Saving fuel is more important than ever with the low sulphur cap – and reefers can help with their focus on energy efficiency
Reducing the energy required for refrigeration can help shipping lines to reduce the costs of complying with the IMO 2020 low sulphur cap regulation, as using low sulphur fuel will be more expensive.
As Daikin general manager Europe, Middle East and Africa, Arjan Bezemer says “This is where low power consumption of machinery will be beneficial. Energy consumption reduction means a reduction in fuel consumption which means a cost reduction in general.”
He adds “Reducing energy consumption has been a major focus for reefer manufacturers for many years. Daikin has been actively developing software solutions for existing equipment and hardware solutions for new equipment, to reduce power consumption.”
For existing equipment, Daikin developed software that reduces power consumption by over 50%. At the same time, Daikin developed a reefer with an inverter system, which reduces power consumption even further, while maintaining precise temperature control.
Carrier Transicold director of marketing global container refrigeration Willy Yeo says “The conversion to low sulphur fuel places additional cost burdens on shipping lines, and refrigerated cargo carriers may experience greater impact because of the added energy demand refrigeration systems place on a vessel’s fuel-burning power source.
“To that end, Carrier Transicold’s latest container refrigeration systems are highly efficient compared to their predecessors.”
For shipping lines anticipating higher fuel costs in 2020 there may be opportunities to further improve their existing refrigeration units’ efficiency by using power-saving control software. Carrier Transicold offers three power-saving software options – its FuelWise, QUEST and QUEST 2 programs.
“Fundamentally, all three options control supply air output by intelligently cycling the refrigeration unit compressor and fans. The air temperature within the container will modulate slightly without compromising the cargo temperature for the commodities being carried. The possible maximum energy savings vary with each program and range from 10% to 65%, dependent on the commodity carried and the refrigeration unit model,” says Mr Yeo.
Additionally, Carrier Transicold offers EDGE technology as an option for its PrimeLINE units. Mr Yeo says “EDGE stands for enhanced digital for greater efficiency and includes a set of design enhancements that significantly boost performance of the standard PrimeLINE refrigeration unit, a machine with an established reputation for energy efficiency. A PrimeLINE unit with EDGE technology uses less energy than all competitor models – in some cases by a factor of half – when running that unit under normal operating parameters, before any power-saving software modes are applied.”
Switching from today’s bunker fuel, which has been trending at around US$425 per tonne, to low-sulphur fuel may add US$200 or more per tonne. Using an industry-estimated fuel cost increase of 50% for converting to low-sulphur fuel in 2020, Carrier Transicold calculates that a fleet acquiring 1,500 new refrigerated containers could save more than US$2M a year in fuel costs by choosing PrimeLINE units with EDGE technology over the least efficient contemporary competitive unit.
“All of the global reefers in operation today require fuel to be burned on board ships to generate electrical power to run them. More efficient, more reliable reefers reduce this fuel burden”
Elsewhere, Thermo King Global Marine, Rail and Air vice president and general manager Jessica Poliner says “All of the global reefers in operation today require fuel to be burned on board ships to generate electrical power to run them. More efficient, more reliable reefers reduce this fuel burden. Targeting energy consumption reduction also allows reefer suppliers, like Thermo King, to challenge themselves to develop new solutions leveraging new technology not traditionally used in intermodal.”
She said an example of this is using digital instead of analogue sensors to allow better control of its system, hence increasing efficiency. “Throughout the years, Thermo King has developed unique control algorithms that allow very tight temperature control while assuring the best system efficiency in this industry.”
She adds “Reefers have always been at the forefront of energy-efficient transport. Thermo King pioneered this with its digital modulation system, finally weaning the industry off the previous wasteful hot gas modulation system. Thermo King later introduced advanced software to further build on this lead, resulting in the most energy-efficient systems without cargo compromise. Our manifold fresh air exchange system complements this approach, providing finer temperature control without over or under ventilating the cargo.
“With the much-anticipated IMO low sulphur fuel regulation going into effect in 2020, fuel prices could rise significantly, driving up shipping line operating costs further. Beyond fuel burn required to propel ships, electricity generation for onboard systems including reefer operation is a significant contributor to operational costs. Choosing efficient and reliable reefer solutions, like Thermo King’s Magnum Plus, ensures cargo arrives in top condition while minimising the energy required to protect the load.”
Thermo King Global Marine commercial leader Bruno Fusciani says of the Magnum Plus solution, “We recently introduced the energy logging feature as standard on all units, which measures and logs power consumption in the MP-4000 data log to help customers understand how operating profiles impact their energy use.”
Mr Fusciani also underlined how the company’s genset products help with fuel efficiency.
“We have been working to further optimise our cutting-edge CARB life compliant unit, and in 2019 we launched the SG 4000i with better fuel management and improved reliability. Thermo King’s SG4000i is the only CARB compliant for life in the industry. “
Focus on EU F-Gas
As well as making reefers as energy efficient as possible, manufacturers are also focused on meeting future regulations, such as the EU F-Gas legislation. Carrier Transicold offers refrigerant options including R-744, R-513A and traditional R-134a.
Mr Yeo says “Recently, a US-based shipping line put 220 NaturaLINE natural-refrigerant units into service, supporting its pledge to be the most environmentally responsible organisation in the maritime industry. The natural refrigerant carbon dioxide, or R-744, offers the lowest global warming potential (GWP) of any refrigerant currently used in container refrigeration systems at this time.”
Daikin is also focusing on future refrigerants, due to the EU F-Gas regulation. Mr Bezemer says it ensures current units can run on interim refrigerants (for example R513a) and still keeping the accurate temperature control that Daikin is known for. He adds that the company is also looking ahead for the next-generation refrigerant to be used on equipment.
He explains “It is not just focusing on the low GWP of the refrigerant but also considering fuel-efficient machinery besides the reliability Daikin is known for.”
Further, Daikin has developed its active controlled atmosphere system for containers, which is used by major shipping lines. With the current trend of shipping lines moving from conventional reefer vessels to containerised vessels, Daikin has brought the active controlled atmosphere functionality used on reefer vessels to its containers.
Elsewhere, Carrier Transicold has developed the ContainerLINK application. This offers interactive resources, including service manuals with instructional videos, alarm code lookup capabilities, conversion tools and warranty information for units being serviced.
The company has continued to add functionality. Mr Yeo says “For example, earlier this year we added a service centre locator and streamlined navigation and optical character recognition, which enables the app to recognise and automatically scan and enter a unit serial number, saving the technician time and minimising the chance of error from manual entry.”