Small methodology leads to large savings

May 01 2014

The rule of thumb may not always work for managing cargo heating.

Atypical Suezmax may consume as much as 500 tonnes fuel oil for cargo heating to maintain cargo temperatures of Boscon crude in a voyage from Venezuela to the Far East.

Around 30% reduction in this consumption can be achieved through estimation planning and monitoring of cargo heating, which could mean a considerable saving to a tanker operator/owner. This reduction in fuel oil consumption is certainly big for a seemingly small cargo heating operation, said Blue Water Trade Winds.

“Blue Water Trade Winds, a pioneer in the innovative service of cargo heating management, touched the milestone of 58,000 tonnes fuel saving since its inception in 2008, corresponding to approximately $35 mill, ” the company said.

Not many years ago, fuel efficiency was a neglected topic of many marine conferences and journals. But today, sustainable technologies and concept rank top of the agenda in the maritime industry. What made such a   dramatic change in awareness in this area?

The answer may be complex and the causes are numerous. But above all, it is clearly the result of the phenomenal rise in fuel cost. This significantly reduced the voyage earnings for those ship operators who lacked the ability to adopt newer cost effective measures.

Also the far sighted shipowners have now realised the need for their contribution towards reducing harmful emissions by cutting down on avoidable fuel consumption.

As the world's most reliable, cost-effective and energy-efficient mass transportation system, maritime transportation is central to sustainable development. There is a growing international movement to protect our oceans in the marine industry.

A step ahead

Blue Water focuses on maritime energy efficiency areas, harnessing the experience of its professionals from diverse industries, the company said. These services are additions to the upcoming methods of saving fossil fuels and reducing environmental impact from emissions; primarily by designing new methodologies to optimise the fuel consumption across diverse operations, including cargo heating.

With several top oil company clients, Blue Water said that it had come a long way in it’s effort to create an effective cost cutting platform. In addition, this service was able to provide much needed support for giving insight into operations, green policies and core business processes.

The company is now focusing on pushing the need for next-generation sea transport sustainability methods to the tanker shipping sector— leading towards extending fuel saving objectives to a higher level, such as carbon budgets, environmental impact gauging and energy efficiency methods.

It is often said that what gets measured, gets done. Although shipping companies set ambitious energy optimisation initiatives given the multitude and complexity of variables involved, accurately measuring and tracking such performances remains a major challenge.

When it comes to achieving energy efficiency, shipping companies can choose different ways to measure and assess their energy use. Blue Water claimed that it had recently developed a simple yet effective and unique mechanism to specifically address this challenge - the Cargo Heating Performance Indicator (CHPI).

This was developed by a group of students from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) through regression analysis and in-depth statistical study of over 1,400 heated cargo voyages, managed by Blue Water.

CHPI has now allowed owners and operators to track and compare the cargo heating performance on heating cargo voyages in any given condition. In other words, the system now allows logical comparison of an apple to a mango. This is done by obtaining an  empirical relation between fuel oil consumption and factors affecting it, Blue Water explained.

The end result, in the form of fuel oil consumption expressed in tonnes per day, signifies the cargo heating efficiency on any given voyage (see overleaf).

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