RAMSSES project investigating use of lightweight materials in shipbuilding; 70m fiber-reinforced composite hull
1 July 2017
A new EU-sponsored project—RAMSSES (Realization and Demonstration of Advanced Material Solutions for Sustainable and Efficient Ships)—seeks to bring sustainable construction principles such as lightweight construction and modern materials such as fiber-reinforced composites to shipbuilding. Up to now, freighters have been made exclusively from steel. RAMSSES includes 37 partners from 13 countries; the partners began working together this month.
Among the specific aims of the project is the production of a hull made out of fiber-reinforced composites and roughly 70 meters in length, which they will then test under real-life conditions on the high seas.
Hulls made using lightweight construction techniques and modern materials will weigh less than half what their steel counterparts weigh. Ships will also be less expensive to operate due either to lower fuel demands or to greater cargo capacity. Another enormous advantage of fiber-reinforced composites is that they don’t rust. Their excellent resistance to seawater will mean having to renew protective finishes less often, which, in turn, will extend maintenance intervals and reduce operating costs still further.
Part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, RAMSSES is expected to last for four years and will receive €10.8 million (US$12.3 million) in EU funding. RAMSSES will demonstrate the benefits of new materials in thirteen industry-led and marke-driven demonstrator cases along the entire maritime process chain from components through equipment and ship integration to repair.
Those demonstrators are to reach a high Technology Readiness Level between TRL 6 and 8 and will either be installed on shore under close to reality conditions or validated on board.
The technical performance as well as life cycle cost efficiency and environmental impact will be assessed and validated by specific expert teams following common procedures and testing standards.
The test program will be based on risk assessment and a widest possible use of existing test results and supervised by rule making bodies, such ensuring relevance for a commercial approval beyond the project. Test data as well as best practice procedures on design, qualification and production of new material solutions will be made available in a maritime test database and a central knowledge repository, thus allowing fast qualification and approval of similar maritime applications in future.
RAMSSES also aims to improve the innovation capabilities of the European maritime sector by elaborating terms of reference of a future use of the test database and the knowledge repository beyond the project. In cooperation with other initiatives, it will contribute to the formation of a maritime materials innovation Platform including continuous technology transfer from and to other industry sectors.
The coordinator for RAMSSES is CETENA S.p.A. Centro per gli Studi di Tecnica Navale in Italy.
The consortium includes leading shipbuilders such as Meyer-Werft, Papenburg, and Damen Shipbuilding of the Netherlands. These organizations are joined by established parts and equipment manufacturers such as Becker Marine Systems of Hamburg.