Meet the maritime researcher. Ivan Stenius work at the aeronautical and vehicle engineering department at KTH as an Assistant Professor. He’s also the director for SMaRC, Swedish Maritime Robotics Centre, and tries to make underwater robots to do advanced manouvers in the water.
What’s the purpose of these underwater robots??
– One thought is, for example, that you can get better environmental monitoring, you can replace some vessels and operations demanding large resources, for example in order to take samples or measurements in marine environments. Or to be able to access remote areas that have not previously been accessible, for example beneath icebergs in polar areas, which are basically some of the few white spots left on earth. These vehicles could be an instrument or facilitator to help us learn more about what it looks like in those places, Ivan Stenius says.
– These kinds of operations require endurance in time and distance so that they can get the required distances, and that they can go down to very deep depths. But it also requires a very high degree of intelligence in the craft itself. It should be able to make very advanced decisions, all by itself, depending on whether something unforeseen happens during its mission and the craft should be able to secure the data and find its way home.
Swedish Maritime Robotics Centre, SMaRC Swedish Maritime Robotics Center (SMaRC), is a national, interdisciplinary focal point for research and development of maritime robots for mariculture, field monitoring and environmental measurements. SMaRC is funded by the Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF). In addition to KTH, researchers from Stockholm and Gothenburg University are part of SMaRC. Industrial partners are SAAB, MMT Sweden, FMV and FOI.
– There is a lot happening within autonomy above water, on land, and the trend towards more autonomous systems is believed to happen underwater as well. Therefore, SMArC is important and we can hopefully achieve what we call disruptive techniques or system-changing technologies where new technology can do things in a completely different way that you could do before.
Would you like to tell me more about your part of this research?
– My interest in this research is about seeing how we can get these vehicles in the future to manoeuvre and do tricks in a different way than they can do today. One example is if you have an advanced sensor, where you can only afford or place one sensor in the craft. If you then can aim this sensor in several directions, you can take double advantage of the sensor. For example, if you want to chart the bottom, you can aim the sensor downward or if you want to chart a mountain side under water, you can aim it aside. Or if you’re under the ice, you might want to aim it up and watch the ice from below. In order for the craft to be able to get very long endurance, one wants to carry out multiple missions, and then the craft should be able to dock into a small garage where it can charge energy, upload data, update the software and so on. This should be able to do autonomously.
Can you give us a future vision where smart underwater vehicles are part of everyday life?
– For example, you may use the sea to grow algae’s. The area may be 10 hectares, and what would the farmer’s tools be like? You need to monitor the crop, find out whether it’s time to harvest, if the crop has any diseases or other things you need to keep an eye on. In that kind of scenario, you may have the help of underwater robots of various kinds, to maintain and monitor the crop.
What makes your job fun?
– I think the multidisciplinary aspect throughout this work is very fun. There are different types of engineering disciplines that work together, and researchers such as marine biologists, glaciologists, polar scientists and more, who work together to make this a whole and contribute to a greater benefit. We aim to draw the research into becoming demonstrators in as realistic environments as possible. It is research close to real life application in a fairly realistic environment, so we can identify the challenges. That’s what I think makes it fun, but also challenging.
Following negotiations at IMO Environmental Committee meeting MEPC 72, over 170 member states have agreed that shipping CO2 emissions shall be halved by 2050 compared to 2008. A very important first step, which should probably have been greater.
Shipping is not included in the Paris Agreement, and this is the first time that IMO has agreed to a greenhouse gas agreement. According to IMO’s own estimates, shipping accounts for 2.2% of CO2-emissions, and the share is expected to increase in line with increasing trade and transport needs.
– The agreement is an important step, but I would have liked the step to be much bigger. But it’s very important that we now have a common focus and goal. This puts demands on research and innovation in order for the shipping fleet to become greener, says Lighthouse director Åsa Burman.
A 50% reduction is not considered sufficient to be in line with the Paris agreement, that the Earth’s average temperature should not increase by more than 1.5 degrees. Therefore, many, within and outside IMO, wanted more ambitious goals. From the EU there was a requirement of at least a 70% reduction and ultimately the goal of shipping to be completely fossil free. However, resistance from, among others, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Panama has led to the lower target of a 50 percent decrease.
In a press release from Swedish Shipowner’s Assocication, environmental officer Fredrik Larsson welcomes the decision. He has been part of the Swedish delegation at IMO during the negotiations.
“For Swedish Shipping, this is a positive and very welcome decision, as Sweden is a strong contributing party in after exemplary negotiations. Another positive factor contributing to the decision was that the entire international shipping industry stood up saying “we both want and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions but need ambitious targets”.
Fredrik Larsson also says:
– Swedish Shipping supports this historical and international decision on shipping greenhouse gas emissions and has been working for a zero emissions vision by 2050 for several years. Our member companies are at the forefront of sustainable shipping and the decision confirms that our investments are correct. Among other things, Swedish shipping companies have converted existing vessels and ordered new vessels, ranging from LNG operations, methanol to wind and batteries, in addition to extensive energy efficiency measures. We will continue to contribute to achieving the climate goals, and I am sure we can not only achieve but also exceed the goals if we get the help needed by our decision makers, Fredrik Larsson says.
Humans, operating and riding High-Performance Marine Craft (HPMC) in rough seas at high speeds require high level of performance capability. In his licentiate thesis, Pahansen de Alwis at KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, writes, “it is worth considering that even though the designers develop unbreakable craft, they are operated by the humans with fragile structures”.
High-Performance Marine Craft (HPMC) is a complex man-machine system demanded with high level of performance, not only the craft but also the personnel aboard. These craft are often deployed by navies, coast guards, customs, marine pilots, special military operations and rescue units for maritime interdiction and intervention, seizure operations, search and rescue, rapid insertion and extraction of crews and surveillance.
Day and night, they are demanded to operate these craft at high speed in rough seas to accomplish their missions. The High-Performance Marine Craft Personnel (HPMCP), i.e. crew and passengers, aboard these craft often wear heavy operational equipment, including body armour, helmets and sometimes night vision goggles.
Vibration and repeated shock Operating and riding a HPMC under these circumstances leaves the personnel vulnerable to many psychophysical consequences. A consistently identified fact is that the exposure to work environments containing vibration and repeated shock elevates the risk of adverse effects on human health and performance, which is also true for HPMCP. There are many HPMC deployed in the field and many personnel work aboard these craft and many more to come.
Therefore, in his research, Pahansen de Alwis and his research colleagues have developed a method to continuously analyse the exposure conditions aboard HPMC in order to feedback the crew indicating the risk of acute injuries due to severe impacts and the risk of adverse effects due to accumulated vibration exposure.
Then web-based questionnaires have been developed, validated and reliability tested in order to survey the health and working conditions of HPMCP.
Why do we know so little about this area? Human factors and HPMC?
– If you look at human factors, there are many studies about human factors but mainly on ergonomics perspective. Studies related to human performance are also now coming up but related to health are lacking. For health aspects, epidemiological data is required. It could be either registry data or data collected via surveys. Lack of epidemiological data limits the knowledge in this area, Pahansen de Alwis says.
Pilot study The questionnaire tools have also been tested in a pilot study on a set of military seaborne personnel. During eight weeks, craft acceleration and GPS data was recorded by vibration measurement systems installed on board four HPMC while work related exposure, health and performance data was collected using the web-based questionnaires.
Even though data is limited, the results of the pilot study indicate a considerable level of pain incidence and high level of vibration exposure, exceeding the upper limit for the lifetime exposure as recommended in ISO2631-5:2004. This confirms that there is a relationship between vibration exposure and the health impairments in personnel aboard HPMC.
Further, a cross sectional study has been conducted on the personnel of the Swedish Coast Guard. Data from 342 coastguard officers shows that musculoskeletal pain and mental fatigue are prevalent among the study population. Musculoskeletal pain prevalence is comparatively higher than that of the general population and similar populations signifying the consideration of the human factors in terms of health and performance in HPMC design and operation.
What has surprised you in your findings?
– One important observation was that there are visually identifiable trends in the correlation between subjective and objective work exposure. It was also observed during the pilot test that most of the time the daily vibration exposure is above the daily vibration dose levels recommended in the ISO standards as well as EU legislations, although the seaborne personnel have been exempted from EU legislation limit values. Another interesting observation, during the pilot study, was that the navigators’ acceleration levels are higher than that of the drivers’, Pahansen de Alwis says.
Future work The research will now be continued with further collection of data from the Swedish Coast Guard in order to get sufficient subjective and objective data about work-exposure, health and performance of HPMCP. The aim is to identify and quantify exposure-effect relationships facilitating better use of the existing standards, supporting ongoing development of the existing standards and providing information to draw appropriate design and operational limits in rules and regulations.
How do you want your work and findings to be used in the future?
– The method for real-time crew feedback system can be used to inform HPMC crews about their exposure conditions during regular high-speed operations in terms of the risk of adverse effects on human health and performance. So that the craft operators can take necessary actions to reduce the risk, Pahansen de Alwis says.
– Once the relationships between the working conditions aboard HPMC and the adverse effects on human in terms of health and performance are quantified, the acceptable levels of vibration exposure for HPMCP can be drawn. Therefore, design and operational limits can be decided upon.
– When the factors affecting human health and performance due to working conditions aboard HPMC are found, required design changes can be made at the design phase and preventive actions can be taken in the operational phase. This is valid for the quantification of the exposure-effect relationships too.
Therefore, Pahansen de Alwis sees the following steps:
Determination of the factors affecting human health and performance due to work aboard HPMC
Identification of the acceptable levels of exposure
Setting-up the design and operational exposure limits
Optimization of HPMC design and operation in terms of human limits
– Finally, we need to establish the balance between the craft’s ability and the human’s capability to make the most out of the technical resources, i.e. a balanced man-machine system, Pahansen de Alwis says.
The Swedish Energy Agency launches a 6-year shipping R&I program, worth a total of SEK 83 million. The program is long-awaited and represents an important reinforcement of maritime research and innovation in Sweden.
The program will start now in 2018 and last until 2023.
– This is a really important program because many of the shipping challenges are energy-related. There are many talented and foreseeable players in Swedish shipping companies and among maritime technology companies that can affect shipping operations and technical installations far beyond Sweden, with the opportunity to increase employment and export revenues, says Lighthouse Director Åsa Burman.
Prior to the program, the Swedish Energy Agency has conducted analyses that show that maritime transport activities have good opportunities to lead to increased sustainability and strengthened competitiveness for the Swedish maritime sector.
– We have been working on getting a shipping program since Lighthouse started as a national center just over three years ago. Our first work at Lighthouse was to prioritise key R&I areas, together with our partners and members, and describe challenges and research issues. It became very clear that many issues are related to energy consumption, efficiency and alternative fuels. We then launched a dialogue with the Energy Agency and presented the industry, its logic and stakeholders. I am very proud and pleased that the programme now is becoming reality and that we have been able to contribute by gathering the industry and demonstrating needs and opportunities, Åsa Burman says.
The program runs from 2018-03-22 until 2023-12-31 and has a total budget of SEK 83 million. Information about the first call from the program will be published shortly on the Swedish Energy Agency website.
EU has decided on a system for Monitoring, Reporting and Verifying (MRV) emissions of carbon dioxide from ships in Europe starting 1st of January 2018. This means both that ship-owners will have to develop systems for reporting and that there will be a potential data source for assessing emissions and fuel consumption for ships. A new Lighthouse study examines how MRV data can be used by the maritime sector for the calculations of the environmental performance of shipping.
The MRV system is expected to result in reduced fuel consumption and will open up for future policy measures to reduce the emissions. This report demonstrates the methods for preparing the data for reporting, looks at uncertainties and drawbacks and discusses the potential use of the data.
The MRV will require monitoring of fuel consumption, CO2-emissions, cargo and other parameters for all voyages to or from EU ports. Yearly average data will be made publicly available on individual ship basis.
Four ways of monitoring The fuel consumption can be monitored in four different ways: bunker delivery notes, fuel tank monitoring, fuel flow measurements or direct monitoring of CO2 emission. The way cargo is calculated varies between ship types. Actual mass of cargo is most common but also unit weight (e.g. for TEU and lane-meter) multiplied by occupancy can be used in some cases. Estimating fuel consumption from bunker delivery notes, or calculating cargo from number of units, are believed to give significant uncertainties in the results for emissions of CO2 per transport work (g CO2/tonne-NM).
Drawbacks identified with MRV, in addition to these uncertainties, are that other green-house gases, such as methane, not are included, and that upstream emissions, from fuel production and fuel transportation, also are excluded. Further, the reporting procedures for biogenic CO2 are still unclear.
Opportunities with MRV-data However, when large amounts of data are made public in the summer of 2019 there will be an opportunity to improve benchmarking and emission calculations, especially related to transport work, which is important for increasing accuracy of emission inventory studies and cost-benefits studies of shipping. It is also suggested that the uncertainties in the calculation process and data collection should be studied further.
EU system, Monitoring, Reporting, verifying (MRV), means that ships moving in the waters around EU should report their CO2 emissions and transport work. The feasibility study will answer how MRV data can be used by the maritime sector for the calculations of the environmental performance of shipping. The feasibility study’s overall objective is to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and provide a better understanding of industry challenges around MRV.
Initiating parties: IVL, Chalmers Prioritised areas: Evaluation and reduction of any negative effects shipping has on the climate, environment and public health • Financial incentives to support transition to sustainability within the maritime industry