Operationalizing the SDGs in a Systems Engineering Framework for ship design concept studies

University essay from KTH/Marina system

Abstract: Sustainable transport involves more choices and possibilities than ever before, and the topic is widely discussed within the maritime industry. To a large extent the innovations and technology exists, but even though there is a drive and consciousness to change, sustainability is still not a cornerstone in the decision-making process when new ships and transport solutions are developed. The gap between sustainability ambitions and actual actions is far from closed. This thesis introduces a new framework called Systems Engineering for Sustainable Ship design (SE4SS), which is based on the Systems Engineering methodology for conducting concept developments and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for operationalizing sustainability. The new framework makes sustainability aspects an essential part of ship design concept development and the following decision-making process. The SE4SS framework includes an application of the SDGs on a product level (ship) and suggests appropriate tools & methods for sustainability assessment, considering different levels of ambitions and amount of available resources that projects may have. The framework has been validated against three cases of ship design concept development within the commissioner organization SSPA. The result shows that the suggested approach is useful in terms of ; (1) raising a holistic awareness of sustainability aspects in ship design, highlighting the existing opportunities and responsibilities, (2) creating a more transparent trade-off analysis where priorities need to be stated, preventing greenwashing, (3) structuring the process which facilitates the integration of sustainability aspects from the start and the communication between the project manager/naval architect and different stakeholders. Full-scale application of the SE4SS is needed in order to fully validate its usability and generalizability, however this thesis argues that the introduced framework may be a valuable tool in both illuminating and reducing the ambition-action gap within the maritime sector.

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