Boskalis also contributes towards environmentally-friendly solutions for emissions with innovations in equipment, working methods, energy saving and fuels. Our extensive R&D program enables us to anticipate changes in national and international legislation and creates the conditions for rapid implementation. Some of our forward-looking clients are already explicitly taking CO2 emissions into consideration when awarding projects.
The COP21 climate conference concluded on 12 December 2015 with the adoption of the Paris Agreement, which sets out a clear plan to limit global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although the climate agreement does not cover shipping, this, in our opinion, does not represent a carte blanche for the sector. We are taking our responsibility by exploring possibilities to reduce emissions produced by our equipment.
In 2015 we started a pilot program aimed at the development of a drop-in marine biofuel which meets the most stringent sustainability standards and could result in significant reductions in emissions. You can read more about this in the theme text Boskalis launches biofuel pilot program.
Boskalis measures and reports on the fleet’s total CO2 emissions based on fuel consumption. We currently do not consider it fruitful to set a quantitative target for annual fuel consumption due to the absence of a clear industry standard.
A complex set of factors play a role, such as:
different types of vessels;
fleet utilization levels;
nature of the projects, involving varying sailing distances, cargos and soil types.
In other words, a comparison of absolute fuel consumption figures does not provide an adequate reflection of the quality of our environmental performance.
We consult with the authorities via national and international sector associations, such as the European Dredging Association (EuDA) and the Dutch Association of Hydraulic Engineers. We share our technical knowledge with them in order to make emissions measurable. In doing so, we seek to work towards realistic regulations for our industry that are broadly supported. For more information please see the below paragraph “Working towards an industry standard for emissions”.
Taskforce Energy Management
Our Taskforce Energy Management keeps a close eye on developments in national and international legislation and regulations on emissions. Chaired by a member of the Board of Management, the Taskforce includes specialists and professionals from the Offshore Energy and Dredging & Inland Infra divisions. The Taskforce has a steering role, pools knowledge and best practices, and promotes awareness within the organization.
CO2 Performance Ladder result
In 2015 Boskalis once again obtained certification on the CO2 Performance Ladder, achieving the highest level attainable (5) for the fourth consecutive year. The certificate applies to all business units operating on the Dutch market. The CO2 Performance Ladder is a tool used by government agencies and businesses in the Netherlands to encourage companies that take part in often complex tenders to adopt carbon awareness procedures in their own operations, in the execution of projects and in the chain. The basic principle of the Ladder is to recognize efforts made by businesses in the areas of energy saving, efficient use of materials and renewable energy. The level achieved by companies on the CO2 Performance Ladder translates into an advantage in tender evaluation procedures: the higher the level on the Ladder, the greater the advantage to the company during the tender procedure. In the Dutch market, Boskalis pursues a policy aimed at reducing fuel consumption by its activities and on the projects. For this purpose, various initiatives were taken during 2015, including measures of a technical and organizational nature as well as behavioral change under the slogan ‘Keep Fuel in Mind’. We work constantly on effectuating a change in behavior among our operators by recording and monitoring equipment fuel consumption levels and discussing ways of saving fuel while on the job. In addition there are various research projects into more efficient methods of transport, the use of diesel and gas in hydraulic sand transport and limiting noise and vibration nuisance for the surroundings. There will be a follow-up in 2016. Boskalis was also one of the initiators of Ecosystem-based CO2 foot printing, an innovative development project that is part of the Ecoshape program. The project involves us working with various partners to realize the ambition that, by 2020, hydraulic engineering projects can have a CO2 balance that, during the entire life cycle, is 20% better than the conventional approach. This will be achieved by taking the carbon emissions of the equipment, the relevant features of the borrow area and the ecosystem concerned into account right from the design stage. More information on the activities of Boskalis Nederland in the area of sustainability and its position on the CO2 Performance Ladder can be found on http://www.boskalis.com/nederland (Dutch only).
The objective formulated in 2014 to achieve a two-star BREEAM rating for the four main buildings at our head office in Papendrecht in 2015 has been met. BREEAM is an international environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. Its main purpose is to promote awareness of energy consumption and sustainability among the building’s users.
Working towards an industry standard for emission
The European Dredging Association, published a report early 2016 attempting to establish a generic methodology to predict the carbon footprint of different dredging equipment (trailing suction hopper dredgers, cutter suction dredgers and backhoe dredgers). The most important findings of the report are presented below.
The dredging sector in Europe is fully committed to play its role in implementing effective CO2 emissions reduction schemes. However, there is an essential difference between the cargo shipping sector, which provides transport of goods and products across the globe, and the fleet of working vessels, which not only transport material, but also perform specific tasks such as seabed stabilization, offshore wind turbine installation, pipe/cable laying, land reclamation, coastal protection and dredging.
Each dredging project has a different scope and is carried out under specific conditions and technical requirements. This has resulted in a worldwide fleet of dredging ships with very diverse specifications adapted to the projects’ specific requirements. The combination of unrepeatable project conditions and very diverse equipment specifications make it impossible to transpose efficiency indices and indicators for regular shipping to dredging operations for the purpose of assessing CO2 emissions on a dredging project. The optimization of CO2 emissions on a dredging project can best be achieved by evaluating the specific project conditions in the light of the different execution methods and available dredging equipment. It is clear that the optimization of CO2 emissions for the dredging sector is only effective at project level. Under specific project conditions, smaller or older vessels can match or outperform larger new dredgers. Moreover, because dredging is using energy for working and for sailing, the current Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI developed in IMO) as is, cannot be meaningfully applied to dredgers. For the same reason, the dredgers (along with the other “working and sailing” ships) were excluded from the Monitoring Reporting and Verification Regulation (aimed at CO2 emissions from shipping) adopted by the Commission on 29th April 2015 and in force since 1st July 2015.
The report concludes that besides project specific parameters such as soil characteristics, dredging depth, sailing distance and discharge method including the possible pumping distance, additional non-project specific considerations such as the availability of the most efficient vessel, emissions due to mobilization of equipment and opportunities to combine operations must also be taken into consideration.
Despite these complexities the EuDA associated companies, including Boskalis, have produced a joint report for each main type of dredging equipment. This report contains generic estimates forecasting the CO2 emission for specific types of equipment under defined project conditions. These generic estimates can be useful as a guideline for clients, however cannot be used to measure CO2 emissions per production unit as a proxy for companywide CO2 reduction targets.
Total emissions of the group in 2015 amounted to 1.52 million tons of CO2 (2014: 1.61 million). This decline was due to lower utilization levels and shorter sailing distances for the Offshore vessels and further deconsolidation of the Towage activities. The drop was partly offset by the higher emissions at Dredging.
Dredging & Inland Infra
CO2 emissions at Dredging & Inland Infra amounted to 663,000 tons (2014: 574,000 tons), approximately 94% of which was attributable to the traditional trailing suction hopper dredgers and cutter suction dredgers. The 16% increase was on balance due to the following factors: ‚ Utilization of the hoppers increased to 43 weeks (2014: 40 weeks), partly due to the deployment of vessels on the Suez project. In addition the Freeway was taken into service in February, and the Fairway and the Strandway were in service for the full year (compared to only part of 2014). As a result installed capacity was 5% higher than in the previous year. ‚ Utilization of the cutter fleet fell slightly to 34 weeks (2014: 36 weeks). Project-specific features resulted in emissions from the cutters remaining virtually unchanged.
CO2 emissions produced by the Offshore Energy fleet in 2015 totaled 793,000 tons (2014: 934,000 tons). The 15% decline was mainly attributable to the lower utilization level of the Dockwise fleet, which was 76% in 2015 (2014: 84%). In addition the sailing distances of the fleet fell by 21%, resulting in lower fuel consumption and thus lower emissions. The taking into service of the White Marlin in the first quarter of 2015 only partially offset the decline.
Towage & Salvage
CO2 emissions at Towage & Salvage equaled 61,000 tons (2014: 94,000 tons). The 33,000-ton decline was due to the transfer of ships to joint ventures in mid-2014 as part of the Towage strategy; for the first two quarters of 2014 these ships were still contributing to the Towage emissions figures. Adjusted for this effect, emissions were unchanged.