Adopting a waste heat recovery system captures the heat and pressure contained in the exhaust gas and uses it to move turbines, creating mechanical energy to operate an electrical generator. Without such a system, a quarter of the energy from a vessel’s fuel is lost when an engine’s hot exhaust gas escapes into the atmosphere.
Weighing 75 tonnes and with a 35 square-metre footprint, the waste heat recovery system is a large and complicated piece of mechanical machinery. At a cost of around 10 million US dollars per unit, it isn’t cheap – but there is a long-term benefit from installing it. Depending on the price of oil, Maersk estimates the return on investment of the waste heat recovery system to be in the range of five to 10 years. If oil prices rise, the system will pay off closer to five years.
While oil prices will fluctuate, Maersk’s commitment to the environment is constant. Because of the energy savings and reduced emissions the system provides, the company plans to continue installing this technology on its other vessels. 58 Maersk Line vessels, including the 8 E-class vessels (Emma Maersk), have the system on board. Including the 20 Triple-E vessels, a total of 78 Maersk Line vessels will have the waste heat recov¬ery system installed.