In early 2018, Danish offshore support vessel owner Maersk Supply Service decided to create a dedicated function within the company responsible for reducing both fuel consumption across the fleet and its environmental footprint
“Our initial goal was to reduce fuel consumption by 5% in 2019 as compared with the baseline year of 2018,” Maersk Supply Service fleet energy efficiency manager Eirini Arvanitaki told Offshore Support Journal. “In recent years, energy efficiency has not only been the focus of the company, but also our customers.”
Ms Arvanitaki joined Maersk Supply Service (MSS) in 2018 as its energy efficiency manager from sister company Maersk Line, where sustainability efforts have cut CO2 emissions per container by 25% as compared with the baseline year of 2007. Maersk Line is targeting 40% by 2020.
To make the initiative more manageable and achievable, said Ms Arvanitaki, MSS focused on four operational modes: dynamic positioning, standby, transit and port. In order to ensure the accuracy of the measurements, MSS had to compare each vessel’s performance to data collected by the crew for that vessel in the previous year.
She said MSS was “surprised and impressed” with the results of the energy efficiency initiative in H1 2019. As of Q3, Ms Arvanitaki reported that the fleet’s performance has been even more impressive. “We could have been more optimistic in our goals because we achieved a 9% improvement in fuel consumption across the fleet.” She said fuel consumption was reduced by 1,810 tonnes, equivalent to cutting 5,803 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
While she noted that there were some technical upgrades to the fleet during this period, the main contributor to reducing fuel consumption and improving energy efficiency was “simply creating awareness by engaging our crew and customers. It is important to establish an energy efficiency mindset, not only in the fleet, but also the organisation.”
This energy efficiency mindset was underpinned by a series of five training seminars created in partnership with sister organisation Maersk Training. Some 115 officers and 20 onshore personnel participated in the training. “We want to give them all the tools they need to ensure they can perform the most energy efficient operations,” said Ms Arvanitaki. She added onshore personnel were trained because they “are an important part of the dialogue.”
As a further incentive, Maersk Supply Service created a one-year challenge sponsored by its top management to award the three best vessel performers in the fleet for meeting predefined energy efficiency targets. The offshore energy efficiency challenge has been received with a great deal of enthusiasm from crews, according to Ms Arvanitaki.
In April, MSS took the next step in the process through a partnership with Wärtsilä subsidiary Eniram to install the software platform Energy Advisory System on its vessels to optimise operations and reduce fuel consumption. The contract between MSS and Wärtsilä has now been finalised, with initial proof of concept trials being carried out on two of Maersk Supply Service’s newest vessels, M-class anchor handling tug supply vessel Maersk Mobiliser and I-class subsea support vessel Maersk Installer.
After initial testing during the proof of concept stage, the company plans to roll out the Energy Advisory System to additional vessels, with the long-term goal of installation across the entire fleet of 44 vessels.
The Energy Advisory System collects data from flowmeters, sensors and other systems on board to identify in real-time possible actions the operator can take to reduce fuel consumption.
As the system is further developed, Ms Arvanitaki fully expects to collect additional data and uncover more ways to improve the energy efficiency of fleet operations.
Using high-quality data to optimise operations, the digital effort has been well received by the crew and clients. Clients value the transparency and flexibility the system offers, using it to create their own reports based on their preferred parameters. The crew has been supportive of the transition to the Energy Advisory System because it relieves them of the additional workload of collecting the data, allowing them to focus on more effective operations.
One of the next steps Maersk Supply Service is considering is refitting vessels with battery-hybrid propulsion packages, beneficial for saving fuel during peak shaving demands during operations. Other technology upgrades being considered are installing frequency converters on pumps and fans, making them more energy efficient.