ERMA FIRST adds emissions reduction capability


Once best known for its leading position as a ballast water treatment system manufacturer, ERMA FIRST now oversees a portfolio of sustainable marine solutions, including technologies that help ship operators to cut emissions while the need to burn fossil fuels continues.

ERMA FIRST Co-Founder & Managing Director, Konstantinos Stampedakis stresses that the Greek company is intensely focused on helping ship owners decarbonise their operations over the next 15 to 20 years with a portfolio of sustainable future-proof solutions.

The company has been developing a range of new energy saving devices, such as a unique modular propeller boss cap fin to cut ship fuel use, as well as alternative maritime power to connect them to shore-based electricity in ports and onboard carbon capture and storage solutions to capture their emissions at sea.

“We know alternative green fuels will be the eventual solution to maritime decarbonisation, but for the next 15 to 20 years the majority of vessels will continue to burn fossil fuels while facing increasing challenges to cut emissions from regulations such as the CII, EEXI and EU ETS,” says Stampedakis.

“Decarbonisation targets for 2030, 2040 and finally 2050 are eminently achievable if all stakeholders act sooner rather than later. We passionately believe there is a lot of room for technologies to deliver operational improvements that reduce fuel consumption and vessel emissions.”

An immediate step owners can take to cut fuel use and emissions by 2% to 3% is to fit a boss cap fin (BCF), he continues. Installed at the hub of a ship’s propeller a BCF effectively utilises water swirl, while its fins catch and absorb the rotating water force. Together they reduce energy loss by weakening the propeller hub vortex, boosting thrust and improving propulsion efficiency.

But there are hundreds of different propeller and ship types and sizes, making it prohibitively expensive to design bespoke BCFs for individual vessels and limiting the effectiveness of off-the-shelf models.

The innovative modular design behind the ERMA FIRST FLEXCAP overcomes this issue. At least 22 different models are possible from combining various fins, caps and flanges. The modular design ensures a low cost that means a return on investment is achievable within less than12 months.
“We can adjust the angle of the fins, or the selection of the cap based on a specific vessel’s needs,” says Stampedakis, “giving a bespoke propeller cap at the cost of an off-the-shelf model.”

Separately, ERMA FIRST BLUE CONNECT is an alternative maritime power system which enables vessels to connect to a port’s electrical grid to run onboard services, systems and equipment. Meeting all latest international standards for cabling and connections, the solution means a ship can switch off its diesel generators, in order to reduce both emissions and noise while in port.

BLUE CONNECT has received approval in principle (AiP) from leading classification society Bureau Veritas and is also recognized as an Energy Saving Device by DNV. The first installation of BLUE CONNECT will be made later this year, while ERMA FIRST has received orders for six to eight units to be delivered by the end of the year.

The company is also working on onboard carbon capture and storage (OCCS) as a method of reducing ship emissions – by around 15-30% under normal conditions according to Stampedakis – with two versions of the same ERMA FIRST CARBON FIT system under development, aimed at deepsea and shortsea operations.