Eckerö Line saves fuel with absorption cooler

The Gadcooler prototype onboard ro-pax 'Finlandia' uses chemical cooling to convert waste heat into cold air The Gadcooler prototype onboard ro-pax 'Finlandia' uses chemical cooling to convert waste heat into cold air

Ferry operator Eckerö Line has reported a 140-tonne reduction in fuel consumption onboard ro-pax ‘Finlandia’ thanks to a new absorption chiller system tested over the past two years.

The Gadcooler gathers energy from excess waste heat sources onboard, including engine cooling water and boilers, to provide chilled cooling water for air conditioning. The transfer pumps required for the absorption process are more efficient than the cooling compressors traditionally used for chilling.

Cooling can be a significant energy consumer, with a power demand of 10MW for some big cruise ships operating in tropical climates. Onboard Finlandia, where cooling is only required in the summer months, Eckerö Line reported that the new technology resulted in a 140-tonne reduction in fuel consumption and a CO2 emission reduction of 430 tonnes over the two-year test period.

“We are very happy with the results of the project and are proud to start putting the innovation into permanent practice on board our ferry Finlandia,” said Taru Keronen, CEO, Eckerö Line.

The technology is based on chemical cooling, using the non-toxic compound lithium bromide as a medium. As a result, it requires limited maintenance compared to a standard AC compressor. Eckerö Line confirmed that the technology worked efficiently and without complications during the test.

Anna Toikkanen, designer at Gadcooler developer Gadlab Engineering, added: “It has been wonderful to see that the has been functioning well in practice, and that fuel savings have been recorded. There are no other shipping companies out there with corresponding technology, but we strongly believe that the success of this piloting project will also encourage other companies to implement similar technology.”

The prototype installation has a capacity of 500kW, although Gadlab noted that the cooler is available as one or several units up to 5,000kW. A typical cruise ship installation could consist of two 1,500kW units, allowing one chiller compressor to be shut off to save fuel, compressor running hours and maintenance demand.

Gadcooler is also available for cargo and work vessels with unit sizes down to 250kW.

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