Improving the competitiveness of green ship recycling

Kanu Priya Jain

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

330 Downloads (Pure)


The end of life of a ship is determined by its owner on the basis of various commercial and technical factors. Once decided to scrap a ship, almost all end-of-life (EOL) ships are sold to recycling yards for dismantling; except for a few which are converted into museums, hotels, storage, and artificial reefs. As the decision is a commercial one, the selection of a yard is predominantly based on the offer price, which depends on the location of the yard and the recycling process employed.

Amongst major recycling centres, generally the yards located in the Indian subcontinent offer more than the Chinese yards, and Turkish yards offer the lowest of the three. Also, within these countries, the yards compliant with the international regulations and safety standards (green), and non-compliant yards (substandard/non-green) co-exist. The contrasting difference in offer price between the two makes the non-green yards more lucrative. Since the regional difference in price is due to perpetual local factors, this research focuses mainly on improving the competitiveness of green yards, irrespective of the region. The aim is to reduce the economic incentive to use substandard yards.

The concept of ‘cleaner production’ is applied to solve the research problem, which identified three main measures. First, the material flow analysis (MFA) to improve the planning and awareness on the yard. Second is the use of a waste-to-energy (WtE) technology to improve the valorisation of waste. And third, the use of the design-for-recycling (DfR) concept to improve the recyclability of new ships. The quantification of material streams of EOL ships is also suggested to support these measures.

A ‘material quantification model’ based on the ship’s lightweight distribution is developed to enable yards to quantify the material streams of EOL ships. Standardizing the format of lightweight distribution will ensure the speedy determination of material streams of EOL ships. The classification societies could play a leading role in implementing this simple yet effective solution.

An MFA model driven by the output of the first model (quantified material streams of the ship) is suggested to conduct analyses on recycling yards. An MFA can effectively be used by yards to conduct several planning related tasks; most importantly, to determine the amounts of materials generated for disposal (waste) and recycling. Therefore, yards are recommended to plan the ship recycling process using the MFA results.

For the WtE technology, the use of a plasma gasification plant on a large recycling yard (capacity of at least 1 million LDT per year) is estimated to increase the offer price in the range of $0.24 to $7.31 per LDT, depending on the recycling rate and plant size. The application of a plasma gasification plant is limited to the large size yards located predominantly in China as against the small to medium size yards in the subcontinent.

While comparing the industry in the Indian subcontinent with China/Turkey, upgrading the non-green yards is also a possibility to bridge the price gap. The upgrade of an existing pier-breaking facility up to the Hong Kong convention standards is estimated to reduce the offer price in the range of $4 to $9 per LDT. For other facility types, the reduction is likely to be in the range of $10 to $35 per LDT, depending on the facility type, recycling capacity and the upgrade cost.

For the DfR concept, the ship design features useful for reverse production, such as modular accommodation and lifting supports, amongst others, are suggested. A new format of the ship’s lightweight distribution is also proposed as a documental change to the ship design. Although these features will not reduce the offer price gap between the green and non-green yards as both yard types bear the same advantages of new design features, the recycling operations will definitely be streamlined and offer prices in general will be improved.

When all four improvements are combined and applied on the three major regions, it is clear that a gap of about 20 $/LDT and 30 $/LDT will remain between green and non-green yards in Turkey, and the Indian subcontinent respectively. However, in China, the gap can be reduced well within the range of 5 $/LDT. What also becomes clear is the availability of a much better developed downstream market in the Indian subcontinent will still ensure that prices offered here are about 25 $/LDT and 100 $/LDT higher than in China and Turkey respectively. The fact that components can be sold instead of just scrap materials is an important factor in this.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Hopman, J.J., Supervisor
  • Pruijn, J.F.J., Advisor
Award date8 Sep 2017
Print ISBNs978-94-6299-657-1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Ship recycling
  • Ship breaking
  • design-for-recycling
  • Waste management
  • economic analysis
  • Material Flow Analysis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Improving the competitiveness of green ship recycling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this