STOCK IMAGE Cruise ship at sea

One simple secret that will make your emissions reduction strategy look awesome

Brailsford’s theory of marginal gains can be a gamechanger when it comes to cutting maritime emissions. Discover how lifecycle agreements can help you find the small gains that really add up.

Could a secret weapon from British Cycling transform your emissions reduction strategy and deliver greater wins for your fleet?

Even if you don’t follow competitive cycling, you may have heard of the philosophy of marginal gains. This simple secret transformed the fortunes of British Cycling – and it could it transform your maritime emissions reduction journey too.

Back in 2003, British Cycling wasn’t in a good place, with no Olympic gold medal wins for nearly 100 years. David Brailsford came in with the aim to improve as many things as possible by just 1%, knowing that combining these smaller improvements would bring significant advances. His approach worked: from 2007 to 2017, the British Cycling team won 178 world championships and 66 Olympic or Paralympic gold medals.

Could marginal gains be the secret weapon you need to reduce your maritime emissions? Here are just three examples of where marginal gains can be achieved.


Marginal gain 1: optimise your engine

While much of the discussion around decarbonisation leads with fuel-saving hardware and software, smaller efficiency improvement can sometimes be overlooked. But making sure engines are operating as efficiently as possible can have a significant effect on your decarbonisation journey. Lots of small improvements can add up to substantial fuel savings – and therefore a significant reduction in emissions. The starting point for identifying these improvements? Data. This begins with the simple: making sure the vessel’s powertrain is optimised to match the operating profile, with the flexibility to cover your full range of sailing speeds.


Marginal gain 2: monitor each component

The more data you collect, the more you can do to reduce your vessel’s overall carbon emissions. Every single component has a part to play. For example, exchanging a filter or cleaning an air cooler at the right time can help to cut fuel consumption by around 2% – and data can tell us when that time is. With accurate engine data, many common operational issues – for example an engine not starting or not operating as efficiently as it could – can even be solved remotely. Even very small deviations in performance can be picked up, allowing you to take prompt action before the problem potentially develops into something more serious. Keeping components operating optimally helps to increase efficiency and minimise emissions.


Marginal gain 3: schedule maintenance only when needed

Data can also show you when it’s safe to not replace a component or perform an overhaul because everything is working fine. This saves the costs and carbon emissions associated with manufacturing, shipping and fitting parts unnecessarily. It also allows you to extend equipment lifetimes without worrying about inefficient operation increasing your emissions.  Keeping maintenance costs down also frees up capital to spend on other emissions reduction solutions. 


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Meet your emission reduction targets – guaranteed
. This infographic shows this and four other ways a Lifecycle Agreement can help you get ahead of your competition.


Find the gains that work for you with a partnership agreement

The easiest way to find the marginal gains that will work for you is with a trusted partner and a lifecycle service agreement. This can help you achieve much greater efficiency, typically 2-3% - but depending on the ship type, installed equipment, operating profile, the impact may be up to 20%. The benefits from Wärtsilä Lifecycle Agreements are all based on solid, actionable data. Support is available on four levels:

  • Wärtsilä Enhanced Support is the most basic level of cover, giving you easy access to operational data from your engines. Based on this data, you can make better-informed decisions and forecast when parts will be needed. Monitoring engine status, condition and performance can support you to run your engine more efficiently – helping to reduce emissions. Wärtsilä Enhanced Support also gives you access to on-demand operational support from Wärtsilä experts whenever needed, as well as biannual scheduled maintenance forecasts based on actual running hours.
  • Wärtsilä Technical Management takes things further with proactive support and recommendations. The service typically includes our Expert Insight service, which takes the data gathered and uses AI and advance rule-based diagnostics to flag up any changes in performance, no matter how small. Our experts will then proactively notify you with actionable advice and recommendations for troubleshooting or maintenance to ensure efficiency remains high – which in turn keeps emissions low. Recommendations also help you to prevent unexpected downtime, as well as improve long-term cost predictability and asset availability by scheduling maintenance according to your business operations.
  • Wärtsilä Optimised Maintenance includes all the elements of Technical Management, helping you to increase asset availability, reduce unexpected downtime and make better decisions based on actionable advice and insights. It also includes fuel-efficiency optimisation, helping you to save costs and reduce emissions. In addition, you get maintenance supervision, resource planning – including coordination and logistics of spare parts deliveries – and execution. Your budgeting is easier with predictable maintenance costs, and you can schedule maintenance to suit your business operations, maximising the availability of your vessels.
  • Wärtsilä Guaranteed Asset Performance is for you if want your emission reduction guaranteed. The agreement contains all the elements of Enhanced Support and Optimised Maintenance, but also includes mutually agreed performance targets based on your business needs. This can include key performance indicators like emissions levels and fuel consumption – and we’ll guarantee that the targets are reached and maintained. This kind of outcome-based agreement is a true data-led partnership where you and Wärtsilä share the risks and rewards. 

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Current Lifecycle customers include Carnival Corporation – find out how a 12-year performance-based agreement is saving the company tens of millions of dollars a year in fuel costs.

The philosophy of marginal gains could be the secret you need to make your emissions reduction strategy look awesome, by making many small improvements that add up to one big result.

If you’re looking to reduce emissions – and want to see your marginal gains add up to significant ones – it could be time to add your vessel to the 700 ships currently supported by a Wärtsilä Lifecycle Agreement. With 92% of customers renewing their agreement, it’s no secret that long-term gains are there for those that know where to find them.

Now you’re in on the secret, do you want to use it to give your emissions reduction strategy a boost? Find out how the benefits of a lifecycle agreement really add up.

Written by
Amanda Thurman

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