified every day for all the 19 retrofitted vessels, all the while making significant cuts in Odfjell’s emissions and bunker expenses.

Last ships out are Bow Star and Bow Flower. In April, the 2004 built, 40,000 dwt Poland vessel Bow Star is up for her 15-year drydock, and is treated to a complete makeover at the Chengxi Shipyard in China. In May, Bow Flower, the 1994 built, 40,000 dwt Kværner vessel moves into the same yard.   

Under the supervision of Odfjell’s Technical Superintendents Alessio Contran and Bård Lysen, the rudder bulb, high-efficiency propeller blades as well as a Ballast Water Treatment System are installed. The hull is covered with high-performance silicon paint, the main engine is fully overhauled and derated from 12,750 kW to 9,500 kW for emissions and consumption (Specific Fuel Oil Consumption) optimization, the Bow Thruster unit is replaced with a new one for bio-oil (Environmental Acceptable Lubricant) compatibility, and the mooring arrangements are adjusted to fit the New Panama Canal requirements.

End result: the two ships in Odfjell’s core fleet appear in a brand new suit, ready to take on the next years in service for our customers.

Bow Star leaves the yard after her drydocking in April 2019. Photo: Alessio Contran

With the retrofit program and with the range of brand new vessels entering our fleet these days, Odfjell now operates one of the most eco-friendly fleets within the chemical tanker segment.

The work to further reduce our footprints continues with full speed. The results prove that investing in environmentally friendly technology does not just benefit the environment – it secures safe operations, longer working life for our vessels, and saves cost. Green efforts do not lead to red numbers.

Odfjell's and the yard's crew gather in front of a renewed Bow Flower. Photo: Bård Lysen

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