KLCSM explores electric ships with Korea Maritime University

KLCSM President Park Chang-min (left) and Korea Maritime University head of industry-academia co-operation Kim Ui-gan. Credit: KLCSM

KLCSM, the in-house ship management arm of South Korea’s SM Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea Maritime University to collaborate in the development of electric ships.

The SM Group’s shipping arms are Korea Line Corporation, Korea Shipping Corporation, and SM Line Corporation.

Since 1 January 2020, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) regulations have mandated a sulphur content of not more than 0.5% in marine fuels, compelling ships to burn low-sulphur fuel oil or install scrubbers. Shipowners are also building vessels that can be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, these measures are insufficient to achieve zero-carbon emissions, a pledge that the global maritime sector has vowed to fulfil by 2030.

In the case of LNG-propelled vessels, the LNG is released into the atmosphere as it is incompletely burnt during combustion, resulting in higher production of greenhouse gases. While scrubbers can effectively remove sulphur oxides, these are insufficient to produce zero-carbon emissions.

KLCSM and Korea Maritime University researchers plan to research core technologies of new electric vessels to compensate for the shortcomings of the current means of complying with the IMO’s 2020 regulations.

One area to be explored is the conversion of vibrations from waves into electrical energy.

KLCSM will also carry out empirical research by applying the technology developed in this research to a commercial ship managed by the company.

Park Chang-min, president of KLCSM, said: “The core technologies of eco-friendly smart ships are the tasks that must be realized in the marine industry that can represent the forthcoming Fourth Industrial Revolution, and we need constant investment and research on these challenges and challenges.

“We will work together with the Korea Maritime University to ensure that innovative technologies can be developed, and at the same time, we will strive to become a company that leads the shipping industry through the technologies to be developed in the future.”