Low carbon shipping - next generation energy systems

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Source: GLOBE SERIES

With the increasingly strict requirements of maritime emissions regulations in numerous international jurisdictions, and the recent sharp global increase in energy costs, ship energy management and efficiency has never before carried such economic significance for marine equipment suppliers and shipbuilders, as well as vessel owners and fleet operators.

Ricardo has been actively involved in development of the very latest in engine, hybrid propulsion systems, mechanical and electrical energy storage, and fuel cell systems including fuel liquid fuel reformers, for a wide range of international clients as well as through the company's technology research programme.

The results of this work - enabled by Ricardo's state-of-the-art simulation technology - indicates that advanced propulsion systems based on the careful selection of well proven propulsion, energy storage, after-treatment and waste heat recovery solutions, have the potential to bring significant fuel consumption savings while also meeting the requirements of existing and planned international emissions regulations.

By implementing next-generation energy management and propulsion technologies, Ricardo believes that operational fuel consumption reductions of between 15 and 25 percent are possible compared with conventional existing marine propulsion configurations.  To help the maritime industry realize this fuel saving potential, Ricardo has today announced the formation of a consortium project known as the Ship Efficiency & Energy Storage Assessment consortium (SeEsA).

This pre-competitive consortium will investigate energy management of the propulsion and auxiliary power systems and identify potential technology solutions appropriate for the requirements of applications including cruise liners, ro-ro ferries, tankers, bulk carriers, container ships, and offshore facility supply and navy vessels. In addition to meeting existing and future perceived needs, the flexibility of propulsion configurations in the face of potentially changing operating requirements will also be considered.

The work of the consortium will be arranged in a modular format with partners subscribing to a core programme of work which can be adapted and augmented to meet their specific needs. The first phase will focus in assessing the best energy storage solution combined with advanced energy recovery systems for a complete propulsion system under different operating conditions including normal operation, slow steaming and up to three additional duty cycles that the consortium members agree as most relevant to their needs.

The range of energy storage solutions will include conventional and state-of-the art battery technologies and ultra capacitors, flywheel based systems, thermal and pressure based storage, fuel reformers and liquid nitrogen (LN2) systems. The prime movers covered will include diesel and gas engines, and gas and steam turbine systems, with auxiliary power systems also including possible fuel cells and Stirling engine applications.

The second phase will focus on a more detailed analysis and investigate the efficiency of the sub-systems including engine combustion and air handling methods. Technologies considered will include advanced air handling and combustion solutions, with a view to identifying how future ship operational practice can be optimized as the economic climate changes and legislative frameworks evolve.

Ricardo plc group commercial director Steve Clarke said: 'The international maritime industry is facing the twin challenge of meeting the needs of emissions regulation in a range of jurisdictions as well as a sharp increase in the cost of energy for both propulsion and on-board systems.'

The SeEsA consortium will remain open to applications from prospective members throughout the duration of the work. Organizations wishing to register an interest in participating in Phase 1 or in any of the future modules, or to obtain further information, should contact marine@ricardo.com.

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