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Full-scale testing eliminates scaling issues for a new biomimetic energy saving device
Full-scale testing eliminates scaling issues for a new biomimetic energy saving device

2019 MP Graduate Research Award won by a new energy-saving device concept

A category rewarding the most promising talent coming into ship technology was won by a new energy-saving device concept whose promise was backed with evidence from full-scale testing

A category rewarding the most promising talent coming into ship technology was won by a new energy-saving device concept whose promise was backed with evidence from full-scale testing.

While all this year’s Marine Propulsion Awards recognised state-of-the-art technology, the Graduate Research Award looked for the technologies of tomorrow under development by emerging marine engineering stars. With entries from universities across Europe, this category showcased the breadth of talent training its focus on shipping’s considerable efficiency and environmental challenges.

The winning submission, from UCL’s Dr Blanca Pena, studied the energy efficiency potential of an energy-saving device that replicates organic movements. The ‘biomimetic’ device, which replicates organic movements, was modelled and validated at full scale, showing that savings of between 6-10% were potentially available on a conventional bulk carrier.

The invention aims to reduce the drive power requirement of a ship through reducing the total ship hydrodynamic drag. The technology is also able to achieve improved propeller working conditions through reducing the bilge vortex strength.

The design challenge associated with energy-saving devices is related to the difficulty of scaling up model test results, with large discrepancies noted once devices are implemented at full scale. This is caused by the difficulty in scaling Reynolds number quantities – used to indicate whether flow is turbulent or steady – when devices are designed in model scale. Dr Pena’s research acknowledges that when investigating the performance of a ship with an energy-saving device, the current practice for correlation between model and full scale results need further improvements.

"The aim of the project was the same as the theme of this conference – making ships more efficient," said Dr Pena, "We are now in the process of filing for patents and the product is ready to be commercialised."

Judges were delighted with the technology’s potential, but even more so with the full-scale and holistic testing. Mikael Makinen, former president of Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine and winner of last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, praised the holistic research and tests in an area of ship design and shipbuilding which usually focuses on only very specific areas and products.

 

Highly commended

Fredrik Ahlgren, Kalmar Maritime Academy, Linnaeus University (Sweden): A method using machine learning for predicting the dynamic fuel consumption on board ships not equipped with fuel meters.

Lina Christensen, Technical University of Denmark: Investigating how operational data collected on board ships can be used to evaluate the effect of a retrofit.

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Optimised Ship Forum, Amsterdam

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Maritime Air Pollution Conference, Europe

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Optimised Ship Forum, Singapore

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Maritime Hybrid & Electric Conference, Singapore

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