Sustainable innovations

We have the greatest positive impact on sustainability through the services we provide to our customers. The examples below show some of the ways we work with our customers and in partnership with other stakeholders to deliver sustainability benefits and how we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Energy-saving rotor sail ready for commercialization

In 2019, as part of a long-running research consortium working with the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer in Germany, DNV GL tested an innovative Flettner rotor sail designed to provide wind assistance to seagoing vessels. The tests have shown the rotor sail is a highly effective additional power source, reducing energy use and emissions from a ship’s main engine. The tests have also proven its seaworthiness and that the sail is ready for commercialization.

Originally developed a century ago, a rotor sail is a tall, rotating cylinder that uses side winds to produce forward thrust. The new ECO FLETTNER rotor represents a complete redesign, and for testing it was installed on the 4,250-tonne Fehn Pollux cargo vessel. The sail is an 18-metre tall, three-metre diameter cylinder, and is constructed of lightweight materials. It uses high-performance bearings that allow it to rotate at high speeds.

The testing over a six-month period exceeded all predictions and has demonstrated fuel savings of 10–20% depending on wind speeds and direction, the speed of the ship and its main engine performance. On the Fehn Pollux, the ship saves an annual average of 108 kW at sea, equivalent to a 15% saving in energy and emissions for the ship’s 650 kW main engine.

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Helping companies focus on the Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Lens is a freely available, self-assessment tool developed by Business Assurance to help companies better understand the areas where they can best contribute to the SDGs. Through the assessment, the SDG Lens reveals the individual SDGs and associated targets in priority order, based on a company’s potential to influence the Goals and become more sustainable. Since its launch in 2018, 224 companies have registered for the SDG Lens. Of these, 47 completed their self-assessments.

From the assessments completed to date, the most frequently prioritized Goals are SDG 8, Decent work and economic growth; SDG 12, Responsible production and consumption; and SDG 13, Climate action. The least prioritised goals are SDG 14, Life below water and SDG 16, Peace, justice and strong institutions.

The results provide a picture that will grow over time as more assessments are completed, giving greater insight into trends for specific Goals and sector-wide approaches. It is widely accepted that collective action at a system- and value chain-level will be required to achieve the SDGs and gathering sector-wide data will be useful in assessing system-based approaches to the SDGs.

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Capturing carbon for crop nutrition

We are supporting our customer, Taiwan Power Company (TPC), to develop plans to reduce carbon emissions from its coal-fired Taichung power plant. The plans include TPC’s first-ever carbon capture pilot project, an important step towards realizing Taiwan’s carbon reduction goals.

Our power plant and carbon capture and storage experts from the Arnhem Power Laboratory in the Netherlands are developiong the design concept for the pilot. The Netherlands team is working closely with our Taiwan team who understand TPC’s needs, the local culture and regulations. The scope of work includes studying the application of carbon capture technologies and any direct effects they may have on power generation. This is currently a small-scale pilot project, reducing carbon by 0.05% for one unit, however, the purpose of this pilot is to develop all the necessary data. The results will allow realistic modelling and scaling up towards a commercial carbon capture plant.

The project also intends to demonstrate a use for the captured CO2, using it to grow fruit and vegetables. DNV GL will help design an agricultural factory equipped with a CO2 distribution network. The crops from the factory will be served in an adjoining visitor centre.

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Floating solar in Singapore

In Singapore, DNV GL is acting as technical advisor for PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, on a public tender for a 50 MW floating solar photovoltaic project. The Tengeh Reservoir floating solar project is due to be operational by 2021 and will become the largest floating solar system in Southeast Asia and one of the largest in the world. It will power the reservoir’s water treatment facilities, eliminating 28,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of around 6,000 cars.

Despite limited renewable energy options, Singapore has made firm commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and solar power is the country’s most viable renewable energy source. DNV GL’s energy experts have completed preliminary design, independent energy assessment, technology benchmarking and business model studies. We will also carry out design reviews, testing and commissioning reviews during construction, and performance analysis and testing once operational.

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Hybrid battery power boosts offshore rig efficiency

DNV GL worked with Northern Drilling to make their West Mira drilling rig the first to be awarded the DNV GL Battery (Power) class notation. With this new notation, we are helping customers in the offshore industry take advantage of new hybrid battery power technology for safer, more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly operations.

The diesel-electric hybrid power system on the West Mira is a world first on a drilling rig and is a prime example of cooperation between the project partners — Northern Drilling, Seadrill, Siemens, Kongsberg Maritime and DNV GL. The power solution uses Lithium-ion batteries as an additional power source during peak power demand. They also act as a reserve power source in the event of a blackout. Four converter-battery systems provide up to six megawatts of power reducing runtime of the rig’s diesel engines by up to 42%. This saving results in an estimated reduction in NOX emissions of 12% and CO2 emissions of 15%, equivalent to annual emissions from approximately 10,000 cars.

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Supporting San Marino’s drive for sustainability with blockchain

The ‘San Marino Low Carbon Ecosystem’ is a blockchain system designed to reduce CO2 emissions and stimulate a circular economy business model in the Republic of San Marino. Proposed by DNV GL, in collaboration with VeChain, the platform aims to encourage environmentally-friendly practices by citizens in areas such as energy use, water saving and waste disposal.

Sustainable behaviour by individuals will be rewarded with a cryptocurrency-like utility token, the San Marino Innovation Token, which can be used to access other services offered within the Republic. The introduction of the low carbon ecosystem is the first example globally of using a public blockchain and utility token to incentivize citizens to protect the environment.

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Using data to help customers mitigate climate change risks

The impact of climate change will be felt significantly by many in the oil and gas sector including operators, investors and insurers. New and extreme climatic conditions will test existing technologies, systems and institutions to the limit. With multiple, global climate and hazard models, the amount of climate risk data can be overwhelming for decision makers who need clear, concise information they can act on quickly.

To rise to this challenge, we have developed a state-of-the-art, digital climate-risk solution called C-GEAR Core (Climatic Geo Enhanced Assessment of Risks). The system integrates several applications and platforms into a cloud-based solution that captures, analyzes and visualizes climate, weather and hazard-related information. For marine services customers, predictions include wavelength changes, airgap decreases, wind strength, precipitation and storm surges. Alongside DNV GL standards and guidance for mitigating risk, C-GEAR Core enables us to deliver industry-leading support in this growing and important area of risk.

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Traceability for ocean plastics

DNV GL has joined forces with Dutch NGO, The Ocean Cleanup, to address one of today’s major environmental challenges, ocean plastic pollution. The ocean is core to DNV GL’s business and we are keen to contribute to solutions with our expertise. The Ocean Cleanup is trialling advanced technologies to collect ocean plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s largest accumulation of plastic waste, spanning an area of 1.6 million square kilometres. The collected plastic will be recycled into new products and sold to consumers, creating value from the waste and funding The Ocean Cleanup’s continued work.

In a growing market for products made with ocean plastic, it is currently not compulsory to independently verify that plastic has, in fact, been sourced from the ocean. This means products labelled as “ocean plastic” may not be entirely sourced from the ocean. We have worked with The Ocean Cleanup for the past 18 months to develop a process and set of requirements that enables verification of the source of ocean plastic. The new process delivers the highest level of traceability and clarifies how ocean plastic is defined, bringing transparency to this rapidly-developing market. DNV GL will now verify that plastic collected by The Ocean Project is 100% ocean plastic according to the newly created standard.

The verification process is designed to provide transparency and support consumer trust in the market for ocean-plastic products. In 2020, we will develop the process and transparency requirements into a new public standard that will be open to all parties interested in ocean plastic product certification.

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