ABS Leads EU-Funded Study on the Future of the EEDI

Meeting of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (file image courtesy IMO)

Published Apr 7, 2020 8:49 PM by Giorgios Plevrakis

The European Commission (EC) has chosen ABS to lead a global consortium tasked with making recommendations for the future of the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for ships.

The commission awarded the consortium of ABS, Vessel Performance Solutions and Arcsilea Ltd. with funding to assess the EEDI’s technical performance and recommend new targets before the 76th meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in October.

The consortium will analyze the EEDI’s ability to deliver design improvements that promote energy efficiency, and evaluate its relationship with a range of technologies, including a fuller range of alternative fuels. The study has been tasked with proposing updated targets for the Index to speed up the deploy­ment of low-carbon solutions and to find new ways to integrate and validate innovative technologies.

Importantly, the study may provide some of the additional policy frame­work the industry will need to achieve the carbon-reduction targets set for 2050. EEDI Phase III has been accelerated to take effect in 2022 for certain ship types, and the EC has asked the consor­tium to return preliminary results before the MEPC meeting scheduled for this October (MEPC 76).

Its deliverables fall into five broad categories. The first is a review of the existing tech­nologies that are improving energy efficiency and the statistics on their use. This step includes the identification of the best ways to incorporate the most promising technolo­gies into EEDI Phase IV.

Survey on existing EEDI implementation

This deliverable will include analyses of sample cases of common commercial ship types for:

  • The EEDI’s ability to motivate design improvements, including identifying today’s best-performing ships and technologies
  • Changes in reference speed
  • Installed power levels since EEDI regulations have entered force, and anticipated trends to EEDI Phase III
  • The limitations to improving efficiency by reducing installed power (given a constant fuel scenario). This focuses on the types of ships to which minimum propulsion power requirements apply (tankers, bulkers, combination carriers).

A summary of the pros and cons of the EEDI framework, including steps to:

  • Analyze and determine whether the EEDI formula sufficiently captures the benefits of design and technology applications
  • Establish the influence of “correction factors” for different ship types
  • Assess the EEDI’s verification process and its implementation, identifying strengths and issues around any weaknesses

Survey on the implementation of innovative technologies

This deliverable is designed to increase industry understanding of why specific design trends and technology modifications are underway in some segments, and why others have not been adopted.

It will evaluate the extent to which alternative fuels and innovative technologies are already implemented onboard ships (in line with the EEDI requirements for phases I & II) and their impact on the Index’s values. The IMO’s verification guide­lines also will be examined.

There will be a comprehensive examination of alternative fuels, with specific foci on their potential to increase the energy efficiency of ships, anticipa­ted maturity rates, (ie, when they may become available at a commercial scale), and how they could be implemented into earlier EEDI phases, if appropriate.

Fine-tuning of the EEDI framework

This investigation will explore the EEDI formula beyond Phase III and propose updated targets, taking into consideration the analysis carried out in the first two stages. It will include an estimate of the environmental impact of any new targets.

To reach the IMO’s goals for an outright reduction of the carbon emissions from ship­ping, a general goal is to speed up the deployment of low-carbon and non-conven­tional power solutions (electric batteries, fuel cells, hybrid solutions, etc.). To that end, this section will examine the most effective ways to integrate new technologies into the EEDI framework when they become available

Based on the principles of MEPC 74/5/13 (Norway), this section will look to address some of the key challenges related to defining the ‘carbon factors’ for alternative fuels, and how ‘transport work’ may relate to carbon intensity, traditionally calculated as gCO2/dwt/nm.

It also will examine the safety implications of minimum powering. 

Consultation of Stakeholders

When the technical assessments from the first three sections have been completed, stakeholder consultations will begin. This process will include:

  • Identifying the stakeholders (from key industry sectors, SMEs, consumers, public authorities, NGOs, etc.)
  • Development of engagement strategies (questionnaires, inter­views, expert panels, etc.) to ensure representative samples of opinion
  • Drafting questionnaires and conducting the consultations
  • Processing and validating the results (including statistical analysis) and preparing an overview

Final Recommendations

Building on the results of the first four deliverables, final recommendations will be issued on:

  • the overall effect of the EEDI implementation and its potential
  • potential improvements to the EEDI verification process
  • proposals for the effective implementation of existing innovative technologies in the EEDI framework, and
  • proposals for EEDI Phase IV

This is a very forward-looking study. Phase IV of the EEDI is already being discussed at the IMO, but nothing has been cast in stone. For that reason, the EU wants to create a structured proposal to work within the framework of the IMO, one that takes into consid­eration all of the data and guidance already provided by the different groups under shipping’s governing body.

ABS believes our consortium was selected to undertake this study because we have proven expertise and extensive experience with analyzing EEDI-related topics. We also believe our consortium - with members from the U.S. and Europe - will provide a fresh perspective as the EEDI moves into its next phases.

Policies will be needed to promote the most promising technologies if shipping is to meet the IMO’s 2050 targets. New ship designs and modern shipowners alone will not be able to achieve them. With that in mind, our consortium will investigate to what extent EEDI Phase IV can be shaped to be one of those policies. 

Georgios Plevrakis is ABS's Director of Sustainability.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.