Svanehøj is introducing a new automation tool to improve the efficiency and ease of use of its electric cargo pump solution. The product launch follows a successful trial on board Furetank’s Fure Ven product and chemical (P&C) tanker.
The newly developed software-based control system, FlowControl, will make it faster, easier, and more efficient to operate electric cargo pumps, the pump manufacturer has announced.
The system ensures an optimal changeover between tanks and pumps in parallel, which is expected to reduce the time needed for cargo discharge by up to 20% because the system will automatically operate at the optimal duty point.
The solution is also intended to address barriers to adoption, such as crew familiarity with hydraulic fuel pumps, and the perceived complexity of operating electric fuel pumps with multiple cargo pumps with high back pressure.
“It is well known that electric cargo pumps weigh less, make less noise and use significantly less power than hydraulic cargo pumps. Yet most P&C tankers have hydraulic pumps installed because electric pumps are different to operate, and in some modes of operation a bit more challenging. FlowControl is changing that, and our intention is to encourage more shipowners to choose the more environmentally friendly solution,” says Johnny Houmann, Director, Sales & Projects at Svanehøj.
Furetank: A significant improvement
In recent months, Svanehøj has been testing FlowControl in collaboration with the Swedish shipping company Furetank on board the P&C tanker Fure Ven. The 18,000 dwt vessel was built in 2019 as one of Furetank’s V-Series, a new generation of climate-smart P&C tankers.
Fure Ven is among the first vessels at Furetank to have electric cargo pumps installed. The company has recorded a 25% reduction in power and fuel consumption in relation to cargo discharge operations compared to vessels in the fleet that have hydraulic pumps. For Clas Gustafsson, Technical Manager at Furetank, it has been very positive to experience the improvement that the FlowControl installation has offered. Cargo discharge operations run smoother and easier, with fewer stoppages.
“We have experienced a significant improvement, especially while discharging with multiple (four or six) cargo pumps simultaneously against high backpressure and high power output. Some tuning can be done when running multiple pumps at low speed against medium or high backpressure. But overall, we are delighted with the FlowControl system,” says Clas Gustafsson.
New PLC possibilities pave the way
The FlowControl system is a software-based solution for both newbuilds and existing vessels. The application connects to the VFD, and the system will automatically operate the cargo pumps at the optimal duty point. This reduces port time, fuel consumption and maintenance costs for the cargo pumps.
“Operators are currently changing between cargo tanks during discharge. This requires the speed of the pumps to be adjusted manually. When you adjust the speed, the pumps will operate outside of the optimal duty point. But with the new PLC possibilities, we now can design pumping curves together with the software, without being limited by the construction of the pump. With FlowControl we are making discharging of P&C a matter of choosing the right software,” says Anders Lürzer Askholm, Service Manager, at Svanehøj.
As FlowControl does not require any additional hardware, the system can be installed while the ship is in operation. Once the service engineer is onboard, the vessel will be upgraded within a few days in parallel with the loading/discharge operation.