Sustainable innovations for the future

Saab is working actively to minimise the impact of products and operations on the environment and climate. An important part of this is research and development collaboration in order to develop sustainable innovations for the future.

In our product portfolio are several solutions that contribute to a reduced impact on the climate. One of them is a new ROV (Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle) that Saab has developed and which is used by the Danish company C-leanship. The business concept of C-leanship is the hull washing of some of the world's largest vessels – without damaging the antifouling. This reduces the environmental footprint of ships by dramatically reducing fuel consumption, but also by cutting down on the spread of micro-organisms between different marine environments. In addition, it reduces the need to bring the vessels in to dry dock in order to repaint them, which also reduces the costs of the shipping companies.

Gentle cleaning
Conventional cleaning techniques for hull cleaning are carried out with divers using rotating brushes to clean hulls. These brushes roughen the surface of the hull and damage the antifouling, which limits the opportunities for frequent cleaning. C-leanship's founder Jesper Hoejer came to Saab with the idea that instead of brushes, high-pressure water jets could be used for cleaning the hulls together with Saab's advanced technology for underwater navigation of vessels. This cleaning technique provides an effective yet gentle cleaning.

Safe, and time efficient
The use of ROVs for hull cleaning is both safer and faster than conventional techniques with divers. The powerful propulsion system of the ROV and its navigation instruments, allow cleaning even in adverse conditions such as strong currents and poor visibility. With usual cleaning carried out by divers, the cleaning must take place in open water, which creates delays and leads to the cleaning of hulls being carried out less frequently than is desirable from a fuel saving point of view. C-leanship uses Saab's advanced ROVs for the cleaning. Thanks to these, cleaning can take place in port during normal port stops, which means that the timetables of shipping companies are not affected. Cleaning facilities along major shipping routes can then offer the possibility of frequent hull cleaning; a cleaning that can be planned far in advance or at short notice, and without interrupting timetables.

Hull cleaning with divers is also hazardous work, which unfortunately leads to serious accidents every year.

Energy efficient
Fuel consumption and environmental impact are two of the most central issues in the shipping industry; the cost of fuel represents a large proportion of total operating costs. The benefits that come with C-leanship in the form of improved fuel economy and flexible hull cleaning can give a 5% reduction in the fuel consumption of a vessel, depending on its size. A careful assessment of the potential savings, only for container ships, suggests that millions of tons of fuel could be saved to a value of several billion dollars annually. 

Deployed in Singapore
The first ROV for underwater cleaning developed by C-leanship has been deployed in Singapore, which is one of the world's largest container ports. Additional ROVs are planned to be deployed in other ports.