Hot house at Hamburg

28 May 2003

Delegates to this year's Motor Ship Marine Propulsion Conference got the most out of their trip to Hamburg in more ways than merely being present in such a renowned centre of world shipping, which provided truly delightful summer weather for the two conference days, May 7 and 8, which preceded the annual port of Hamburg birthday celebrations. This year's conference chairman, Dr.- Ing. Horst Rulfs, has been a professor at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg since 1984 and is today responsible there for research and teaching activities on marine propulsion plants, diesel engines and emissions. The combination of that experience with his previous work for Deutsche BP in Hamburg, where he was a section manager involved in technical services and research into various aspects of fuels and lubricants, left all participants in no doubt that any issues raised would be thoroughly discussed.

Keynote address
But the Hamburg connection was further leveraged when proceedings were kicked off with a thought-provoking keynote address from Dr. Hans Payer of the Hamburg-based classification society Germanischer Lloyd. A naval architect by training and now a member of the executive board of GL, Dr. Payer, an outspoken champion of higher standards of ship construction, urged delegates to consider the dilemma faced when striving for both sustained quality and increased efficiency and reliability of propulsion systems in a commercial environment which has driven newbuilding prices down, a situation which puts engine manufacturers and suppliers under great pressure. As reliability - particularly of the main engine - is critical in both preventing environmental catastrophe and in ensuring that services are on-schedule, Dr. Payer asked delegates to evaluate their design, production and inspection procedures.
And, he said, this reliability issue is becoming more acute as demand for ever-larger containerships leads to larger and larger engine and propeller combinations. Hence, he believes, there must be serious note taken of efforts to build ships with redundant steering and propulsion systems. Evidence that some charterers are giving credit to safer ships, particularly tankers, should support the conclusion that it does pay an owner to do more than the minimum required by law in this context.

Alternative fuels
The first conference session looked at alternative fuels. The first paper, presented by Torill Grimstad Osberg from DNV, focussed on the advantages of natural gas-fuelled propulsion and looked at experiences gained with the operation of the Glutra gas ferry. Osberg also highlighted other projects currently building, including LNG tankers and supply vessels and analysed the various concepts being used.
The second paper titled Fuel Cells, Potential in Shipping, presented by Ed Fort, senior engineer in Lloyd's Register's research and development department gave an introduction to the main processes likely to be encountered by designers, builders, surveyors, crews and regulators and from which potential hazards associated with fuels cells will emerge. The paper also analysed various fuel cell types - their construction and conversion processes and how far away likely implementation is.
He concluded: "The technology exists as does the knowledge and tools to apply it. The marine industry as a whole has a tough act to follow but it will be expected to deliver equally safe and dependable power irrespective of commercial constraints."

Emissions control
The conference resumed mid-morning with a second session on emissions control. First up was Herbert Roemich, sales director for Ceramics GmbH, who presented a paper on the advantages of selective catalytic reduction, particularly the company's SINOx system used on the high-speed ferry HSC Gotland.
Roemich was followed by Thomas Gross, director of development for MWH (Markisches Werk) who presented a paper on field and laboratory tests on the Thermovalve that can decrease valve plate temperatures and valve seat temperatures, while increasing valve stem temperatures; this heat management system, he demonstrated, reduces hot corrosion, sulphurous acid corrosion and thermal fatigue of gas exchange components in diesel engines which today run hotter than ever owing to the emphasis on emissions control.
The third paper in the session and the last before lunch was presented by Kaspar Aeberli, marketing and business development director of the marine division of Wärtsilä Switzerland. Aeberli treated delegates to an extensive analysis of the in-service experience with the company's latest RT-flex technology - common rail fuel supply and electronic valve control - particularly as employed in Sulzer RT-flex 60C.

Electric power
One of Europe's most dynamic shipbuilding regions, Poland, was represented by Professor Jerzy Listewnik from the Maritime University Szczecin. Professor Listewnik described a study into the economic and ecological benefits of electrical production onboard a handysize bulkcarrier. He proposed that it was no longer prudent to install three gensets operating on HFO on a newbuild and that a shaft generator and two gensets operating on MDO offered significant savings, particularly in the light of forthcoming regulations on SOx emissions. This proposal is understandably controversial, and questions were extensive, but it was pointed out that this configuration is becoming commonplace.

Innovative vessels and hullforms
Jon Morley, commercial team leader for Rolls Royce's marine systems business unit, presented a paper on technical aspects of the 37-knot, MT30 gas turbine-powered European High-Speed Cargo Vessel being developed by Rolls Royce and the Spanish shipbuilding group Izar and designed to allow freight forwarders and hauliers an unrestricted seven day-a-week transport service to move freight around Europe as an alternative to many busy land routes.
Dr Ian Dand, director of Hydrodynamics for BMT SeaTech, has studied extensively the behaviour of ships in shallow, congested, waters and offered delegates a guide to the key factors affecting the wash of surface ships. He pointed out that wash is not a new problem but that the amount of attention it receives is directly proportional to the speed and that this has increased significantly on certain vessel types in a relatively short period of time. Dand highlighted the factors affecting wash and offered ways of reducing the problem through design and operation. However, he pointed out: "There is no real consensus on this matter, so there is no universal criterion. The majority are couched in terms of wash height."
Wash can never be eliminated but Dand concluded by saying: "The goal should be to reduce wash to an acceptable level."
Peter Skjoldager from MAN B&W and Tore Lunde from HamworthyKSE looked at one of the hottest topics in ship design today, the replacement of steam plant in LNG carriers. The speakers analysed the operation, investment and installation costs for both one diesel engine design or two diesel engines and twin skeg designs, concluding that these systems offer considerable economical advantages when compared with conventional steam turbine propulsion plant.

Engine condition analysis
Day one concluded with a pair of well-received presentations, which set the stage for the morning of day two. First, Terence McGeary from Flame Marine considered the case for comparing cylinder lubricant drain analysis and engine performance data from two-stroke diesels in order to monitor and optimize engine performance and operation. He described a procedure developed over the past five years, showing that information from the cylinder drain oil can provide an insight into the engine conditions and confirm whether these are normal or otherwise.
The second paper and final paper of the day was on liner lacquer control by use of a novel fuel additive and was presented by David Adams from Infineum UK. It concentrated on the problem that the reduction of sulphur in diesel fuels is likely to bring and offered a solution in the form of a new fuel additive that has been tested in the laboratory and in the field. Infineum UK, which is a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Shell, also believes that the additive provides benefits in maintaining injectors and smoke reduction.

Fuel
Day two opened with Mats Englund, from Alfa Laval, raising the question of how to measure the performance of centrifugal separators, and presenting an option which Alfa Laval believes could provide an industry norm and has indeed led to the issuance of new class notations for fuel.
Graham Wylie, marketing controller at Shell Marine Products, who talked about fuel quality and economical running. He told delegates that 2003 will bring continued pressure for change that will require definite action by the industry and that as always, in times of change, it will be those that react best who will reap most of the rewards. He explained: "A deeper interpretation of quality and risk is one way to achieve this", and stressed his belief that sulphur emissions will become a defining issue for the marine industry this year.

Lubrication
Session seven started with Keith Sadler, manager of global marine OEM for ExxonMobil Lubricants and Specialities, presenting on cylinder oil feed rate issues with the aim of providing the shipowner with a strategy to minimise operational expense while at the same time maximising engine reliability.
He highlighted the importance of the OEM, the oil supplier and the shipowner all working together to both better understand the dynamics of cylinder oil feed rate and the influences of inevitable operational changes on the net economics.
Jorgen Gunnarsson, technical service and area sales manager for Chris-Marine followed with a case study on the benefits of cylinder liner honing on four-stroke diesel engines on Silja Line's Silja Festival to reduce lub oil consumption.
Torsen Vogel, regional sales manager for Boll & Kirch Filterbau concluded the lubrication session with a presentation on a new generation of compact lubrication filtration for diesel engines offering an alternative to paper filtration. He brought attention to the advantages to a filter system that is recyclable by self-cleaning because the contaminated filters can be cleaned in sequence and do not have to be replaced in an environment in which more and more efforts are being made to reduce waste and pollution.

Engine and machinery innovations
After sponsored by ExxonMobil Marine Lubricants delegates were treated to a presentation by Holger Mumm, head of the strength and vibrations department at Germanischer Lloyd, on interaction between structure and machinery onboard ship. He told delegates that design has gone about as far as it can go with naval architects and mechanical engineers adopting an "organisational disintegration" approach and the time has come for integrated approach to design because, as Mumm pointed out, "they are sitting in the same boat".
Another thought-provoking presentations was by Mika Laurilehto of Wärtsilä, who also addressed the theme of taking a wholistic approach, focussing on the need for a comprehensive approach to propulsion plant design under the heading, Environmentally Sound Machinery Solutions. He analysed two new concepts, a hybrid propulsion concept for a CODED cruise ship using one mechanically-driven CP propeller and two pods with FP propellers and, then, a fast LNG ropax with a number of different power options.
Once resumed, Ole Grone, vice president of sales and marketing for low speed engines for MAN B&W a/s in Denmark, took delegates through the developments and field experience with the company's ME range of engines that combine traditional, proven technologies with electronic control.
The final paper in a very successful conference was presented by Klaus Wirth, new product introduction manager for Caterpillar Motoren. He talked about the company's new low emission version of the MaK VM 43, which is ready for production and stresses "inside the engine" solutions to emissions and performance issues. This focus on internal technologies, including advanced valve timing control, means that existing engines can be retrofitted with the new equipment that includes a new camshaft, FCT drive, fuel injection pumps, turbo nozzle ring and spacers in the conrod/piston assembly, which Caterpillar claims offers a 70 - 80 per cent reduction in NOx.

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