Dover Seaways upgraded to optimise fuel use

Our short-term climate action plan is to reduce emissions by 45 % from 2008 to 2030. The main focus is on upgrading existing vessels. We recently upgraded and rebuilt Dover Seaways’ propulsion and control system. The goal is fuel savings.

Dover Seaways in dry dock in Dunkerque during upgrade

”Our short-term climate action plan consists of projects that fall into three categories,” Performance Manager in DFDS’ Technical Organization Lina Barsøe Christensen says. So far, we have planned projects that are anti-fouling initiatives – using coating and surface treatment on a ship to control or prevent the attachment of unwanted organisms.  Some projects deal with technical hardware upgrades. And finally, we have the Fuel Performance Programme projects, including hardware updates and software for decision support on board and insights ashore. More projects will be added as we learn more about how effective each project is,” Lina says. 

Upgrade and rebuilding of the propulsion control system on Dover Seaways: fuel savings in sight

Over 18 days in February and March, the system was installed and tested together with the classification society Lloyd’s Register during the vessel’s annual dry docking in Dunkerque, France.

“By applying the latest technology within route planning and propulsion control to the existing machinery installations and bridge control equipment, and utilising the full design potential of the machinery, we hope to see fuel and CO2 savings of up to 6 %. Specifically, we are installing an Artificial Intelligence-supported system that will optimise the relation between propeller pitch and engine RPM, taking these two components to the point where the propeller efficiency is at its maximum in relation to the Expected Time of Arrival for which you have programmed your system,” Superintendent Jan Blak says. Jan’s part of the Technical Organisation’s short-term climate action plan team. 

“To achieve the optimal settings, the system continuously looks at parameters like the ship’s position, speed and course over ground, the water depth below the keel, the engine load and the engine maker’s recommendations, fuel consumption, as well as the wind direction and speed. Based on all of this data, the system will automatically maintain the speed, propeller pitch and RPM, which will take you to your destination port on time at the lowest possible overall fuel consumption,” Jan says. 

6 kilometres of new cabling

“A range of equipment has been replaced or extensively modified, like the RPM control devices, the optic fibre communication systems between bridge and engine room and the high-accuracy fuel oil flow meters. A server system that constantly monitors and controls the process based on the electronic maps (ECDIS system) has been installed. This server system is constantly connected to the Internet via the ship’s VSAT system to receive updated weather forecasts. This connection is also used for live data retrieval so that shore-based DFDS personnel can monitor the system performance in real-time or compile data for in-depth analysis of the overall vessel performance,” Jan continues. 

New and very accurate fuel oil flowmeters New and very accurate fuel oil flowmeters

New maneouvring console on Bridge New manoeuvring console on Bridge

In all, we have installed approximately 6 kilometres of new cabling to link all the new equipment with the existing machinery systems onboard the vessel, and extensive pipework modifications were needed to accommodate the new fuel flow meters.

Rebuilding the propeller control cabinet

The team behind it

The conversion has been driven and completed by people with substantial experience from on board DFDS vessels or monitoring vessel performance. Chris Killick is an electrical Superintendent from TO Dover who was previously an Electro-Technical Officer on the Dover-Dunkerque vessels. He was responsible for the cable installation and daily supervision of 20 external electricians. Tomasz Koltuniak, a Technical Superintendent in Dover, has previously worked extensively with upgrades to the computer-based automation systems on board these vessels. He was responsible for installing new fuel flow meters and the daily supervision of six external fitters/welders. Naval Architect Lina Barsøe from Copenhagen set up the base specifications for the propulsion optimisation system and the Ship-to-Shore data transfer system requirements, which will enable shoreside performance analysis. Superintendent Jan Blak from TO Copenhagen used to be the Chief Engineer on board the North Sea vessels – he was the overall project responsible and liaison towards all vendors, contractors and authorities. 

“In 2021, we’re focusing on data quality and building a data system that is robust enough for us to be able to make decisions and prioritise our efforts,” Lina says: “As for Dover Seaways, we’re hoping to have a firm assessment of fuel savings in September this year.”

Read more about short term climate action plan here

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