In recent years, increasing attention is geared towards circular ship design. Bringing circularity into ship design typically refers to incorporating principles of sustainability, environmental responsibility, and resource efficiency in the design and operation of ships. This is part of a broader effort to create a more sustainable and environmentally responsible maritime industry. The main areas of advancements in this field relate to:
- The use of environmentally friendly and recyclable materials in ship construction, such as reusable composites, aluminum, or advanced polymers, that have lower environmental impacts. This includes considerations on how materials can be repurposed or recycled rather than scrapped.
- The implementation of more advanced methods for life cycle assessment of the ship design to evaluate the environmental, energy and circularity impacts during construction, operation, maintenance, and eventual disposal. Steel corrosion prevention and treatment is an essential part of maintenance strategies to extend the lifecycle of a vessel. Another key area relates to the use of eco-friendly and anti-fouling coatings. Smart technologies and data analytics can be used to monitor and optimize ship performance and for preventive maintenance purposes. A ship design focused on the ability to easily disassemble, repair, and upgrade the vessel or parts thereof can extend the vessel’s lifespan and reduce the need for new ship production.
- The optimization of the ship design for energy efficiency using advanced propulsion systems and energy-saving technologies like waste heat recovery and improved hull design.
- The integration of renewable energy sources, such as wind propulsion technology. Wind-assisted ship propulsion solutions cover a wide array of technologies, such as large rigid sails (wingsails) or soft sails; hull sails; suction wings that create an upward lifting force similar to the wings on airplanes; small rigid sails on deck which can utilize both wind and solar energy; towing sky sails or kites; wind turbines installed on deck; or the installation of rotors which are vertical spinning cylinders utilizing the Magnus Effect for ship propulsion.
- The minimization of waste generation during the ship’s construction and operation.