Saving energy at sea: seafarers’ adoption, appropriation and enactment of technologies supporting energy efficiency
Doktorsavhandling, 2020

The shipping industry is currently facing a major challenge related to environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. New regulations and ambitious international goals that aim at mitigating carbon-based emissions with 50 %, demands on profitability, along with a growing awareness about the climate change, has prompted the maritime sector to increasingly focus on how to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel consumption in ship operations. This thesis aims at describing and understanding the challenges of improving energy efficiency seen from the lens of crew members’ work and to investigate the adoption, appropriation and use of particular technologies, purported to support energy efficiency in ship operation. Using an ethnographic approach and drawing on various practice-based concepts and theories such as communities of practice, activity theory and the imbrication of material and social agency, the four papers (I – IV) included in the thesis were based on extensive field studies in two shipping companies and onboard 11 passenger ferries. The empirical studies revealed that the introduction of new technologies and their subsequent incorporation in and change of established skills and practices is a complex social process depending on the knowing and learning of practitioners as well as their activities, meanings, identities and norms as developed and negotiated in specific settings over time. The thesis contributes to our general understanding of the situated process of adoption, appropriation and use of new technologies in the maritime domain and the sociomaterial nature of energy efficiency.

energy performance monitoring



workplace studies


energy efficiency

maritime human factors





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Opponent: Aykut Olcer, World Maritime University


Martin Viktorelius

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Maritima studier

The work and knowledge of ship crew members play an important role for how energy can be saved and emissions can be reduced from shipping. A significant potential for increasing maritime energy efficiency has been identified in available technical and operational measures. The implementation of many of these measures in the everyday work of seafarers presuppose integration with and development of current  practices. The aim of this thesis is to explore the challenges of improving energy efficiency in shipping seen from the perspective of seafarers. It focuses on how technologies supporting decision making related to energy efficient ship handling are adopted, appropriated and used by crew members in their everyday work onboard. Based on an ethnographic research approach involving field studies onboard vessels this thesis illustrates how the implementation of technologies and operational measures depend on seafarers collective learning and collaboration. The thesis does also demonstrate the relevance of the local social and cultural context for how technologies supporting energy efficiency are interpreted and used.



Annan data- och informationsvetenskap


Tillämpad psykologi

Mänsklig interaktion med IKT


Människa-datorinteraktion (interaktionsdesign)

Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning


Informations- och kommunikationsteknik




Hållbar utveckling



Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4759



Zoom! (password is required. Please email Katie Aylward (


Opponent: Aykut Olcer, World Maritime University

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