This is our proud story of how a clever little system from Humphree can make a huge difference for sustainability at sea.

What’s your perception of human activity at sea and the environment?

What’s the first picture that comes to your mind? Is your perception of human activity at sea overfishing, littered beaches, offshore oil platforms flaring gas, a large, loud and dirty old shipyard? Sure, there are plenty of challenges, still we are one company among many driving change in the maritime industry. Fast.

We see change towards sustainability – offshore windfarms, tidal power, sustainable fish farms, hybrid or electrically powered ships and yachts, marine fuel cell power or vessels built in materials which can be recycled. This is not future, it’s now. Technology is transforming how and what we do at sea. What few remembers is that most of the human activity at sea is transportation. Nothing can compete in terms of energy efficiency with ocean freight (ie Deutsche Bahn calculates 0,11 MJ/km for ocean freight compared to 0,35 MJ/km rail). Does that mean all is green on our blue oceans and we kick back and relax? Not at all. Not at Humphree.

Humphree offers a modest investment which makes significant energy savings in propelling fast vessels. A fun fact is that our company name is derived from the resistance curve of a planing hull, where you have a resistance increase “hump” before a hull comes to plane, and with Humphree technology applied, the resistance at the “hump” is greatly reduced. Hence, “Hump” + “Free” = Humphree. The foundation of our company is based on energy savings, which has been developed to a full suite of smart ride control systems and even more sophisticated ways of improved efficiency. Yes, many of us are tech people with a dry sense of humor.

“Hump” + “Free” = Humphree

Now you may ask yourself if what we do is negligible and that you are reading another attempt on green washing or a plea for distant experimental technology? Let me illustrate what we’re doing today. We know of at least 250 large high-speed waterjet powered catamaran passenger ferries operating in European waters. We have a unique way of applying our interceptors to make course altering energy efficient. Let’s play with the thought that all companies would be as progressive as Molslinjen or Incat Tasmania in terms of sustainability and instantly improved earnings – how would it play out?

Our naval architects at Profjord AB used our in-house prediction tools, assumed a few data points and based our average catamaran on specifications of a real 70m and 1 100t vessel. Assuming 3 000h of annual operation with route, wind and current requiring an average 5-degree waterjet steering angle. With the installation of Humphree interceptor steering, the CO2 reduction is 430 tons / year and vessel. That’s the equivalent annual saving from 4 000 m2 of solar panels in Northern Europe or electrification of 150 average cars’ daily commute. Did we mention that the investment is paid off in 3 months of operation on fuel savings alone and we have not even taken reduced water jet wear into account? Beyond that isolated quarterly report the annual cashflow improvement is 80 000 EUR per annum for the smart ship owner.

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..the investment is paid off in 3 months of operation on fuel savings alone… You’ve been patient and kind to read this far, then you’ve already figured out that installing steering interceptors on 250 high speed catamarans in Europe would be the equivalent of erecting solar panels on the pitch of all football stadiums in the UK. Twice. You could also instantly electrify all commuter cars in our home city of Gothenburg. Now, what would the cost of those two projects be compared to the modest investment in steering interceptors on ferries? There you have an aspect where Humphree is negligible; the cost of our system in relation to the spectacular environmental benefits.

 

…the equivalent of erecting solar panels on the pitch of all football stadiums in the UK. Twice.
Our heritage is energy savings, truth to be told most of our customers are not investing in our systems primarily because of their benefits for the environment. Ride control is many things like improved working conditions for crews, operating economy, being able to operate in rough sea states, performance in maneuvers or superior comfort & safety for owners and guests onboard. We’re very pleased to have satisfied customers for such good reasons, what we feel proud of is how these features carry the DNA of our technology – energy savings. They translate to cleaner human activity at sea and in the end to combat climate change. That’s what we will tell our grandchildren about.

 

…we would love to team up with [operators] and save all that CO2 together, improve your cashflow, reduce wake and erosion in the coastal areas you operate in.
No matter how committed we are at Humphree, we cannot do this alone. And to spell out the obvious the point of this article is that we need to work together in the industry to drive sustainability. That’s why we would love to team up with you – Molslinjen, Fred Olsen, Corsica Ferries, Armas, Virtu Ferries, Thames Clippers, Boreal Sjö, Torghatten, Transdev, Trasmapi, Red Funnel, Golden Star Ferries, Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Wightlink, Pentland Ferries, Sea Jet, Hellenic Seways, Balearia, SNAV, Manche Iles Express, FRS, Dodekanisos Seaways and Gotlandsbolaget – and save all that CO2 together, improve your cashflow, reduce wake and erosion in the coastal areas you operate in. Let’s help each other build a sustainable maritime industry and create true stories we’re all proud to tell our grandchildren about!

On a personal note, I would also appreciate that solar panels can stay away from the football pitches in the UK and let us football fans continue to appreciate boxing day Premier League games with family and friends. What do you say, a green deal for blue oceans?

 

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY HUMPHREE CEO HANNES NORRGREN