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Tuesday, September 3, 2019 

Danish company Desmi says that through careful planning, owners can adopt surprisingly effective energy-efficiency measures in newbuild ship designs, saving money while greening-up operations.

The company says that green initiatives can actually create powerful opportunities for savings, while protecting the environment. A lot of the regulatory impact falls onto fuel consumption. Fuel is the most expensive component of the maritime business model, representing up to 60-70% of total ship operating costs in times when fuel prices are higher. So investment in energy-saving solutions can actually help shipowners improve their bottom line by lowering fuel consumption annually.

Shipowners are often presented with a list of potential manufacturers, in a sort of 'package deal' arrangement. Seldom are equipment choices presented in an 'a la carte' style. And with good reason – comparing the pros and cons for an inclusive list of shipbuilding elements would be both intimidating and time intensive, for anyone.

Desmi suggests that by far, the greatest opportunity for improving fuel efficiency is in the engine room. While one engine room pump may appear to be much like another, efficiency performance can vary by as much as 10%. A decision to use the most efficient pump on the market can translate to as much as a 25% fuel reduction. Prioritising efficiency in piping design and other engine room infrastructure can greatly offset upfront sacrifices with savings down the road. Higher pressure in the pipes reduces the lifetime of both the piping and the associated equipment, resulting in higher long term costs. Cavitation, for example, can be avoided by choosing the optimal pipes sizes during installation.

More fuel savings are possible by reusing heat generated by the engine room equipment. Engine room waste heat can help keep a stable temperature in cargo tanks resulting in overall efficiency gains of up to 82%. Installing a pump/fan control system, such as DESMI’s OptiSave, can reduce the overall power consumption to a level where other power-consuming equipment and systems can be operated without increasing the overall fuel consumption of auxiliary engines.

Another area in which DESMI’s OptiSave has proven its worth is in programmatic technologies onboard to ensure that pump and fan speed can be optimised for current conditions, representing a fuel saving of up to 300t/year for a bulk carrier of 60,000 dwt.

Choosing manufacturers carefully can avoid a lot of unnecessary costs in terms of maintenance and replacement of parts and equipment. It can be hugely economical to think about the ship as a total system. How can the separate components function together to create the best potential for fuel savings?

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