Marine transport in the Arctic Sea

The importance of marine transport in the Arctic Sea is further increasing as the ice-extends decrease due to the global climate change. However, the distinct conditions of the Arctic Sea, such as remoteness, darkness, low temperatures, ice or and the lack of marine infrastructure, represent a challenge to be surpassed in order to ensure safe and economical transport. Furthermore, the assessment of various parameters and their sensitivity influencing the ship design for Arctic conditions, and thereby the safety of life at sea, are of utmost importance. Additionally, the environmental conditions act as design drivers especially if minimal emissions and thereby maximal efficiency need to be satisfied.

Therefore, my vision is to develop a holistic design environment for Arctic Sea transport systems considering ice, low temperatures, darkness, remoteness, structural safety (accidental- and post-accidental), fire safety, noise, economic feasibility, manufacturing and operational requirements. As a result, innovative transport systems will be developed integrating the northern- and southern passages as a part of a global fleet- and supply chain management system. Current regulatory design requirements are further developed to fulfil the demands for the northern passages. Therefore, a new research group and knowledge centre will be established to harmonize the appearance of NTNU concerning sustainable transport and ship design for the Arctic Sea. Applicability of the research world wide and especially the Norwegian increasing trend and interest in the Arctic Sea require sound design concepts and regulations to cope with the distinct regional challenges in order to make northern transport feasible. Hence, the holistic design environment will result in such concepts and thereby provide the leap for national competitiveness and international recognition. Assessing accident consequences as well as developing regulation and standards will contribute to the sustainability of the Norwegian Sea and coast as a result of passive and active safety features and innovations. This sustainability concept will not only focus on the safety of the human in a short term perspective, but concerns environmental long term impacts of Arctic transport on local and global emissions. Furthermore, the new NTNU research group and a knowledge centre concerned with the Arctic Sea will contribute to the development of a specialized education in Arctic Technology. Thus securing a long-term competitiveness in the Arctic transport sector through state of the art education of tomorrow's experts in Norway.

I am very pleased to be part of the Arctic developments through NTNU as part of this knowledge hub. With a background in accidental structural analysis and related risk assessment, optimization and conceptual design as well as material modelling for steel and ice, I am able to contribute to new and innovative transport systems for the Arctic Sea. Therefore, I will develop a holistic design environment for ships operating in Arctic conditions and thereby assess the vessels´ performance and strength operating in ice, which can further be used to assess and minimize the operational risk. In order to achieve this, I will develop my expertise in the field of ship optimization techniques for the arctic region to gain a rational insight into the phenomena involved and assess their influence on the environment and global cost. Additionally, I will synthesise the disciplines found at NTNU and worldwide in the Arctic Technology field within this design environment. Thereby, a global competitiveness in the Arctic transport sector through state of the art research findings can be secured.

Basic research: Fluid-Ice-Structure Interaction suitable for optimization, Assessment of the material behaviour, Development of new materials and structures, Development of methods to assess the environmental impact and cost of new transport systems for the Arctic Sea.

Applied research: Design methods for Arctic Sea transport systems, Development of sustainable and competitive concepts, Innovative solutions for operations in darkness and remoteness, Development of active and passive safety features for reducing the hazard-related risks, Integration of the Arctic and non-Arctic passages as a part of a global fleet- and supply chain management system, Development of design requirements to fulfil the demands for the northern passages in the future.

Within both research areas I would like to develop a close industrial cooperation to support innovative products with state of the art research results. Additionally, direct feedback from industrial partners working in the Arctic Sea region will be highly appreciated to strengthen the overall competitiveness through innovative strategies and designs.

Reference list (the ten most relevant and recent publications) von Bock und Polach R, Ehlers S. Heave and pitch motions of a ship in model ice: an experimental study on ship resistance and ice breaking pattern. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 2011; 68; 49-59. Ehlers S, Remes H, Klanac A, Naar H. A multi-objective optimisation-based structural design procedure for the concept stage - a chemical product tanker case study. Ship Technology Research, Schiffstechnik, 2010; 57(3): 182-197. Rigo P, 'ani' V, Ehlers S, Andri J. Design of Innovative Ship Concepts using an Integrated Decision Support System for Ship Production and Operation. Brodogradnja-Shipbuilding 2010; 61(4): 367-381. Ehlers S, Tabri K, Romanoff J, Varsta P. Numerical and Experimental Investigation on the Collision Resistance of the X-core Structure. Journal of Ships and Offshore Structures, Special Issue on Collision and Grounding, 2010; 1-9. Ehlers S. A procedure to assess the damage of a grounded ship: a full-scale validation case study. Ship Technology Research, 2010; 57(1); 50-64 Ehlers S. The influence of the material relation on the accuracy of collision simulations. Marine Structures, 2010; 23; 462-474. Kõrgesaar M, Ehlers S. An Assessment Procedure of the Crashworthiness of an LNG Tanker Side Structure. Ship Technology Research, Schiffstechnik, 2010; 57(1): 50-64. Ehlers S. A procedure to optimize ship side structures for crashworthiness. Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment 2009; 224: 1-12. Ehlers S. Strain and stress relation until fracture for finite element simulations of a thin circular plate. Thin-Walled Structures 2009; 48(1); 1-8. Ehlers S, Varsta P. Strain and stress relation for non-linear finite element simulations. Thin-Walled Structures 2009; 47; 1203-1217.