The European innovation project RAMSSES, short for Realization and Demonstration of Advanced Material Solutions for Sustainable and Efficient Ships, aims to promote the application of innovative materials in ships, mainly aimed at the use of Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) composite materials.
The application of FRP in ships offers many potential advantages – ships can become lighter due to less fuel consumption resulting in composite rust, which means that considerably less maintenance will be required. In addition, the application of this material offers new design options, and for example the integration of sensors in the materials. However, nowadays mainly pleasure yachts, sailing yachts, water buses and fast ships <50 m are made of composite instead of steel. For larger ships, the use of composite is still limited to components or military applications.
From a technical point of view, it is already possible to make larger ships exclusively from composite material, however, SOLAS argues that ships should be made of steel or a comparable material, and as a result each application must be tested against steel to judge if it is safe. Its most attractive feature is its fire safety.
After the application of FRP, the RAMSSES project aims to accelerate by:
- Developing and demonstrating 13 specific maritime applications (see figure), including composite components, decks, superstructure and a complete ship. Constructions that contribute to the strength of the ship are not excluded, and links with other materials and possibilities to carry out repairs are also taken into account.
- Validating the technical properties, life cycle costs and sustainability performance for each application, also with the aim to develop a database with reusable information of test results, material properties and other relevant knowledge for future applications.
- Increasing the innovative power by setting up a platform through which comprehensible knowledge can be made available and shared widely. The re-using of collected information will also have to lead to the speeding up of market introduction.
The role of NMT within RAMSSES
NMT’s activities within the project mainly focus on the dissemination of knowledge and researching regulatory aspects, so we are in a good position to represent the interests of our members. NMT is the work package leader on the subject of regulations, and the following objectives have been set:
- Creating an overview of the current maritime framework of regulation, including identification of obstacles that might be encountered to innovative materials.
- Developing a ‘fast track to approval’; an approach that enables the demonstration of equivalent safety to be carried out more efficiently and more quickly, for example by using standardized risk scenarios, reusing test results from certified institutes and by using recommended alternative design solutions developed with the help of relevant professional organizations involved in specific classification.
- Delivering a strategy / policy memorandum to make the maritime regulations more suitable for the application of innovative materials in the long term.
By being closely involved in these developments, the Dutch shipyards and the maritime suppliers have the opportunity to be in the front row of applications within the market.
The consortium consists of 36 project partners from 12 European countries, 6 of which are from the Netherlands (Damen Gorinchem, Damen Scheldt Naval Shipbuilding, Infracore Company, Airborne, TNO and NMT). It started on 1 June 2017 and will last 4 years. The project budget is 13.5 million euros, of which 10.8 million euros have been contributed by the EU from their Horizon 2020 program.
For more information, go to www.ramsses-project.eu