Cargo heating management fuel savings
A Teekay Aframax tanker ‘Australian Spirit’
Two years after Teekay entered into a contract with Blue Water to provide cargo heating management services onboard its vessels, its fleet has registered fuel savings in excess of 25% on an average from over 225 voyages.
The cargo heating management services were deployed onboard its vessels as part of Teekay’s efforts towards fuel savings and operational optimization. The service was conceptualized by the India-based marine consultancy firm, Blue Water Trade Winds and was introduced onboard the tanker vessels under a systematic plan and consistently observed and modified to maximize savings during cargo heating operations.
The initial research on developing the system began a few years ago when a team of mariners led by Roy Choudhury, Teekay vessel manager, and research analysts teamed up to study the potential savings in cargo heating operations. Statistical records of heating voyages for over a decade were accumulated from various sources and analyzed against variables.
The system is based on specially designed software that derives inferences from complex thermodynamic calculations and statistical data analysis to generate a virtual ship and a specific virtual voyage. A dedicated heating project team then devises a cargo heating plan for a voyage depicting the estimated cargo temperature drop, optimum heating schedules, boiler loads and fuel consumption. Although there is immense research put into developing each cargo heating plan, analysts at Blue Water believe that the major share of the success so far lies with the vessel staff who ensured a proper deployment of the plan onboard and its monitoring.
Victor Armstrong, manager, vessel optimization at Teekay Marine Services said that Teekay has a responsibility to consistently contribute towards global sustainable development -financially, socially and economically. He said with an average of over 20,000 tonnes of fuel oil consumed in cargo heating operations in any year, the cargo heating management service was developed as a tool to optimize the various processes involved by comprehensive estimation, planning and monitoring. The program was launched onboard four Teekay vessels as a pilot project in the last quarter of 2008 before rolling out to the entire conventional tanker fleet.
Anurag Datta, technical manager of Blue Water, said that with an exhaustive database already in place his team was now working towards developing a new concept of OCT (optimum cargo temperature) for different cargo grades that would help charterers and ship operators decide the optimum safe cargo temperature over the traditional charter-party cargo temperatures that are mostly being followed today. Datta further said that time and again it has been observed that the charter party unnecessarily requires the cargo to be maintained at higher temperatures leading to excessive fuel oil consumption. The OCT would be the minimum safe cargo temperature at which the cargo can be maintained during transit, ensuring that the quality of the cargo parcel is strictly maintained.
Blue Water proposes to work with oil majors and research institutes to further develop and validate the exhaustive database of OCT for different cargo grades being transported worldwide. The development of this new concept is targeted to reduce overall fuel oil consumption in cargo heating operations and also to reduce harmful emissions from long running hours of the vessel’s boiler during these operations.
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