Energy Efficiency & Energy Conservation are not the Same!



The shipping sector faces unprecedented challenges from regulatory regimes to meet ambitious and zealous environmental objectives. Given its global scale, there is a need to bring in a voice of reason on what is achievable and how to go about it from those that will eventually be tasked to actually implement these goals. Viswa and MFAME are positioned perfectly as a professional body that has the global scale and the right balance of operational expertise along with the underpinning knowledge to provide those crucial inputs.


An important assumption in this discussion is that shipping sector is actually creating a significant negative impact on the environment.  The second equally important assumption is that the liner industry and global seaborne trade of raw and finished goods are not likely to go extinct in this century.  If anything, there will be a shift in mode of transport from road and rail modes to water transport to meet global emission goals.  The challenge is, therefore, to innovate ship design and operations to bring in better energy efficiency.  Such an innovation promises much-needed reduction in fuel costs, creating a convergence of environmental goals with commercial incentives.  The question will then be whether the investment in such an innovation is worth the combined savings in fuel and environmental costs.

While Class, shipbuilding and naval architects have dwelt at length on design indices for efficient energy consumption, there is a need to focus on improving Energy efficiency through economic and sustainable cost.

The purpose of this project is to create a mechanism and to help owners reach a decision to select right technology for energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and to optimise it through the latest hardware and software measures that can reduce the operational cost of ship operations and obtain medium to long-term gains in terms of monetary and environmental benefits.

However before we proceed further, we must discuss few basic questions.

Why is energy efficiency required?

  • Is it a social commitment?
  • Is it an economical measure
  • Or is it a legal binding?

One issue that transcends any particular measure, but is critical to the selection and adoption of efficiency improvements in vessels, should be mentioned at the outset.  For many vessels, the vessel’s owner and/or operator do not directly receive the benefit in fuel savings of efficiency measures.  The benefits often accrue to the charterer who pays for the fuel. Unfortunately, this reduces the owner’s incentive to invest in efficient ships.

From one side there are different technical alternatives, all promising to comply with the regulations in force.  On the other hand, there are large expenses involved.  If arrangements can be developed in such a way that the owner and/or operator can accrue direct benefits from energy efficiency investments that may lead to significantly large number of energy efficient vessels in oceans.  For ship owners who don’t  get  their fair share of reduced fuel costs, the largest driver for adopting those measures may be the evolving regulatory regime and their own environmental policies.

Therefore, before we proceed further, let’s discuss “what”, “why” & “where” of energy efficiency?

What is Energy Efficiency?

Energy efficiency is “using less energy to provide the same service”.  Energy efficiency is not energy conservation. Energy conservation is reducing or going without a service to save energy.  There are other definitions, but this is a good operational one.

The best way to understand this idea is through examples:

Turning off a light is energy conservation. Replacing an incandescent lamp with an (which uses much less energy to produce the same amount of light) is energy efficiency.

Both efficiency and conservation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Why Energy efficiency?

Using energy more efficiently is critical to business and competitiveness.  It’s also the fastest, most effective way to protect our environment by breaking the link between economic development and climate change.

Many aspects influence energy efficiency, but where to start?

Around 90 percent of world trade is carried out by some 70,000 shipping vessels that make up the international shipping industry.  In that fuel alone accounts for 50-60 percent of the merchant vessels’ operating costs.  The need for the shipping industry to create sustainable business practices and manage energy resources at all levels is evident and imperative.  This is where the MFAME gurus step in to assist owners in addressing these challenges.

Establishing Baselines:

Ship Energy Profile:


Energy Baselines can be typically found in ship &  equipment design documentations and sea trial data:

  • Engines: Shop or sea trial
  • Electrical consumption: Design electric load calculations
  • Boiler efficiency: Equipment specification and test of steam system

Operational Baselines for operations are typically described/embedded in internal operational procedures.  The operational profile refers to how the ship is managed and how the equipment and the systems are operated, such as

  • Route planning
  • Passage speed management
  • Weather routing
  • Cargo operations
  • Ship trim
  • Electric power management
  • Use of autopilot
  • Thruster operation

The energy flow within a ship can be described with a Sankey diagram as illustrated below.



  1. Voyage Performance / Offshore Operations:
    • Voyage planning & execution
    • Weather routing & sea current
    • JIT & Speed Management
    • Logistic planning
    • Trim Optimization
    • Port/harbour operations
    • DP operations
  2. Ship Performance:
    • Hull condition
    • Propeller condition
    • Trim & draft
    • Autopilot & rudder
    • Appendages & Technical modifications
  3. Main and AUX engines:
    • Main Engine efficiency
    • Aux Engines efficiency & utilization
    • Boilers efficiency & utilization
  4. Power management of Consumers:
    • Hotel Load
    • Thruster operations
    • Cargo operations
    • Ventilation
    • HVAC
    • Cooling water Temperature control
    • Incinerator
    • Compressors
  5. Fuel Management:
    • Pre-bunkering
    • During bunkering
    • Post-bunkering
  6. Management and Organisation
    • Strategy & tactical plans
    • Roles & responsibilities
    • Culture & awareness
    • Competence & training
    • Cooperation & communication
    • Performance Management

Further explanation and process for above will be included in energy efficiency part -2.

Mr. Prakhar Singh Chandel,

Corporate Fleet Manager (Energy Efficiency),

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement.

About the Author:


Mr. Prakhar had an exciting sea career from 1989 to 2001, where in 2001, he stepped forward from the shoes of a Chief Engineer to a powerful Manager heading various Ship Management divisions.  Starting as a Ship Surveyor with a classification society, he joined Bernhard Schulte Ship Management as a Technical Superintendent.  Thereafter, a Senior Superintendent and a Fleet Manager with successful execution of various dry dock projects around the globe.  As a Corporate Fleet Manager for Energy Efficiency in BSM, he is well qualified in QHSE management and trained many Masters and Engineers at BSM training centre.  A Class certified auditor, Mr. Prakhar, is heading Energy efficiency projects for BSM group which has more than 350 vessels.


  1. Dear prakhar
    Very well written and explained.Particularly point no.1,2 and 6 are relevant with onboard operations where skills of onboard staff plays a major role.
    You may advise “how much of energy conservation efficiency”shall be considered safe and acceptable.
    Warm rgds.

  2. Dear Prakhar,

    Concept of Energy efficiency & conservation well explained, will be a nice knowledge enhancement for many.


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