Fuel management technology is helping Scottish ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) to meet its targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Last year the company installed advanced Royston enginei fuel management systems across its entire large vessel fleet – the first UK ferry company to do so – as part of its Project Ecoship program to improve fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Under this scheme the company aims to reduce fleet CO2 emissions by 2 per cent, or 1,800 metric tons, – equivalent the annual greenhouse gas emissions of an average family car driving 4,285,714 miles or 645 metric tons of waste sent to landfill.
The enginei monitoring system uses Coriolis flowmeters and sensors to accurately monitor the fuel being consumed by each of a vessel’s engines, which is tracked against GPS data, voyage details and operational mode.
The real time data is collected, processed and relayed to bridge and engine room-mounted touchscreen monitors to enable the ship’s master and chief engineer to make small adjustments in real time to reduce fuel consumption.
CalMac has now reported that initial results from the program are encouraging and it is on track to meet its emissions reduction target, with the engine operational adjustments not affecting journey schedules and timetables.
In addition, the data produced by enginei system has also encouraged closer working between the bridge and engineering crews and has also opened up collaborative dialogue across the fleet with staff exchanging ideas and tips on engine performance and fuel optimization.
“We are finding some encouraging results,” said Drew Collier, CalMac’s Operations Director. “While it is too early to reveal any kind of scientifically concrete data, the initial figures we are seeing, as well as the anecdotal feedback from the teams on board, are optimistic.
“Our target is to make a two per cent reduction in our release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. At the moment, we are confident that we are on track to achieve this and, importantly, we now have the technology in place to make accurate measurement.
“Whilst the effect of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and pollutants on air quality are well known, what is perhaps less known is that carbon dioxide is linked to acidification within our seas.
“We are very keen to ensure that our ferries help to preserve Scotland’s marine environment in so far as possible and we are determined to work towards better and better solutions.”
The first of CalMac’s ships to have a fuel management system fitted was MV Caledonian Isles and the vessel has now been operating with it for some seven months. The company considers that it is still in a bedding-in phase, with on-going learning by the crew and system software updates being made.
If, as it expects, CalMaC meets its emissions targets, the installation costs of the ten enginei systems fitted to fleet vessels will pay for themselves within 12 months.
The enginei integrated fuel management system is compatible with all marine engine types and can be interfaced with new-build engine installations or retrofitted to operating vessel. Bunker monitoring applications are also available.