Technologies that improve both environmental and operational efficiencies will be showcased at the New Orleans International WorkBoat Show
Alongside the main expo at this year’s New Orleans International WorkBoat Show will be a full conference programme, looking at maintenance and repair, offshore, tugs and coastal towing, shipyards, and inland waterways and passenger vessels. The full programme is available on the International WorkBoat Show website.
Of particular interest is the “Today’s Technologies For Tomorrow’s Future” session on the inland waterways and passenger vessels track. Red and White Fleet executive vice president Joe Burgard, BAE Systems global marine director for business development Joe Hudspeth and Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM) chief executive and chief technology officer Dr.Joseph Pratt will be discussing ways in which greener technologies can be more beneficial than current and older strategies from an economic, competitive and regulatory standpoint. They will also look at how this aligns with the energy and transportation infrastructure of the future.
Particular attention will be paid to the hydrogen fuel cell technology that powers GGZEM’s Water-Go-Round project, which counts BAE Systems and Red and White Fleet among its project partners. It is the first fuel-cell vessel in the US and the first commercial fuel-cell ferry in the world. While Dr Pratt will present from a technological perspective, Mr Burgard will address concerns from an operational perspective and Mr Hudspeth will offer an equipment manufacturer’s perspective.
“We’ve got past the point of discussing it as a viable technology,” said Dr Pratt, noting that the focus of the presentation will be on economics and market drivers. “The message is not ‘this is a new technology we think could work on the water,’ the message is more ‘here is a technology that can give advantages to operators who adopt it’.
“There is a pretty clear operational cost-saving over the life of a vessel from going to hydrogen fuel-cell power,” said Dr Pratt, noting that passenger vessels are a good category for the early stages of the technology because of their lower cost of ownership for operational costs.
“The message is not ‘this is a new technology we think could work on the water,’ the message is more ‘here’s a technology that can give advantages to operators who adopt it’”
Dr Pratt sees two main factors as holding back the adoption of this technology in maritime: firstly, he cites a perceived lack of proof that the concept works in the maritime sector, “In spite of studies that have taken place proving the technology works and the fact that on land there are already buses, trucks and cars that operate on fuel cells.”
Dr Pratt said: “In the maritime industry it is more difficult to get people to adopt a technology if they haven’t touched and felt and even driven it.”
Secondly, he notes the perception that hydrogen fuel cells are cost-prohibitive.
He anticipates being able to address the first factor when Water-Go-Round starts operations next year. Sandia National Laboratories will be collecting performance data, analysing and publishing it independently, and GGZEM will also make the vessel available for operators to experience the technology for themselves.
For the second factor, Dr Pratt believes the solution is to educate the sector about the cost trajectories of different technologies, and to illustrate the maintenance needs. He noted that mass production of fuel-cell vehicles will drive down costs across market segments, which can be leveraged to reduce the costs for operators over a vessel’s lifetime. Dr Pratt said the panel will look to convince the audience at the WorkBoat Show that fuel-cell technology makes economic sense and is something they need to consider, rather than dismissing it offhand as being an interesting but prohibitively costly idea.
Preventative maintenance and condition monitoring systems
On the Maintenance and Repair track, Caterpillar Marine Asset Intelligence business development manager David Shannon and GE Power Conversion technical services leader Stuart Gray will present a session on software intelligence and predictive maintenance.
Systems such as Caterpillar’s Asset Intelligence can help users predict and avoid failures, optimise maintenance, reduce fuel and operational expenditure, ensure compliance and create transparency. One of the highlights of the conference for Caterpillar will be spreading the word about its Asset Intelligence 5.0 system, which was announced recently and is due to be launched in early 2019, along with its “Return on Intelligence” concept, which focuses on creating value through the use of analytics within the industrial space.
Built around six pillars that make it compliant with ISO 13374’s standards for condition monitoring – data acquisition, data manipulation, state detection, health assessment, prognostic assessment and advisory generation – AI 5.0 seeks to combine scalability and flexibility. While Caterpillar develops core models based on analytics, users will be able to tweak these models to better suit their applications. Mr Shannon gave the example of a user whose vessels operate in ambient water temperatures warmer than those used to create the model. This could result in false positive warnings, but with AI 5.0 the user can amend the model to factor this in. It is also an agnostic system, compatible with equipment from OEMs other than Caterpillar, and with potential applications across sectors.
AI 5.0 improves on its predecessor, AI 4.8, in two obvious ways: it allows customers to make their own edits to information screens advising courses of action based on the data being processed; and users can make edits to the model itself.
AI 5.0 moves from the concept of ‘how it works’ to ‘what it does’, said Mr Shannon, noting there exists a history in condition monitoring of concentrating on how modelling functions work, rather than actually explaining to users what capabilities they bring. AI 5.0 will attempt to change this with a superior user interface and customised analytics, which can be tailored according to an organisation’s operational parameters. Using the “Return On Intelligence” concept, Caterpillar sees AI 5.0 performing the functions of multiple data scientists to provide users with clear, actionable information that brings together data from a range of sources in a single platform, allowing for a more holistic understanding of how equipment is performing.
Caterpillar Asset Intelligence marketing and communications manager Ashley McLaughlin said: “Cat AI 5.0 was designed to make the software work for the consumer, providing intelligence so you are left with only the facts to make better operational decisions.”
Also in the condition-monitoring space, diesel power specialist Royston will be showcasing developments including its Vessel Energy Monitoring (VEM) system. Part of Royston’s enginei product, the VEM system records fuel consumption data from bunkers and individual engines, with data provided both on board the vessel and on shore. Data is transferred ship-to-shore where possible via a web dashboard incorporating GPS mapping. This allows operators to see a vessel’s full operational profile and achieve maximum operating efficiencies.
The system can incorporate an unlimited number of sensor inputs, including data such as weather and engine parameters (lube oil temperature and pressure, cylinder temperature, coolant temperature and boost pressure), along with parish tax geofencing for the brownwater market, emissions monitoring and tank gauging.
Royston’s product manager for enginei Damian McCann said: “Workboat operators looking to optimise vessel performance in a changing environmental- and cost-driven marine landscape can achieve competitive advantages through our monitoring technologies and diagnostic solutions for propulsion systems.”