Vessel costs workshop

Simon Powell of Marine South East introduces the MOVE project
Simon Powell of Marine South East introduces the MOVE project
Malcolm Habens: Datum Electronics
Malcolm Habens: Datum Electronics
Gerasimos Theotokatos from University of Strathclyde
Gerasimos Theotokatos from University of Strathclyde
Industry Database

A thought-provoking workshop entitled 'Can I Reduce My Vessel Operating Costs?’ was held as part of the Seawork Conference Programme this year. The workshop was jointly hosted by the MOVE and HEVIMA projects.

The event was reported to be a well-attended, if slightly warm conference with only two spare seats.

Delegates came from a wide range of marine backgrounds including vessel operators, marine designers, boat builders, offshore wind industry members, propulsion manufacturers and regulation and compliance specialists.

The Q&A session provided an opportunity for attendees to use their professional experience to discuss and contribute their thoughts and ideas. 

Contributions from the workshop delegates confirmed there is a market need for comprehensive duty cycle propulsion data. Such data sets would be useful for a range of purposes but particularly for making accurate comparisons with alternative propulsion arrangements such as the hybrid system being developed by the HEVIMA Project.

Operating costs are a major factor for commercial work boats whether it be a single vessel or a fleet. To maximise savings, craft performance must be optimised for the required duty cycle, but often detailed data about how a vessel operates is not available. Operators may be deterred from monitoring vessel propulsion performance as currently the equipment needed is time consuming and costly to install.  

The MOVE (Monitoring for Operational Vessel Efficiency) Project has enabled significant technological advance and associated cost reduction in monitoring craft performance. 

Project Lead, Ken Wittamore (Triskel Marine) said “All craft have a design point at which they operate at their most efficiently, however, many vessels spend significant periods of time operating off this point.” These include pilot boats, offshore support vessels, harbour craft and small ferries which undergo significant changes in their operating parameters whilst carrying out their work. Many factors influence the performance of a vessel including engine and propeller efficiency; and proportion of time spent manoeuvring, cruising speed, full speed or idling.  

Wittamore explained “through real time monitoring and data collection for small commercial vessels we can assess efficiency and identify those that are potentially suitable for hybridisation.”   

Offshore Wind Farm Support Vessels are an example of craft that work away from their ‘sweet spot’ for much of the duty cycle. Figures supplied by a vessel operator showed a fleet of 5 craft supporting a typical wind farm to be using 1,825,000 litres/annum. It can be seen that significant benefits may be gained if vessel efficiency is optimised.

A major advance through the MOVE project has been in ‘Shaft Power Measurement’. Previously sensors required significant installation time by specialist engineers and costs were greatly increased if travel was required to the vessel. Through MOVE, Project Partner Datum Electronics have developed a ‘clamp-on’ sensor which can be installed by the vessel’s engineering staff in less than 1.5 hours. This will reduce costs significantly and allow operators to programme the fitting and removal of the system more easily.

Initial development and validation of the MOVE system is taking place aboard pilot vessels made available by the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners. This enables data to be collected whilst the Pilots carry out their daily duties providing real-time information from the vessel’s systems. The MOVE technology is now being installed aboard an operational Wind Farm Support Vessel for further testing and validation.

HEVIMA (Hybrid Electrical Vessel propulsion with Integrated Motor Assist) is another Innovate UK supported project led by REAPsystems. Its objective is to develop an innovative modular hybrid marine power system offering significant savings in fuel consumption, engine power rating, weight, emissions, noise and vibrations. It is particularly relevant to the small commercial vessel market for craft which generally have low average loads, but also require extended periods of high power.

At the close of the session many delegates remained to network with the MOVE and HEVIMA Project members and fellow delegates.

By Jake Frith

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