Topical tech debate highlights importance of eco-solutions
In many ways the growth and success of Informa’s Green Ship Technology conference, since its inauguration in 2004, has mirrored the growing importance of ‘eco-environment’ in shipping over that eleven-year period. Indeed, it’s not often you hear the phrase “green” at “green” shipping events these days. Substitute instead with less dated phrases such as ‘sustainability’, ‘life-cycle analysis’, ‘big data’, and ‘corporate social responsibility’.
With around 300 delegates, bolstered by a sensible “shipowners come free” policy, death by PowerPoint was largely replaced by interactive and topical debate and discussions.
In a world where 0.1% ECAs finally exist, there was no outstanding replacement topic to pre-occupy delegates quite like ECAs have in recent years. Although ballast and NOx regulations, and ECA compliance were once again key topics – with technology companies vying for attention from shipowners who are, in their own words, brow-beaten by regulations.
Stealing the show at GST (unashamedly given that they are a long-standing BLUE client!) was air lubrication technology company Silversteam Technologies. Like many small, entrepreneurial companies in shipping proliferating “environmental solutions”, Silverstream – and its previous incarnation, DK Group – has endured long-standing scepticism to its concept of pumping micro-bubbles under the hull of vessels to reduce friction and improve aero-dynamics, saving fuel costs and emissions.
The company, which has being pioneering air lubrication since the first GST, was the talk of the event due to the results of its verified sea trial, funded by Shell and in conjunction with Lloyds Register, as well as its subsequent first commercial order from Norwegian Cruise Line. It provided a reference point in many discussions for what can be achieved with a great idea, hard work, thick skins and partners that are committed to developing a rigorous and transparent trial process, that leaves no stone unturned, or doubts in the minds of even the most cynical and conservative within the shipping industry.
Hopefully it won’t take another eleven years before we hear of another Silverstream-style success story in shipping.