Preventing Air Pollution and Global Warming

Making Use of IoT and Big Data Analysis for Optimal Ship Operation

The NYK group is enhancing the safety and energy savings of vessel operations through the utilization of big data collected during voyages.

We began its Innovative Bunker and Idle-time Saving (IBIS) project on its containerships in fiscal 2012 with the aim to achieve optimal economical vessel operations. From fiscal 2013, the knowledge and know-how acquired by IBIS was used on other types of vessels — not only containerships — in the IBIS Two project to optimize ship's operations according to the characteristics and conditions of each vessel.
From fiscal 2019, the project name has been changed to "IBIS Two Plus", and in fiscal 2020, we will pursue optimal economical vessel operation beyond the boundaries of group companies in order to contribute to "Environment" of ESG through fuel saving activities.
In addition, IBIS TWO Plus serves as a platform within the Group for sharing information related to vessel operations, passing of skills and know-how of vessel operators, and training.

Our platform for using big data is the Ship Information Management System (SIMS). We've already installed SIMS on more than 202 of our operating vessels to increase the use of IoT in vessel operation as of March, 2020.

We've also developed the portal site "LiVE", which displays data collected through SIMS and "VPAS" (Vessel Performance Analysis System), And we have applied for patents for these systems.

An example of our use of big data is our collection and storage of actual voyage data from a containership for half a year after modification of the ship's bulbous bow and installation of energy-saving equipment on board. The data showed a 23% reduction in CO2 emissions, and this result was subsequently certified by the ship classification society ClassNK.

By making SIMS technology an integral part of the operations infrastructure for many vessel types and then enhancing the SIMS technology for the analysis of big data, we will be able to prevent engine breakdowns and thereby reduce maintenance costs and time loss lost due to engine problems, thus realizing safe, reliable cargo transport.

Make energy-saving-adjustments to be more energy efficient at slower speeds

Remodeling of the ship's bulbous bow
(Left: Before remodeling) (Right: After remodeling)

To reduce energy consumption, ships often sail at a speed that is much slower than the average speed anticipated when the ship was designed and built. To make existing ships more energy efficient at these slower speeds, the NYK Group has been studying measures such as remodeling the ship's bulbous bow*1 and installing MT-FAST.

Big Data analyses using actual voyage data gathered over half a year after the implementation of improvements in June 2014 were conducted by the NYK Group, and a 23% reduction in CO2 emissions was confirmed. The conversion was also verified not to affect the safe operation of the vessel or the operating condition of the engine.

The NYK Group will also aim for further energy savings by ships by proceeding with construction based on this new approach now that effective methods (patented) for these operating conditions have been established.

  1. *1Bulbous bow
    A protruding bulb at the front of a ship just below the waterline. The bulb modifies the way the water flows around the hull, reducing drag and thus increasing speed, range and fuel efficiency.

Making Use of an Internationally Recognized Indicator to Improve Energy Efficiency

NYK calculates the Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI)*2 for each of its vessels. This indicator was formulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and allows NYK to realize the energy efficiency of its ships in operation and then feed back information about such to vessels as a part of the company's fuel-reduction activities. To calculate the EEOI, NYK introduced a new system offered by ship classification society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), and subsequently received ClassNK's first certification indicating that EEOI calculations using the new system were done in accordance with the IMO guidelines.

  1. *2EEOI
    An indicator of CO2 emissions measured in grams per ton of cargo transported per nautical mile (about 1.85 kilometers) during actual ship operations.

NYK Recognized for Its Participation in Program to Improve Air Quality

NYK participates in the Green Flag Incentive Program that the Port of Long Beach has implemented to improve air quality.

These programs aim to reduce exhaust emissions from vessels by encouraging vessels to operate under 12 knots within a 20 or 40 nautical-mile zone.

NYK's compliance with the Long Beach program has been greater than 90 percent within the 40 nautical-mile zone since 2009, totaling 100.00% in 2019 year.

Saving Energy through "Bubbles" — Equipping Vessels with an Air-Lubrication System

Our air-lubrication system is an energy-saving technology that reduces friction between the hull and seawater by supplying air bubbles to the bottom of the vessel. In 2010, the NYK Group launched two module carriers*3, Yamato and Yamatai, which became the world's first operational ocean vessels equipped with an air-lubrication system based on an air-blower. In July 2012, the group introduced the coal carrier Soyo, which is equipped with a world first an air-lubrication system featuring a main engine scavenging-air bypass (related patent acquired). The group has confirmed that the air-blower-based system reduces CO2 emissions by an average of approximately 6 percent , while the system using a main engine scavenging air bypass is expected to reduce CO2 emissions between approximately 4 percent and 8 percent. Moreover, we have been making efforts to equip other types of vessels - such as newly built car carriers since 2014 - with this eco-friendly system.

Image from the bottom of a module carrier equipped with an air lubrication system

Equipping vessels with air-lubrication systems has been highly commended both in Japan and abroad as an approach leading to the prevention of global warming.

We are currently proceeding with the installation of the system on other kinds of vessels. In fact, in May 2014 the NYK car carrier Aries Leader was delivered equipped with an air-lubrication system.

  1. *3Module carrier
    Special heavy load carrier with roll-on, roll-off ramp way to transport thousand-ton prefabricated structures of plant facilities to be installed on oil/gas development sites or industrial locations.

Using Alternative Marine Power While Berthing

NYK Apollo's ship-to-shore link in Oakland

The electric power required for cargo operations while a ship is in port is supplied from the shore to an electric power unit on board, thus reducing onboard generator operations and cutting down on emissions of NOx, SOx, CO2, and other substances that pollute the air. NYK Atlas became the first in the NYK fleet to receive full shoreside power in November 2007 at Yusen Terminals in the port of Los Angeles. In addition, NYK Apollo succeeded to utilized shoreside power instead of the onboard generator at the Oakland International Container Terminal in October 2012. NYK Line became the first Japanese shipping company to make use of the Port of Oakland's shoreside electric power supply. We will continue to modify AMP units of containerships, thus expanding the company's use of shoreside power.

Mechanisms to Increase Combustion Efficiency


The ideal shape of a ship for fuel-saving operations is one with minimal wave and wind resistance. However, ships must place priority on cargo tonnage and volume, which imposes constraints that make it difficult to achieve this ideal. Therefore, a number of appendages that can be added to ships to help them save fuel have been developed. One example is a propulsion-improvement unit that consists of multiple wings attached near the ship's propellers and rudder. The rotation of the propellers in the water creates a swirling flow that impairs propulsion. Attaching wings to the ship helps to recover this lost propulsion. Our propulsion-improvement unit (patented) was developed by the Monohakobi Technology Institute in February 2008 as part of a joint project, and experiments indicate that the unit has an energy-conservation effect of approximately 4-6 percent. We will be working in collaboration with shipyards and other parties to develop and deploy appendages that are optimized to individual ships, thus enabling them to achieve greater fuel savings.

Fuel Injection

New governor controller

The ship's main engine uses a governor to control fuel injection and maintain a constant speed (propeller rotation) in ever-changing sea conditions. An improved governor (patented) relaxes the sensitivity of fuel-injection frequency. Onboard testing of the improved governor was conducted on containerships and car carriers, and fuel efficiency was shown to have improved by 1.3%. This technology has been continuously deployed on NYK ships since 2010.

Jointly developed by the Monohakobi Technology Institute and Nabtesco Corp.

Effective use of waste energy of engine: Exhaust gas economizer

An exhaust gas economizer is installed in most large vessels. Here it turns a turbogenerator with steam that is generated by using the waste energy from the main engine and provides the electricity used during navigation. As a result, the ship does not have to use fuel specifically to generate electricity. A turbogenerator might not be installed on a comparatively small ship. In that case, the steam from the main engine is used for heating and cooking and supplying hot water.

Using Additives to Create a More Environment-Friendly Fuel Oil

Image that wraps sludge*4 element by element od additive, and controls hardening.
The asphaltene condenses when the resolution subsidiary quality disappears, and it precipitates.
The element that substitutes for the resolution subsidiary quality is included in the combustion improver.
It prevents the asphaltene being precipitated.

The impact that fuel oil has on the environment and the ship can generally be improved through the use of fuel additives. Broken down by objective, these effects include: (1) fuel conservation, (2) prevention of engine and equipment problems, such as soiling and corrosion, (3) reduction of maintenance and upkeep, (4) cleansing of emission gases, and (5) reduction of air pollution by suppressing CO2 emissions and particulate matter. Field experiments using commissioned ships indicated that the fuel additive YUNIC 555D improves fuel economy by 1.5% or more. In fact, this additive was created by Nippon Yuka Kogyo Co. Ltd., an NYK Group company, and because of the product's positive impact, it is being actively used throughout the NYK fleet.

  1. *4Sludge is semisolid mixture that does not dissolve in oil. When sludge precipitates, it becomes like thick asphalt.

Taking an active role in environmental regulations through development of new oil additive // Nippon Yuka Kogyo Co., Ltd. //

In November 2014, Nippon Yuka Kogyo Co., Ltd. announced the development of a new oil additive named Yunic750LS-F intended to be used with low-sulfur gas oil.*5 Patent and trademark applications have been filed.
Sulfur oxide (SOx) regulations*6 will become stricter from 2015, and low-sulfur gas oil will then be used more frequently in ECAs (emission control areas), so this product is set to play a very important role. This oil additive has the following three features:

  1. 1Improves lubricity and thus prevents troubles (abnormal friction and agglutination) in fuel-oil equipment.
  2. 2Prevents the growth of mold in the gas oil. Mold may be an issue because this gas oil could be stored in the tank for an extended time because low-sulfur gas oil is used only in ECAs (emission control areas).
  3. 3Results in easier handling by the vessel crew because of the combined features indicated in (1) and (2) above.

The NYK Group, including Nippon Yuka Kogyo Co., Ltd., continues to comply with environmental regulations and take an active role in research and development for environmental conservation.

  1. *5Marine gas oil
    Fuel oils used on vessels ? i.e., heavy fuel oil, marine diesel oil, marine gas oil, and the like ? are graded by their components, and the quality of marine gas oil is rated the highest among these oils
  2. *6Sulfur oxide (SOx) regulation
    The requirements applicable to ships for controlling air pollutant emissions are becoming stricter every year. In particular, emission limits of sulfur in fuel oils will fall from the current 1.0% to 0.1% from January 1, 2015, in emission control areas, which are mostly located off Europe and North America.

In May 2019, NYK and Nippon Yuka Kogyo Co. Ltd. have jointly developed a new fuel-oil additive "Yunic 800VLS" (patent pending) for low-sulphur compliant fuel-oil that meets SOx emission requirements which will enter into force on January 1, 2020. "Yunic 800VLS" effectively disperses asphaltene and paraffin (wax) specific within VLSFOs to suppress sludge formation. This is Japan's first additive for very low sulfur fuel oil, or VLSFO. The additive improves safety by helping to avoid troubles that may be caused by certain contents of VLSFO. The NYK Group seeks to be compliant with the 2020 SOx cap and enrich safe operations by introducing this new fuel-oil additive for VLSFO.

Removing extraneous matter and polishing propellers

Seaweed and crustaceans adhere to hulls and propellers, and result in increased propulsion resistance, which drops ship speed and increases fuel consumption. Ordinarily, antifouling paint is used on ship bottoms to prevent matter from adhering to the hull, but after the passage of time, organisms begin to adhere anyway, and underwater cleaning (UWC) is subsequently required. Extraneous matter adhering to propellers also limits propulsion efficiency, so propellers are polished as well. UWC results in a fuel-consumption savings of about 10%, and propeller polishing leads to a 1%-2% savings. These are some of the reasons why NYK actively maintains its ships.