An ‘Infinity War’ approach to fuel efficiency and machinery uptime may allow owners of older vessels to compete with modern counterparts in the offshore oil and renewables markets
Successful vessels in contract tenders are those that are modern, have 10% lower fuel consumption, quality crew and best uptime reputation. This is the view of Caterpillar Marine product manager Dra Wiersema, expressed to delegates at the Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference. That might sound like bad news for owners of older vessels, but Mr Wiersema went on to explain how owners of 15-year-old vessels may compete with modern ships that are 10% more fuel efficient.
During the Technology and Innovation session of the conference, he described the “Infinity War” solution for owners, a phrase appropriated from a popular superhero film. This involves multiple Caterpillar solutions being employed to reduce fuel consumption and maintenance and increase uptime.
Mr Wiersema said owners can use a retrofit package to update engines to meet IMO III fuel and emission regulations, while variable speed generator sets hep increase efficiency by up to 20%, compared with using constant speed gensets.
Vessels can be retrofitted with electric motors and batteries to reduce load demand on engines for propulsion. Mr Wiersema also noted that version 3.0 of Caterpillar’s Multi-Engine Optimiser (MEO) tool can advise engineers on managing diesel-electric and hybrid propulsion to optimise operations and reduce fuel consumption.
“MEO leverages data and algorithms to provide the best combination of load points,” Mr Wiersema explained. “It can be combined with a battery manager for charging and discharging and with digitalisation with Cat Asset Intelligence.” Theoretically, this would allow a 15-year-old vessel to compete with a modern equivalent.
During this session, MacGregor project engineer and multimedia developer Scott Garriott introduced a new fibre rope crane design. Mr Garriott, who specialises in load handling systems and machine design and engineering, said that fibre rope cranes have operational and cost advantages over conventional subsea steel-wire cranes. He noted that MacGregor completed its factory testing of its new FibreTrac crane in Kristiansand, Norway, in February 2019, and it would be ready for live demonstrations in Norway in the coming weeks.