The Future Island Ferries are Here

By Franz Evegren
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Eco-Island ferry, a displacing passenger ship designed to replace a representative island ferry in the Swedish or Danish archipelago. Photo: Niels Kyhn Hjørnet

SP Fire Technology has in a Swedish-Danish consortium developed a detailed process to build environmentally friendly and fire safe island ferries in fiber reinforced polymer composite.

Authorities, the public and customers are increasingly demanding sustainable designs. Shipping may be the most environmentally friendly means of transportation but the industry still has great potential to reduce its impact. A lightweight ship construction can generate large ecological and economic benefits as the ship weight is strongly associated with the use of fossil fuels. SP Fire Technology has carried out extensive research in the area and has amongst many other results showed that use of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite in merchant ships can give a reduced structural weight of up to 60%, which gives about the same reduction in fuel consumption.

A problem when it comes to use of FRP composite in ships is that combustible materials in the construction are normally not allowed by fire safety regulations. Many regulations although provide an opening for alternative fire safety design and require to comply with the regulation for alternative design and arrangements for fire safety in the code for merchant ships on international voyages, Regulation 17 in SOLAS. It gives an equivalence principle which expresses that alternative design solutions are accepted if they provide a degree of safety not less than that achieved by using the prescriptive requirements. The methodology has been successfully demonstrated in the project "Eco-Island Ferry" on an island trafficking passenger ferry where FRP composite has been used in the design of the whole ship structure.

Eco-Island ferry
It was after a kick off meeting with the title “Light Weight Marine structures” in the EU project MARKIS in 2010 that an industrial group in North Jutland, Denmark and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden started to discuss displacement (i.e. not high-speed) ferries with reduced environmental footprint. This led to a Swedish-Danish consortium with the objective to open up for the construction of this type of ferry in the Swedish and Danish region.

The project was given the name “Øko-Ø-færge” (Eco-Island ferry) and a project group was formed consisting of representatives from Swedish and Danish universities, shipyards, research institutes and consultant agencies in naval architecture and life cycle assessment. A project plan was drawn up for the project and an application case was designed with the same capacity as a representative island ferry selected in the Danish archipelago (10 knots, 200 passengers and 6 cars). For the designed Eco-Island ferry the total weight could be reduced to a third thanks to use of FRP composite and the consequent effects a reduced structural weight has on other parts of the ship, e.g. the engine. Life cycle assessments showed a similar reduction in environmental impact and a payback time of 5 years at 8 hours of operation per day. An essential part of the project was to also perform a complete assessment of the fire safety on the Eco-Island ferry according to Regulation 17 in SOLAS, which was carried out by SP Fire Technology. The aim was to bring the Eco-Island ferry, built in FRP composite materials, through all regulations and over potential barriers to acquire an acceptance in principle from authorities.

Assessment of fire safety
The procedure of a Regulation 17 assessment can be described as a deterministic risk assessment consisting of two parts, a qualitative preliminary analysis and a quantitative analysis. In the first part the scope of the alternative design is defined as well as the deviations to prescriptive requirements. Fire hazards are identified and based on these it is possible to develop representative fire scenarios and suitable trial alternative designs. This was documented for the Eco-Island ferry in a preliminary analysis report which indicated that the key areas to address with regards to the use of FRP composite are fire growth, generation of toxic smoke, added fire load as well as loss of structural integrity. This particularly applies to exterior surfaces, which are not managed in the current regulations since they are assumed non-combustible. The preliminary analysis report was submitted to the Swedish and the Danish Administrations for principal approval in the fall of 2012.

With approval from Denmark (and a pending positive response from Sweden) the quantitative analysis was initiated. According to a prescribed guideline, calculations of risk based on a few conservative fire scenarios should show whether the alternative fire safety design is better than a prescriptive design. However, effects on many aspects of the fire protection in combination with the current limited field history were assessed to require a more sophisticated analysis, a so called probabilistic risk analysis, where the whole distribution of the fire scenarios is included. The fire risk could be quantified thanks to great experience at SP Fire Technology from previous research and fire tests with composites and various safeguards. This was combined with for example fire and evacuation simulations. Some 20 trial alternative designs of the fire safety were quantified and presented in so-called F-N diagrams.

After conducting Monte Carlo simulations other analyses of uncertainties and sensitive parameters a number of sufficiently safe designs were identified.

The future island ferries

The full report, which includes both the qualitative preliminary analysis and the quantitative analysis, was completed during the summer and was submitted for review to the Swedish and Danish authorities. Summaries of the approved preliminary analysis report and the full report will after acceptance be posted on the project website, eco-island.dk.

The fire risk assessment shows both the possibilities to attain approval of a ferry made in FRP composite and examples of how this could be achieved by different designs of the fire safety. In Denmark this has led to new and far more environmentally friendly ferries in FRP composite materials now being projected in the municipalities of Thy and Morsø. So that the future ferries are here might not be exactly true. But they will soon exist in Denmark and hopefully we will soon see similar results of the research project also in Sweden and the rest of the world.
 

  • Full scale tests of fire spread on external FRP composite surfaces based on SP FIRE 105 (carried out as part of the FP7 EU project BESST). Photo: Glenn Appel

    Full scale tests of fire spread on external FRP composite surfaces based on SP FIRE 105 (carried out as part of the FP7 EU project BESST). Photo: Glenn Appel

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

Biloxi Industrial Seaway Closed Due to Landslide

The U.S. Coast Guard closed the Biloxi Industrial Seaway in Gulfport, Miss., due to a landslide, Saturday.   The Biloxi Industrial Seaway in the vicinity of the

Dispersants ... Will we ever be able to use them again?

On January 22, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Proposed Rule on dispersants. The Proposed Rule drastically changes the EPA’s approach

Marshall Islands Calls for New Emissions Target

In a submission to the International Maritime Organization, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, currently the world’s third largest shipping registry, has called

Naval Architecture

Ferguson Marine Chooses ShipConstructor

Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow, Scotland has invested in a comprehensive package of SSI products.   Ferguson has chosen to implement almost every ShipConstructor product including: Hull,

Towboat Delivered to Tidewater Transportation & Terminals

Tidewater Transportation & Terminals takes delivery of new towboat Crown Point from Vigor Industrial to be deployed in Tidewater’s Columbia and Snake River service

New Domestic Ferry for Faroe Islands Service

Third generation domestic ferry for service between Nólsoy and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.   According to the vessel's designer, this project is the second

News

SAAM SMIT Towage Brazil Signs on with Helm

Helm Operations has signed on Brazilian harbor services company SAAM SMIT Towage to its Helm Marine Operations software to manage its billing and dispatch.    SAAM

Siemens Wins Vessel Electrical Installation Contract

Nautilus Minerals Inc. announces that the order for the supply of the entire electrical installation for the production support vessel has been awarded to Siemens International Trading (Shanghai) Ltd.

Delivery Begins for HMS Prince of Wales Bridge

The bridge section of the U.K.’s second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier has been loaded out of its dock hall in Glasgow ahead of its first sea voyage to Rosyth.

Maritime Safety

Biloxi Industrial Seaway Closed Due to Landslide

The U.S. Coast Guard closed the Biloxi Industrial Seaway in Gulfport, Miss., due to a landslide, Saturday.   The Biloxi Industrial Seaway in the vicinity of the

IMO Conference to Address Ferry Safety

Conference on the enhancement of safety of ships carrying passengers on non-international voyages, Manila, the Philippines, April 24, 2015   The International

Bulk Carrier Grounds in St. Lawrence Seaway

A 621-foot bulk carrier ran aground near Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River, Monday. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is responding.   The Bahamian-flagged

Vessels

Delivery Begins for HMS Prince of Wales Bridge

The bridge section of the U.K.’s second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier has been loaded out of its dock hall in Glasgow ahead of its first sea voyage to Rosyth.

Vane Brothers Welcomes Latest Tug Newbuild

The Vane Brothers Company, a marine transportation provider headquartered in Baltimore, has taken delivery of Kings Point, the latest in a wave of Maryland-built tugboats.

First Ocean Vessel of 2015 Arrives at Port of Indiana

Northwest Indiana celebrates opening of gateway to global markets   The arrival of the 655-foot bulk carrier M/V Irma at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor signals

Ferries

IMO Conference to Address Ferry Safety

Conference on the enhancement of safety of ships carrying passengers on non-international voyages, Manila, the Philippines, April 24, 2015   The International

Cargo Ferry Project Moves Transport from Road to Sea

A new competitive and eco-friendly maritime transport concept, the Cargo Ferry project, was presented in Oslo today. The result of more than two years of work,

New Domestic Ferry for Faroe Islands Service

Third generation domestic ferry for service between Nólsoy and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.   According to the vessel's designer, this project is the second

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1515 sec (7 req/sec)