Multi-Engine Optimiser saves fuel and costs

Vroon vessel Cat's new Multi-Engine Optimizer (MEO) enables the operation of engines at independent load factors. Pictured: Vroon VOS Partner vessel. Credit: Vroon

Vroon Energy Services recently saved operators in the North Sea 100,000 litres of fuel using Ulstein PX121 VOS Partner with its mix of engines and the new Multi-Engine Optimizer (MEO) from Caterpillar (Cat).

Previously, operators had to base engine selection on rigid kW load points and then run all engines at an equal load but in the nine-month test done in the North Sea, the MEO enabled the operation of engines at independent load factors, reducing fuel consumption and cost.

The MEO uses proprietary fuel maps and patented control algorithms to advise the power-management system on the optimum combination of engines and engine load points that will consume the least amount of fuel. The ability to operate engines at independent load factors is called dynamic asymmetrical load allocation and is a key element in MEO's ability to provide the lowest possible fuel consumption.

Combined engines

MEO enables the combined used of different engine sizes and types, lowering fuel consumption, improving emissions and providing a faster transient response all at lighter weight. A set of high speed engines for load situations provide additional power to the set of medium speed engines during high load situations.

Depending on vessel workload and operational requirements, use of the MEO often results in double-digit percentage fuel savings, said Cat.

Vroon documents these savings through mechanical fuel metering and simulation algorithms that display the results on the bridge, in the engine room and to shore locations. This enables clients a real-time look at the value of using the VOS Partner with MEO, compared to older vessels with common engines and common power-management strategies.

Smart usage

When using hours-based maintenance, MEO condenses more kW into each hour of engine operation. When using fuel consumption-based maintenance, the fuel savings extend maintenance intervals. MEO can balance engine usage by hours or fuel to synchronise overhaul intervals or prioritise engines, enabling staggered overhaul intervals. MEO response optimisation maintains a customer-determined amount of exhaust boost enabled running reserve to meet any transients the vessel application demands

MEO allows operators the choice of optimising based on NOx emission maps, instead of fuel maps. NOx map-based optimisation can reduce urea consumption, increase governmental NOx credits and allow longer operating in NOx containment zones.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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