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Overcoming energy transition challenges: a conversation with Carole Pavaut

Carole Pavaut joined BV Solutions M&O as Director in 2020, bringing with her more than 25 years of experience in maritime industries. In this Market Focus, Carole shares her thoughts on maritime owners’ and operators’ challenges and opportunities as they navigate the ongoing energy transition.

What major challenges do ship owners and operators face in terms of the energy transition?

For one thing, they have to all acknowledge that the energy transition is real, and it is happening. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has made that abundantly clear with its 2030 and 2050 sustainability goals for the industry. Just as a refresher, the IMO is calling for a 40% reduction in GHG emissions—compared with 2008 levels—by 2030, and a 50% reduction by 2050.

And I think the industry as a whole has accepted the need to reduce fuel consumption and be more efficient in its energy use. It’s up to the larger players now to manage and embrace the shift in energy use, while smaller players need help to better understand core issues. Addressing these problems means investing in the necessary research and development projects to effect change.

Where should owners and operators begin in terms of working toward IMO targets?

The best place to start is by monitoring and analyzing current fuel consumption to figure out how best to optimize its use. There are actually plenty of solutions available to address these challenges, but each owner and operator will have different needs, so they need help evaluating which solution best suits them.

Innovative tools like our SEECAT energy model help simulate scenarios utilizing different propulsion techniques, energy-saving devices and hull optimization methods that can improve efficiency. Once operators know which solutions work best in simulations, they can start implementing changes onboard.

What would you prioritize to improve assets’ energy efficiency?

The essential starting point in reducing fuel consumption has to be hull optimization. Ship owners must understand the importance and the benefits of modernizing their existing hulls or designing enhanced models for newbuilds.

A hull’s future performance can be analyzed right from the design stage. A proper evaluation accounts for hull, appendages, energy-saving devices, and superstructures together. We carry out computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses and other inspections that can immediately establish fuel consumption improvement points, offering immediate ROI along with a positive environmental impact.

We’re working with our clients to integrate wind-assisted vessel technology and energy-saving devices into both existing ships and newbuilds to help bring their carbon footprint down. There’s a wide array of possible solutions, from propellers, rudders and rotors to air lubrication systems.

How do new energy sources play into the industry’s future?

I think first we have to look at the overall context within the marine and offshore industries, which have traditionally relied on a single energy solution: fossil fuels. Transitioning to new energy means new costs, availability uncertainty, logistics planning, and impact calculation. And it’s not going to happen as quickly as we’ve seen in the land transport industry. Maritime transport players need more time to restructure an entire industry that is not used to change of this magnitude.

So, new fuels will play a key role in the industry’s future and in targeting the IMO’s new regulations. But it’s not yet clear for ship owners and operators which alternative energies are best for them. The solutions available will be influenced by the type, size and specific routes of a ship.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is an available solution today, which partially responds to the need for cleaner fuel.

But I’d pinpoint hydrogen and ammonia as possibilities for alternative energy, answering specific demands and operations within the industry.

Hydrogen is readily available, inexpensive, and only emits water, making it attractive for use at sea. Ammonia is carbon-free and already transported onboard vessels in the agricultural and chemical industries. These options are promising, but there remain some challenges to overcome before they see use on a large scale. For example, hydrogen requires a lot of space for storage.

How is BV Solutions M&O helping its clients achieve their energy transition goals?

We aim to help ship owners find the right solution depending on their needs and how they use their ships. Innovation is central in everything we do, and we’ve found opportunities to push this over the past year due to the pandemic. We’ve increasingly used drones wherever possible to complete inspections and surveys remotely. We’ve launched a series of webinars where our experts engage with our clients and other industry actors.

But we’re not just innovating in terms of how we use technology. BV Solutions M&O works across the entirety of the global Bureau Veritas organization, providing technical competencies to its centers of excellence and working closely with counterparts to provide a strong presence and innovative perspective in all localities. The teams within the BV Solutions M&O transversal organization, otherwise known as the international Zone, work together to create strong and innovative strategies.

In everything we do, we want to provide services that optimize asset performance and design, ultimately supporting clients’ energy transition goals. With our help, clients can understand and analyze the current state of their fleet, and identify where and how they can improve.

40%reduction in GHG emissions by 2030*
IMO target (compared with 2008 levels)
Photo of Carole Pavaut

Managing Director

BV Solutions M&O

We are here to help marine and offshore industry players transition from traditional to decarbonized energy solutions.