Q: What are the biggest advantages of focusing on fuel efficiency?
A: Focusing on fuel efficiency is a key factor in decreasing what is often the biggest single operating costs item. In addition, fuel efficiency offers long term competitiveness and sustainability.
Q: What are the main areas to improve fuel efficiency?
A: Regarding engine fuel efficiency the main areas are the choice of fuel and the design and condition of the engine and how it is operated. Proper maintenance and optimisation of the engine as well as the propulsion system are key areas as well. What comes to the total vessel fuel efficiency, vessel speed is the largest influencing factor, i.e. the lowest speed that still complies with the commercial operations requirements will achieve lower total fuel consumption. If the hull, propulsion and engines are initially designed and optimized for higher vessel speeds and such high vessel speeds are not needed anymore, then a modification of hull design (e.g. bulbous bow), propeller and main engine rating/tuning will achieve usually major fuel consumption reductions and thus cost savings.
Q: We all know that the price of oil is record low. Why would fuel efficiency be so important?
A: Fuel costs account for a big part of a ship’s operating expenses. Focusing on fuel efficiency is a key factor in decreasing operating costs. In addition – it is a key area in order to comply with the stricter environmental regulations. The same fuel consumption reductions can be achieved, independent of the unit price of fuel. Investing in fuel consumption reduction solutions will pay back anyway. Payback time might be longer when fuel prices are low, but on the other hand, the total reduced fuel costs due to lower prices enable more available cash flow for such investments. Once the oil prices increase, a vessel with already improved efficiency will have a big competitive advantage.
Q: I didn’t quite understand what is new in the digital solutions. Could you clarify this?
A: We have launched new digital solutions called Wärtsilä Genius which are in nutshell: consisting of solutions and services which are designed to optimise, for example, an installation’s energy efficiency, or even the management of an entire fleet. This will be done by integrating advanced dynamic voyage planning, ship efficiency advisory services and energy analysis, as well as extensive condition monitoring of the main equipment into one consolidated solution.
Q: Interesting case in Italy! Could you tell some more about the system configuration?
A: The Tirrenia ferry is fitted with two controllable pitch propellers, with 4 engines (W12V46), 2 per shaft. Propeller diameter is 4500 mm. We engineered new propeller blades for the new sailing condition on lower design speed and more flexibility for all operating modes. Original the propellers were designed for 29 knots, maximum speed is now 24 knots. Hope this answers your question.
Q: At Wärtsilä how do you actually measure the success of a fuel efficiency project?
A: Engine, fuel efficiency can be measured by the engine’s Specific Fuel Oil Consumption (SFOC), which measures the amount of fuel needed to provide one horsepower for a period of one hour. Propulsion efficiency can be measured by the power that is required to sail a certain vessel speed. This sounds simple, but as there are many influencing factors, such as for example vessel draft, wind speed and sea state it is challenging to perform an accurate measurement on board of a vessel. In most cases propulsion efficiency is measured using open water test on model scale in a research centre, however nowadays we also have developed solutions and services to accurate measure and optimise real time the total (propulsion) efficiency of the vessel during its operation. My colleague Timo who is also present in this forum can explain a bit more.
This is addition to the earlier reply about current solutions we offer for efficiency monitoring services under Wärtsilä Genius:
Solutions and services within Optimise by Wärtsilä Genius services are tailored to increase the competitiveness and effectiveness of customer’s operations with real-time optimisation. They will for example help ship and power plant owners and operators to optimise their assets according to their operation strategy and to manage their fuel and other operating costs more effectively.
As an example there is service called Wärtsilä Engine efficiency monitoring service for continuous ISO SFOC measurement to ensure engine efficiency, define fuel consumption, power productions etc. and Wärtsilä Propulsive efficiency monitoring service for example propulsion side efficiency success definition. There is some additional info of these services: http://www.wartsila.com/services/lifecycle-solutions/wartsila-genius-services