Finnish ferry owner Tallink, guided by its ambitious sustainability goals, installed voyage optimisation software on ropax ferry M/S Isabelle that cut fuel consumption and emissions by 7%
Developed by Sweden’s Qtagg, the voyage optimisation tool EcoPilot manages the entire voyage by calculating an optimum power plan and executing it automatically, with little or no manual intervention. EcoPilot uses autonomous speed and power control with weather routeing, controlling the propulsion machinery to arrive just-in-time, while burning the minimum amount of fuel.
EcoPilot supports the intent of IMO’s Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) to improve the ship’s energy efficiency through voyage planning, weather routeing, just-in-time arrival, speed optimisation and optimised shaft power.
Operating daily on the Baltic Sea between Stockholm, Sweden and Riga, Latvia, 2,500-passenger capacity, M/S Isabelle has four Wärtsila-Pielstick 12PC2.6V-400e main engines that produce a total of 23,760 kW, driving two controllable-pitch propellers to reach service speeds of 20.5 knots.
During more than 50 voyages in the summer in Sweden, M/S Isabelle used EcoPilot to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 7%. These results were verified by sailing with the EcoPilot system operational and non-operational on alternate round trips.
Making it easy for personnel
By linking various onboard systems, EcoPilot simplifies and digitalises the ship operation process for the crew, using an intuitive user interface to organise and display the required information and cover technical requirements and routines. The master can use the system for route planning/optimisation and fuel efficiency monitoring.
Weather forecasts are automatically updated, and the route is re-optimised when added information is available. The system enables onboard ship performance analysis and strategic planning. Ship-to-shore links enable remote support from Qtagg.
“Reductions in fuel consumption and emissions are an important benefit for all shipping companies and EcoPilot has helped us achieve this,” said Isabelle master Indrek Lepp.
“After a period of familiarisation, EcoPilot is now in full use by Isabelle’s deck and engine officers,” he said. “Once the deck officers fully understood the benefits and limitations of the system and operated the vessel based on that knowledge, we achieved the best fuel savings.”
EcoPilot connects the entire propulsion chain, so that normally independent systems work together to optimise the ship’s performance.
The system reads data from sensors monitoring more than 60 parameters in real time, including engine and propeller performance, rudder lift and drag forces, ship motion and navigational information. Data from previous voyages together with weather and sea forecasts are used to minimise the total fuel consumption for each voyage.
Acting as an intelligent speed pilot, EcoPilot automatically adjusts to changing operational requirements, operator input, sea, and ship conditions, continuously using all available information to ensure on-time arrival at the lowest cost.
“Tallink is continuously evaluating innovative technologies to improve our operations,” said Tallink Grupp ship management chief executive Tarvi-Carlos Tuulik. He said Tallink collaborates with research institutions and encourages “all crew of Tallink ships to introduce innovations that bring energy, fuel and water savings.”
He added, “We saw EcoPilot as a tool to learn more about the ship’s efficiency and realised the system was worth testing.” Calling Isabelle’s fuel savings and emissions reductions “a great achievement,” Mr Tuulik said the crew’s involvement was crucial to its success. He added, “EcoPilot is a tool that can improve ships’ energy efficiency and we will consider implementing it on other vessels.”
Qtagg chief executive Tomas Lindquist, said “In a society that demands that shipping become more sustainable, and when rules and regulations on green shipping are becoming more stringent, we at Qtagg put significant effort into helping our customers meet their needs.”
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