Finnish university is modelling a waste-heat recovery system for cruise ships as part of a US$14M research project
Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) is developing a digital twin of a waste-heat recovery system as part of the Integrated Energy Solutions to Smart and Green Shipping (INTENS) project.
This is an industry research and development partnership based in Finland that is striving to develop smart and green shipping through digitalisation and collaboration, with special focus on energy efficiency and emissions of ship systems.
LUT associate professor Teemu Turunen-Saaresti said one of the key results so far has been developing simulation technology for systems such as waste-heat recovery on ships.
He outlined the project’s progress at Riviera Maritime Media’s How digital twins drive vessel efficiency and voyage performance webinar on 13 May.
In total, around €13M (US$14M) is being invested in INTERNS by 20 companies and organisations in 10 projects from 2018 to 2021.
LUT has produced a digital twin of a waste-heat recovery system it has set up in its test centre. This system could be used on cruise ships to produce energy from excess waste and LUT is testing its effectiveness.
The digital twin was generated for an organic Rankine cycle physical unit. Data to create the 3D simulation was collected and transferred to cloud storage using Beckhoff’s technology.
Mr Turunen-Saaresti said this digital twin was based on a dynamic model using Simulink.
“We made multiple pressure and temperature measurements available so we can calibrate our model,” he said. “We used Simulink because most of the (INTERNS) partners were using this tool and it is suitable for dynamic modelling of this kind of thermodynamic process.”
LUT’s digital twin required computational resources for online monitoring, predictions and 3D modelling. It also needed capacity to increase the metadata of system components such as heat exchangers and pumps.
“The different components, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and rotor dynamics - all kinds of behaviours needed to be considered,” said Mr Turunen-Saaresti. “This is why we needed a versatile and dynamic digital twin.”
By developing the digital twin as part of INTERNS, LUT has learnt lessons to take on board for its next project.
“Data is crucial for this digital twin,” he continued. “So, we needed to get the data from real systems.” But, data from ships has its limitations. “There are limited measurement points and a variety of data acquisition systems installed,” said Mr Turunen-Saaresti.
“One of the key things is data transmission, but during a cruise this is not straight forward. There may not be the available connectivity and data transmission can be both difficult and very expensive,” he said.
Another challenge in developing digital twins from operational data is securing access to the data. “A question is, who owns the data?” asks Mr Turunen-Saaresti. “There are many different stakeholders and companies working in the sector and the ship operators, so ownership of the data is not clear, or who has access to the data,” he added.
A solution is having close co-operation between the various stakeholders to create a dynamic and versatile digital twin that can model complicated systems on ships.
Mr Turunen-Saaresti was joined on the webinar panel by DNV GL principal specialist Gaute Storhaug and MacGregor vice president for digital and business transformation Dennis Mol.
Of the €13M invested in INTERNS, around €10M comes from companies and €3M from public funds. Business Finland is joined by five research organisations and 14 companies in the research collaboration.
INTERNS company partners include Bloomberg, Deltamarin, Dinex, Jeppa Biogas, JTK Power, Meyer Turku, NAPA, Parker, Protacon, Vahterus, Visorc, Wasaline and Wärtsilä.
Watch the How digital twins drive vessel efficiency and voyage performance webinar in our webinar library