Mercuria & ÈTA: Sustainable Sea Shipping

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_Mercuria & ÈTA-Sustainable Sea Shipping
Image courtesy of Mercuria

Mercuria, a prominent global energy and commodity group, has joined forces with ÈTA Shipping, a trailblazing maritime innovator, in a groundbreaking partnership to expedite the transition to sustainable short-sea shipping.

This collaborative endeavour involves the establishment of a joint venture that will oversee the construction of an initial batch of six cutting-edge vessels, with an option for an additional ten. The construction process will be undertaken by Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering Co., Ltd.

These state-of-the-art vessels, operated by Mare Balticum BV, a subsidiary of Mercuria, and with ÈTA Shipping as a minority shareholder, embody a pioneering approach to enhancing efficiency. The inaugural voyage of the first vessel is scheduled for the second quarter of 2025.

Emission-Free Advancements

ÈTA Shipping was founded with the core mission of revolutionising the design and construction of cargo ships, placing a strong emphasis on bolstering their operational efficiency.

At the heart of this transformation is the modular blueprint of the ÈTA 6700 vessel, which does away with a traditional main engine and instead employs an electric motor to drive the propeller.

Electricity generation is facilitated by versatile generators capable of being fueled by either conventional or low-carbon sources. Furthermore, the vessel can seamlessly integrate sustainable power options such as batteries or fuel-cell technology, running on environmentally friendly sources like green Hydrogen, Methanol, or Ammonia. This innovative setup allows for the potential addition or substitution of zero-emission solutions.

Inspired by Efficiency

The name ÈTA Shipping, conceived by founders Sam Gombra and Walter van Gruijthuijsen, draws inspiration from the Greek letter η (ÈTA), symbolising efficiency – a cornerstone of their vessel design philosophy.

A Modular Approach

Explaining the vessel's modular approach, co-founder Sam Gombra affirms that the design facilitates effortless replacement of the power source, enabling swift and convenient adaptation, potentially within a single day, without necessitating the use of a shipyard.

The ÈTA 6700's ingenious design achieves impressive efficiency gains while maintaining speed and cargo capacity parity with conventional vessels. Boasting a cargo carrying capacity of 7400 tonnes deadweight within a trim 5000 gross tonnage, it achieves a fully laden speed of 10.5 knots with under 900 KW of power, establishing itself as the most efficient Ice 1A vessel in its category.

A Voyage Towards Automation

Automation stands as a pivotal driver behind efficiency enhancements and heightened maritime safety when compared to traditional vessels. Consequently, the vessel can be capably operated with a reduced crew size of four, a reduction from the typical six.

Walter van Gruijthuijsen, an experienced naval architect and co-founder of ÈTA Shipping, highlights the vessel's advanced 3D management tool, equipped with over 1,300 sensors, which facilitates virtual navigation, access to equipment data, and historical trend analysis for crew and technical personnel.

Embracing Energy Transition

Mercuria's investment in ÈTA Shipping and the development of the new ÈTA 6700 vessel series furnish the company with a formidable platform to drive the shift towards zero-carbon shipping, aligning seamlessly with their energy transition agenda.

Mindaugas Gogelis, Mercuria's Energy Transition Director, underscores three defining attributes of these vessels: their future-proof design, efficiency, and automation. ÈTA vessels are already a remarkable 30% more efficient than conventional newbuilds and exhibit around 50% higher efficiency compared to the average legacy fleet vessel.

In a climate of uncertainty surrounding future costs and the availability of zero-carbon maritime fuels, maintaining the flexibility to embrace evolving technologies is paramount.

Larry Johnson, Global Head of Freight and Shipping Trading at Mercuria emphasises the intrinsic adaptability within the ÈTA 6700 design, allowing tailored decarbonisation pathways to be tailored to specific cargo owners' or operators' needs, adaptable in accordance with the pace of commercially viable technical solutions.

United for Green and Efficient Seas

Both Mercuria and ÈTA Shipping share a resolute commitment to spearheading the transition toward more eco-friendly and efficient shipping. Through collaboration with other stakeholders, these partners envision expanding the fleet and making a lasting, positive impact on the maritime industry.

Crafting the Future at the Shipyard

The selection of Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering Co., Ltd for constructing the ÈTA 6700 vessels is grounded in their adaptable and innovative approach. The shipyard views this collaboration as a prime opportunity to translate ÈTA Shipping's visionary vessel design into reality and contribute to the cause of sustainable short-sea shipping.

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Source: Mercuria

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