Naval Group is actively participating in the collective effort to preserve the planet, an urgent question for this century.

While naval defence is currently exempt from the obligation to comply with regulations, especially those from the International Maritime Organisation, Naval Group is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its products. For over ten years already, Naval Group has been working on incorporating environmental requirements into its ships to prevent and mitigate environmental impacts from a life-cycle perspective.

Meanwhile, Naval Group sites are defining and implementing actions to manage risks and mitigate the environmental impacts of their activities.

Its environmental approach has been ISO 14001 certified since 2008 for both products and activities.

Environmental analyses of its products and activities:  Naval Group, certified ISO 14001

The purpose of environmental analyses is to determine the major environmental factors concerning our products and activities from a life cycle perspective. They are therefore used to identify the environmental impacts for which Naval Group has the means of influence or control, and thus to focus resources on the most important issues.

Based on the environmental analysis of its activities, Naval Group specifies and implements necessary and relevant actions. These actions are primarily aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (energy, commuting to and from work), reducing the amount of waste produced and ensuring better reuse, as well as controlling fluid discharges.

In terms of products, the dedicated design teams use environmental baseline analyses conducted for each product line and over the entire life cycle of the ships - from their design to their deconstruction - to integrate environmental requirements into new ships. In order to feed the constant improvement of its products, Naval Group has chosen to conduct environmental analyses on ships currently being designed, such as the future ocean-going submarine (FSMO) and the third-generation ship subsurface ballistic nuclear submarine (3G SSBN). The results of these environmental analyses are also used to guide Research and Development (R&D).

The challenges associated with taking the environment into account over the entire life cycle of products are also economic, via renewed control of production costs (energy consumption, waste recovery, etc.), and operational, via the increased autonomy and discretion of the ships made possible through new hybrid propulsion systems. Lastly, these challenges are competitive: Naval Group has taken an interest in this discipline in order to anticipate new regulations and ensure that its customers will always be able to navigate wherever they want.

Responsible innovation, the Blue Ship focus

Naval Group’s efforts also stand out in the area of R&D. A specific “environment and eco-design” focus is incorporated in our R&D projects. Moreover, this focus specifically addresses the need to anticipate regulations, improve eco-design methods, manage waste, emissions and resources as well as their impact on biodiversity.

Our ambitions are led by the unifying focus for Research and Development - Blue Ship - one of guiding principles of Naval Group’s R&D. It brings together all the energy- and environment-orientated subjects of interest for the group. Its aim is to combine innovations, new operational capacities and sustainable growth, by providing programs with green technologies that combine these two challenges. It marks Naval Group’s commitment to blue growth and its desire for excellence as well as leadership in this field.

Reducing the environmental impact of maritime traffic noise on marine ecosystems

Naval Group has offered its skills in acoustic discretion to the PIAQUO European research project on the reduction of the acoustic impact of maritime traffic and adjustment in real time to ecosystems. The project has nine other French, Italian and Swedish partners. The objective is to reduce the impact of maritime traffic noise on ecosystems, in particular in the Mediterranean, as European regulations are aiming for.

The PIAQUO project is set around five areas of research, two of which are specifically led by Naval Group.

  1. development of propellers improved so as to reduce the emission of underwater sound pollution;
  2. development of an on-board system for self-estimation of the level of noise emitted in the environment and self-detection of cavitation in real time;
  3. an awareness program for ship owners on reducing the emission of underwater sound pollution, in association with a database containing real sound pollution data measured by an acoustic buoy at sea;
  4. adjustment of maritime traffic according to passive acoustic real time mapping and drones in the ecosystems crossed through;
  5. implementation of decision-making tools for problems concerning the reduction of sound pollution from ships, aimed at public and private parties.

The solutions found will be proposed to all contributors to maritime transport.

Working towards new energy sources

Naval Group is fully committed to energy transition and examining alternatives to fossil fuels in order to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of its platforms. The use of new neutral or carbon-free rules and their associated energy production procedures are some of the solutions that we are analysing with the aim of moving towards zero CO² emissions for our future ships as well as those currently in service.

As part of this approach, Naval Group calls on and supports its suppliers to provide and develop new energy production procedures that are more efficient and do not emit any greenhouse gases.

Based on its experience in batteries for submarines and anaerobic propulsion modules, the group designs and integrates li-Ions battery systems and fuel cell-powered energy production modules. These technological solutions for the production and storage of electric power are promising ways forward in actions to decarbonise ships to meet the ambitious objectives of regulations and the expectations of society as a whole.

Naval Group is aiming towards new technologies for producing and storing neutral, carbon-free energy in order to combine ecological asset, resilience and operational efficiency.

Green energy transition of the maritime sector

Naval Group aims to become an example in the field of green energy transition in the maritime sector and adheres, as such, to the objectives for reducing pollutant emissions set by the Paris Agreement.

The group strives to respect the low-carbon objectives set by the International Maritime Organisation for 2050 and anticipate regulations to come, as the design-build-operate process for our ships stretches over several decades.

Naval Group has identified several objectives in order to meet this challenge:

  • improving energy efficiency through a higher electrification of ships, which, in allowing common use of the power distributed, enables dynamic control, easier integration of new sources of clean energy and also getting the most out of the digital revolution;
  • saving means by designing and integrating systems that use less power without compromising operational performances;
  • performing operational controls of emissions and discharges to contribute to reducing the environmental footprint.

These challenges are similar to those encountered in the civil maritime sector: the solutions to face these issues could be collective and shall be qualified for use by naval defence.

It is for this reason that Naval Group is committed to these collective projects for green energy transition of the maritime sector and is a founding member of the Coalition for the green energy transition of the maritime sector (MEET 20-50) led by the French Maritime Cluster (CMF). The company is also a member of the RAMSSES consortium, a European project which aims to produce and prove that new solutions using high-tech materials in ship design can reduce our environmental footprint.