16 Mar 2023

Working for sustainability at Damen Shipyards Changde

In focus: ✔ Damen Shipyards Changde ✔ Sustainable Development Goals ✔ Сlean solar power

­­Damen Shipyards Changde (DSCh) in China, located on the Yuan River nearly a thousand kilometres from the coast, is a busy yard that mainly produces tugs, workboats, high-speed vessels and dredgers for the worldwide export market. In recent years it has been making good progress towards maximizing its sustainability, with every aspect of its operations being reviewed from a sustainability perspective and the most energy-hungry equipment identified.

“Some actions are easier that others,” says Sophie Chen, Administration Manager. “For example, the upgrading of the lighting across the site to LED lamps is a work in progress and now approximately 30 to 40% complete. The work and its costs are being spread across several years, with the replacing of the lighting in the workshops the biggest job yet to be completed. However the installation of solar panels on the roofs allows the yard to generate one megawatt of clean solar power. This equates to approximately 40% of its entire energy needs, which is a great result.”

Small actions, big results

Incremental, smaller actions can also add up over time to make a real difference. For example, DSCh is replacing its many small printers when they reach their end of life with a smaller number of larger, more efficient machines. Introducing shuttle buses to transport workers to and from the site so as to reduce car usage is another success. So far only one of the six buses is electric, but in time the entire fleet will be electrically powered for additional emissions reduction.

Other sustainability actions are harder to see but just as important. At DSCh, for example, they have reduced their paint consumption by 15% through more accurate calculations and better control.

The general replacing of old machines when they reach their end of life, whatever their purpose, almost always results in increased energy efficiency – particularly in welding. This has an added urgency as reducing the smoke from welding escaping into the atmosphere is another priority, and one shared with the local government. Filters have been installed in some areas and work on this continues.

Worker involvement

The workers at DSCh are all encouraged to help identify new ways in which sustainability can be further increased and the yard is expected to make a full contribution towards Damen Shipyards objective of being the most sustainable shipyard in the world.

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