Article. Kim, SeKyung, Reporter of DongA Science
Photo. Kim, SangHyun, Reporter of DongA Science
Professor Kim, Yong Hwan in the Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering of Seoul National University has been appointed as a fellow of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA). The RINA since its establishment in 1860 has selected members making outstanding achievement in the shipping and ocean engineering area as a fellow. It means that around 300 dissertations and international scientific performances of Professor Kim are highly recognized.
Professor Kim is also appointed as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow (DVF) of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) in 2015~2016. The DVF of the RAE should stay in England one month of the year to participate in seminars and give lectures. We met Professor Kim who has just finished a week-long visit to England.
The SNU’s research center has been funded by the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust over the last 9 years. Of course, the leader of the SNU Lloyd fund research center is Professor Kim who has been at the forefront of researching on ship hydro-elasticity and green ships. He explained the British Lloyd’s Register that “The Lloyd’s Register in England was started off at a café in London.” The café in London, run by E. Lloyd was a place where people involved in maritime affairs visited frequently, so Lloyd collected maritime news and arranged ship transactions for customers, which was the start of the Register.
He said that the Register had played a role of verifying ships. “Since shipping companies that purchase ships cannot understand the technologies about the ships made by shipbuilders, they hired the Register to verify if the ships are made properly or have any problems”. At present, the Register performs not only the verification but also offers and shares various technologies regarding stability and green ships which are popular in recent years.
As for the question about how the research center has been funded by Lloyd’s Register, the professor answered that “the Lloyd’s Register of England disburses the profits as donation to operate many organization in the world”. There are 28 organizations around the world that have been funded by this donation, and the Seoul National University is one of the key organizations. At first, SNU received GBP 1 million for five years, but since 2012, the amount of research fund provided has been increased by 50% to GBP 1.5 million as the research performances of SNU have been highly acknowledged. The SNU’s Lloyd Fund Research Center has two missions. The first one is to support students while conducting joint researches with overseas or other domestic universities and the second mission is to develop and research technologies related to ships. The hydroelasticity of ships were studied at the early stage, since 2012 it has been engaged in R&D on green ship technologies along with ship hydroelasticity.
Also, the research center has been conducting researches on hydromechanics. Professor Kim said that “the hull of a ship is generally designed to encounter resistance at a minimum level“, however “if a ship sails on the sea, additional resistance like waves occurs”. The additional resistance like waves is called ‘added resistance’, and the ways to measure the added resistance are not yet unified globally so the research center is setting up a standardized method to predict added resistance.
Green ships have been significantly emerged since the IMO has enacted the regulations on ships. The IMO established a regulation that ships should reduce the amount CO2 emission by 30% by 2025. He also spelled out that “IMO recommends the regulation in three ways” and “the first way is EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) that shipbuilders and ship owners show big interest in, the second one is EEOI (Energy Efficiency Operational Index) which should be abided by shipping companies, and the third way is to diminish the transactions of ships emitting pollutants”.
EEDI is an index that indicates the fuel efficiency of a ship, meaning the amount of CO2 emission per ton nautical mile (1 nautical mile=1.852km). EEOI is a value that the amount of CO2 emission is divided by the quantity of cargo multiplied by total distance of the transport; a smaller EEOI value means a more energy efficient ship. Technologies to satisfy the EEDI have been devised all around the world including Korea. The contributing factor for EEDI is saving energy.
Professor Kim added that “even before the introduction of EEDI, ship owners did make efforts to save fuel costs” and “many people thought that the EEDI is a way to save the fuel costs”. Having ships sailed means more fuels should be consumed, so how much could be saved in fuel costs is the most important issue, and EEDI or EEOI is a way to express their concern.
Over the last 10 years, many countries have explored how to save the fuel costs in a realistic manner. The saving methods are divided largely into two types; the first one is sailing slowly, called ‘slow streaming’. There is a difference depending on ship types though; as the speed of a ship increases, the cost of fuels becomes double and triple, yet if a ship slows down the speed a little bit, the fuel cost could be saved drastically. Since the practice of slowing down does not require any particular technology, it becomes a general trend in ship operation. And the second method is building ships more and bigger. In case of containerships, 8 ships share one designated sea route but, as the speed of a ship gets slower, people added a containership more to the route. Consequently, the amount of containership orders increases. The practice of slowing down results in enlarging the size of a ship because it needs to load more freight at once.
Professor Kim explained that “we have tried various methods to reduce fuel costs such as attaching an energy-saving device to a ship or making a kite that hauls the ship or others but those two methods are the most effective”.
As he said, fast sailing ships are able to meet the EEDI by simply reducing the speed. The problem is ships which are big and slow, called slow full ships. He added that “there is a limit of the speed you can slow down to”, so “we should come up with energy-saving technology beyond slowing down sea speed”.
“Korean technology in merchant ships is commonly recognized as No1. in the world, and since we are technically capable of building ships loaded with LNG or containers, Korean shipbuilders are highly trusted by foreign shipping companies” he also pointed out that “in spite of having such excellent technologies, we fall well short of dealing with proactively”. And said that “once EU and Japan enact regulations, we just follow them” and “considering the quantity of data and the technology Korean shipbuilders are handing with, our policy-related activities are lagging way behind”.
As for the question about how to overcome the currently stagnated situation of shipbuilding industry and the GHG emission regulations, Professor Kim answered that “the hot topic in the global shipbuilding industry is green ships” and “technology is the only area where we can beat other countries”, and emphasized once again that “We cannot be compared with China having material superiority. The development of technologies on green ships and smart ships is the way to survive in the global shipbuilding industry”.