Predicting returns on hull coating investment
A new consultancy tool from AkzoNobel, Intertrac Vision, has been launched to help ship owners and operators quantify the cost, fuel consumption and emissions implications of their fouling-control coatings selection.
The new tool, launched by AkzoNobel brand International, aims to enhance the accuracy and transparency of data provided to ship owners. The company has worked with experts including the University College of London (UCL) Energy Institute, the Marine Research Institute of Netherlands (MARIN) and Newcastle University – as well as more than 30 ship owners - to develop the tool, which is based on the hull performance measurement standards laid out in the draft ISO 19030 standard.
Intertrac Vision employs algorithms that calculate impact of several variables on total hull roughness as well as the roughness associated with biofouling. Computational fluid dynamics studies of several hull types – and a combination of AIS data and International’s own database on hull fouling cases – are used to make predictions on the impact of fouling control coatings on the comparative powering requirements of a vessel.
Key outputs from Intertrac Vision include: ships powering requirement, fuel oil consumption, fuel oil cost, CO2 emission predictions and a full cost benefit analysis when comparing different coatings and surface preparation options.
The service is available free of charge to ship owners and operators. Access is via specially trained company consultants and is delivered on iPad’s wherever customers require.
Michael Hindmarsh, project lead for Intertrac Vision said: “Having an accurate understanding of the return on investment prior to purchasing is a key part of the decision making process. Through Intertrac Vision we can bring a new level of transparency and choice to the industry, working with customers consultatively to ensure that the most effective and appropriate coatings solution is selected for each vessel within a fleet.”
The new approach builds on the previous work of Dr R.L. Townsin. His approach, developed in the 1980s, attempted to quantify the impact of Average Hull Roughness (AHR). This approach was accepted by the International Towing Tank Conference in 1990 and is still commonly used to predict the powering penalties associated with changes in hull and coating roughness over a drydock cycle, relative to a hypothetical hydrodynamically smooth surface.
Building on this work, International developed a Hull Roughness Penalty Calculator (HRPC) model in 2003. The HRPC is a software model that predicts ship powering as a function of the predicted increase in underwater hull roughness combined with the risk of fouling associated with different fouling control coating types over a drydock cycle.
The original Intertrac system was developed in 2011. This system overlays a vessel’s route, speed and location data with a comprehensive fouling challenge dataset, enabling coating specifications to be tailored specifically to suit an individual vessel’s operations and trading routes.
International describes the original Intertrac system as both a valuable coating selection tool and a diagnostic tool linking past coating performance with a ship’s operational history. However, in isolation, it is of limited use as a quantitative predictive tool for ship powering requirements.
These approaches helped to provide valuable insights into the potential performance implications of different hull and coating conditions and remain useful as general guides. In today’s increasingly competitive market, vessel operators require clearer guidance on the potential performance benefits of fouling control coatings for their specific vessels so that they can make the optimal coating choice.
Dr Tristan Smith, lecturer at the UCL Energy Institute and contributor to Intertrac Vision, said: “While all technology providers, including those producing hull coatings, have long since offered insight into the fuel and CO2 saving potential of their solutions, ship owners have maintained a degree of scepticism around performance prediction.
“The lack of accurate and transparent supporting data underpinning statistics quoted has contributed to this mindset. As one of several academic contributors to Intertrac Vision, we aim to support this initiative by bringing the industry a step closer to a new era of robust, rigorous analysis that can help improve the rationality in hull coating selection.”
The new tool builds on International’s existing Intertrac database, which analysed the impact of trading routes and operational profiles on coating performance. The company noted that the product relies on a growing dataset taken from real-life experience, and called on vessel owners and operators to collaborate in the project to further refine the predictive capabilities of Intertrac Vision.
Speaking at the launch, Oscar Wezenbeek, managing director of marine coatings at AkzoNobel, highlighted the many innovations that the company has brought to the market. He noted that Intertrac Vision would be invaluable in “getting customers to trust the benefits that these innovations can deliver.”
“Intertrac Vision gives true insight into real future performance, not just theoretical projections,” said Wezenbeek.
The vision behind Intertrac Vision
“When a ship operator makes an investment in a fouling control coating, the expectation is that the coating will provide reliable and consistent performance over an entire drydock cycle. In simple terms, a successful fouling control coating is one that provides fouling protection and minimises any frictional resistance and powering increase over the entire drydock cycle. Before making a decision, evidence of historical performance is usually reviewed, normally derived from past experience of hull coatings used on similar ship types, speed ranges and operational profiles.
“Very often this information is presented as observations of coating performance over time and where possible supported by data for in-service ship performance. Whilst this type of historical evidence is important, it does not always provide the ship operator with sufficient detail to perform a reliable cost benefit analysis of the different coating options for their specific ships. Intertrac Vision has been developed to meet this need.”
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