Maersk Line: Retrofit Project Could Reduce Bunker Consumption by 20%

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday June 4, 2013

A new research project seeks to retrofit containerships to reduce their energy consumption by 10 to 20 percent, according to Maersk Line, which is one of the companies collaborating in the effort.

The project, which also involves MAN Diesel & Turbo (Man Diesel) and the Technical University of Denmark's Mechanical Technology Department (DTU Mekanik), has received DKK 5 million ($877,000) from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (Højteknologifonden).

"We are constantly challenging our ships in terms of operation and are seeking ways of making the existing fleet more efficient and environmentally friendly," said Niels H. Bruus, Head of Global Optimisation and Innovation at Maersk Line.

"This project is unique in its holistic approach to propeller design and engine performance optimised for lower speeds."

Many ship owners have responded to rising fuel prices by adopting slow steaming, but existing containerships were not built to operate at slower speeds and require an overhaul to perform efficiently and avoid damage to components.

"In order to re-design propellers and engines, it is crucial that you know the precise conditions relating to the individual ship," said Poul Andersen from DTU Mekanik.

"Consequently, we have to modify the calculation tools we already have so that they are more capable of modelling the interaction between the ship and its propellers and we can go to the limits in the design of the propellers for the existing ships."

The project may result in prototype tests using one of Maersk Line's ships, and the effort ultimately targets 500 vessels that could benefit from new fuel-saving technology.

"We expect to be able to cultivate an entirely new area of business entailing comprehensive upgrading and streamlining and that will benefit both the industry and the environment," said Niels Freese from MAN Diesel.

Maersk Tankers recently said it is retrofitting about 70 tankers to save fuel, and Maersk Line has introduced new hull forms for existing ships to allow for slow steaming.