Container ship optimisation yields significant fuel savings

12 Jan 2011
NYK's 'Altair', seen here at GL's home port of Hamburg, was designed from the outset for fuel savings and low emissions

NYK's 'Altair', seen here at GL's home port of Hamburg, was designed from the outset for fuel savings and low emissions

Classification society Germanischer Lloyd says that in a joint venture undertaken with Chinese design office Maric, significant improvements were made to the lines of a 9,000 TEU container ship series.

Shipowners Schulte Group (Germany) and Costamare (Greece) had requested the design review in order to optimise the vessel's efficiency. As a result of the exercise, GL says that a smaller main engine can be installed than originally anticipated, which has the effect of reducing fuel consumption by more than 10% and cutting CO2 emissions by more than 90 tonnes per day.

The optimisation procedure, undertaken through GL's FutureShip subsidiary, generated 15,000 different hull designs and evaluated them numerically. The evaluation was based on computational fluid dynamics, where the flow around the ship is simulated in the computer to determine the actual propulsion power requirement.

The most efficient design was compared to the base design in model tests, which were performed in December 2010 at the Hamburg ship model basin (HSVA). The tests showed that the optimised model had a significantly lower total resistance than the base design. GL says that extrapolation of the results to a full-size ship corresponds to substantial fuel and cost savings per day. The optimisation expenses should be amortised within a few days of operation for the series of six ships.

FutureShip specialises in developing and fine-tuning ship hull forms. The consulting and engineering company, a subsidiary of GL, systematically models and analyses multiple variations, sometimes several thousand versions, of ship designs in an automated process based on a parametric approach. Together with the shipowner’s team, key objectives and constraints are identified. FutureShip sets up formal optimisations to explore the design space and to exploit promising options. Finally, FutureShip advises in choosing the best hull form and follows or carries out the associated tank testing. The company offers systematic and formal hydrodynamic optimisation of hull, systematic and formal hydrodynamic optimisation of appendages and surface and skin friction reduction.

The 9,000 TEU container ship series will be built in China, with delivery of the first ship in the series scheduled for 2013.

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