CEDA Dredging Days talks efficient business

Energy transition panel from left: Michel Deruyck – Jan de Nul; Eric de Deckere – Port of Antwerp; Kaj Portin – Wärtsilä; and Klaas Visser – Delft University of Technology. Credit: CEDA/Ernst de Groot

During this year’s dredging flagship event Dredging Days in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, attendees engaged in discussions revolving around emission reduction, new technology, and sustainability

This year’s CEDA Dredging Days, hosted alongside the Europort exhibition in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, kicked off with a topical debate on energy emissions. Kaj Portin, programme manager at Wärtsilä, said that customers want to be flexible when it comes to future propulsion of ships, including dredgers. “People want all sorts of fuels, gaseous as well as liquid,” he told the Dredging Days audience. This flexibility in investing in alternative, low-sulphur fuels, however, comes with the price tag. “You won’t get paid back until a few years after with new technology on board,” he concluded.

The introductory debate set the scene for a number of presentations being given after that discussed different propulsion methods for dredgers and auxiliary equipment such as energy storage systems.

Benny Mestemaker from Royal IHC talked about how installing the latter can avoid a hybrid engine switching from natural gas to the undesirable, higher emissions, diesel propulsion during operations.

His research focused on how large this storage system must be to serve as stop gap. “The type and size of the energy storage system depends on the task it has to perform. An energy storage system can perform several tasks, such as assisting the engine during transient loading, supplying additional power during high loads, powering a vessel during low load, and functioning as a standby power supply for dynamic positioning.”

He concluded, “To prevent the occurrence of an engine mode change the power of the energy storage system needed to be increased 25% for the drive system with two generator sets and 15% for the drive system with three generator sets.”

Reducing emissions is one way to make operations more efficient. Other efficiency measures were discussed for the dredging process itself. Simon Burgmans, in2Dredging, Australia, reminded the audience how important, and readily available performance monitoring is. “Any dredge with a digital system can acquire data and make this data available for performance reviewing purposes. It is such daily equipment performance monitoring that allows clients to better safeguard their reputations as well as their budgets and schedules and that allows contractors to reduce cost.”

Aside of the traditional presentations, the conference featured an interactive session that saw the audience grouped into different stakeholders to discuss the case of a dredging project gone awry. The aim was to sensitise the attendees to do work sustainably, which includes involvement of stakeholders such as fishermen and local citizens in order to avoid conflict.

To foster the relationship with the next generation of dredging engineers, scientists, and seven junior dredging employees presented their research. This included presentations on 3D printing artificial reefs using sand, looking at the liquification behaviour of quartz sand in bulk carriers, reservoir dredging to ensure water flow for hydro dams, as well as low emission vessels.