Modular Adaptable Ship Design for Handling Uncertainty in the Future Operating Context
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- Institutt for marin teknikk 
A ship's value is dependent on its context as well as its design features. Ship designers therefore need to consider future operating context scenarios for designing a value-robust ship. The context of a ship comprises a variety of factors and their complex behavior makes the prediction difficult. For handling such contextual uncertainty, ship designers often consider extra functions and capabilities. However, the increased CAPEX and OPEX due to the extra capabilities can be a significant threat to stakeholders if the need is not realized in the future operating context. The design of modular adaptable ships is an alternative approach that aims to mitigate the risk of the conventional robust approach. In fact, modularization is not a new concept in the field of ship design. It has received attention for efficient ship design and manufacturing. However, the modules of modular adaptable ships are used for fast and affordable ship conversion in the operation phase. The prime benefit is that the relative independence of modules allows decision makers to postpone investment in the extra capabilities until more information is available. There are available approaches to module based synthesis and lifecycle evaluation for ships. However, the approaches to module based synthesis are based on a given fixed set of functional requirements. This underestimates the value of operational flexibility of modular designs. On the other hand, the approaches to lifecycle evaluation are based on a given set of design alternatives. To bridge the gap, this thesis presents optimization methods that support decision makers in determining the best modular solution considering the value of operational flexibility in the uncertain future operating context. The case studies that demonstrate the methods show that operational flexibility can mitigate risks in early design decisions and the value of flexible designs is highly dependent on how to use their flexibility. This configuration change of a modular adaptable ship is based on its operation platform, which is a set of common modules that are shared by multiple configurations. The design of an operation platform is challenging due to the conflicting requirements of multiple missions and the interface decisions that affect the level of flexibility of the operation platform. For the operation platform design problem, this thesis presents an optimization model that determines the optimal platform design that best meets the desired capabilities of multiple missions while considering its expected lifecycle cost. The presented model is implemented in a case study that shows that the design results provide insights into the design problem, so that designer can improve the design further.