Enabling decarbonization: An interview with Accelleron's Christoph Rofka

An image of a containership at sunset to highlight Christoph Rofka's interview on decarbonization in the marine industry
Christoph Rofka, Head of the Medium & Low Speed division, explains how Accelleron’s turbochargers are helping the marine industry’s decarbonization efforts.

Accelleron plays a vital role in facilitating the decarbonization journey, for the maritime industry in particular. With products and services that increase the power density of combustion engines and reduce emissions, we make fuel use much more efficient. Christoph Rofka, Head of the Medium & Low Speed division, explains how Accelleron’s turbochargers are helping the industry’s decarbonization efforts.

Low speed products – can you explain what that means?

The Medium & Low Speed division produces and services turbochargers with engine power output between 500 and 80,000 kilowatts using one to four turbos per engine. These turbochargers are used mainly in marine and related applications as well as electric power generation.

How does your business contribute to the decarbonization of the world?

Our products increase the power density of combustion engines by three to four times and reduce their emissions by up to 20%. In other words, we make much more efficient use of fuel. We are positioning ourselves as the partner of choice for turbocharging and supporting engine builders in their development efforts to reduce CO2.

Where can Accelleron’s turbochargers have the most significant impact in reducing CO2 emissions

In the merchant marine sector, which is responsible for about 80% of the shipping industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022 we saw another steady increase in liquefied natural gas dual fuel propulsion. LNG is a transition fuel with approximately 20% less CO2 intensity than traditional diesel, according to the International Maritime Organization. We actively support engine builders in switching from fossil fuel engines to net zero or zero-carbon fuels.

Enabling decarbonization: An interview with Accelleron's Christoph Rofka

What is the driver of this technology development?

The world is calling for net zero cargo transportation, and the major cargo owners are responding. Scope 3 emissions are becoming more relevant as the need for decarbonization comes into a much stronger focus. Society and environmental groups are demanding it. Meanwhile, technology providers and regulatory authorities like the IMO and the EU are moving towards stricter standards.

How do you help the industry on the decarbonization journey?

Accelleron is a member of the International Council of Combustion Engines, where we contribute as a thought leader by promoting different fuel pathways. When most members still had heavy fuel on their R&D agenda, we led the greenhouse gas strategy group within the council. We gave the members insights into alternative fuels like hydrogen, which requires further processing to form green methanol, green ammonia, or liquefied hydrogen. Ultimately, we bring different players to the table – environmental groups, legislators, financial institutions, ship owners, and cargo owners. We contribute to a broader industry discussion with varying viewpoints on decarbonization.

Can you point to a real-world example of the decarbonization journey?

One of the world’s biggest container vessel operator and owner decided to order a vessel that runs on methanol. During development, we supported the engine OEM with our expertise, turbochargers, and capabilities in our test centers. Accelleron provided an improved standard product and supported the OEM in building the machinery. The engine OEM successfully passed the factory acceptance test for this engine at the end of last year, which was a great success. And we at Accelleron are proud to contribute to this “industry first”.

How does servicing of medium and low speed turbochargers play a role in this journey?

Before the digital era, service was done based on strict time intervals as the real operation and exposure was unknown. Today, with increased connectivity, related access to data and digital tools, we are shaping our service offerings based on operational data. The resulting flexibility does not only support the customer’s operation but also helps us to optimize our processes leading potentially among others to a reduction of material and air freight costs, which reduces the CO2emissions produced by our company.

This interview was published as part of Accelleron’s Sustainability Report 2023. If you wish to learn more, read the report in full here: Sustainability Report (accelleron-industries.com)

[1] Net zero fuel or net zero carbon fuel refer to fuel which produce no net GHG emission when burnt.
Image credit: Shutterstock/Aun Photographer