Diesel Engine Idle to Full Load Time Halved by Intelligent Valve Train

By George Backwell at January 24, 2014 23:28
Filed Under:
One of the  new tools that engine builders are using these days to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is Valve Control Management (VCM), ABB’s variable valve train system, more so since duel-fuel engines become an increasingly popular choice by ship-owners. Valve Control Management System (VCM): Image courtesy of ABBInitially introduced in the shore-based gas plant sector, Christoph Rofka, Senior General Manager for New Business at ABB conjectured at that time and with an eye to the future:  “A technology like this speaks to the increasing trend to explore dual-fuel options and create solutions for gas. These engines are also very similar to what you find on many ships, and we believe that VCM will very soon be highly relevant for and effective in the marine industry.”Basically the technology helps a turbocharger to manage air actively, and is particularly effective for high-performance engines in which large operating ranges or rapid load ... [More]

Oil Stress Analysis Gave Key to Shell’s Unique New Lube Oil

By George Backwell at August 04, 2012 08:47
Filed Under: Research & Development
No need to keep different multiple spec lube oils on board any longer say Shell Marine Products as they launched their lube oil, Alexia S4 a few days ago. Their new oil is a ‘one-stop’ solution lube for all climates, all seasons, in a wide range of vessel types with low-speed two-stroke engines, including those steaming at slow and ultra-slow engine speeds. As if that were not enough, Shell also say that the new formulation better protects engines. VLCC: Photo courtesy of Shell Fundamentally though, the introduction of this oil for low-speed, two-stroke marine diesels was founded upon a breakthrough in the understanding of oil stress in this type of  engine, as will be seen.Lube Oil Stress in Slow-speed Marine DieselsOil stress, the single most important factor that governs the lifetime and performance of an engine lubricant, is the name given to those factors which degrade lubricants, making them less effective. Research on oil stress has been done for many years ... [More]

Propulsion System Alternative for Southern Towing Newbuilds

By George Backwell at June 16, 2012 08:30
Filed Under:
Mississippi River and Gulf intracoastal barge operators Southern Towing Company informs they are having four push-boats (designed by Ed Shearer & Associates) built at Alabama’s Steiner Shipyard in Bayou La Batre; vessels that will have an unusual propulsion system installed when the first of them is delivered by year’s end. Southern Towing Push-Boat: Photo courtesy of Southern Towing The first two 100-ft push-boats will be equipped with hydraulically operated Z-drive propulsion units powered by two MTU 8V 4000 M23S engines running at a constant speed. In this design, unusual on the U.S. inland waterways, the propulsion engines run at a constant 1,800 rpm, while the hydraulic propulsion unit provides fully proportional speed control to a fixed-pitch propeller in a 360-degree azimuth Z-drive. An advantage is that the 1,234 bhp engines will also be powering generators to supply hotel loads on the boats, eliminating the cost of separate generator sets.The other two, la... [More]

Hansa 'Ship of the Year' – Seatruck RoRo Freight Ferry

By George Backwell at March 03, 2012 09:01
Filed Under: General
Roll on roll off freight ferry Seatruck Performance was launched from the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) shipbuilding yard at Flensberg, Germany, earlier this year, the third of the same class whose initial delivery (Seatruck Progress) was acclaimed Hansa’s ‘Ship of the Year 2011’. These compact, fuel-efficient ships for British operators Seatruck Ferries are for service between Irish Sea ports and have interesting features. Launch – Seatruck Performance: Photo credit FRG Design FeaturesMaximum length as well as draft of the newbuildings was entirely dictated by port usage restrictions at one of the main operating ports – Heysham, on the North-West coast of England – and accordingly the quartet of new ships are exactly 142 m (465.9 ft) LOA with a loaded draft of 5.2 m (17.06 ft). Despite this restriction, the design with the bridge placed above the bows yields a surprising 2,166 lane meters for carriage of unaccompanied trucks, trailers... [More]

Wärtsilä Diesel Engines Mated with Scrubbers for New Lakers

By George Backwell at February 07, 2012 09:45
Filed Under: General
St. Lawrence  –  Great Lakes Seaway shipping line Algoma Central Marine is spending $300 million on new ships, including six that will be 45% more fuel efficient per cargo tonne/kilometre than existing vessels. These ‘Equinox-class’ lakers  provide Wärtsilä with a $12 million ground-breaking order for complete propulsion packages that come with fully integrated fresh water scrubber systems.  The lakers to be delivered by China’s Nantong Mingde Heavy Industrial Stock Company shipyard over the next couple of years are designed to lift 30,000 dwt of bulk cargo, wheat and ore, for carriage through the seaway to the American heartland in ‘Lakers’ hallmark slim 225 m long hulls. Algoma Equinox-class Laker: Image credit – Algoma Central Corporation Replacement of the St Lawrence Seaway FleetsThe big three fleet operators, Algoma Central, Canada Steamship Lines and Fednav, all with relatively elderly ships, have been s... [More]

Combustion – What goes on in the cylinder?

By George Backwell at October 09, 2011 00:42
Filed Under: Research & Development
A towering inferno in microcosm, lasting for fractions of a second, the swirling mix of air and atomised fuel as it explodes in the cylinder (turbulence helps the mixing process between the fuel and oxidiser) would seem to defy analysis. Nevertheless the mix is governed by the same fluid dynamics equations that quantify smoke swirling from, say, a chimney, where large swirls of smoke spin off chains of smaller ones. Analysis of very large numbers of such complex equations requires massive computing power, and a team led by mechanical engineers  Joseph Oefelein and Jacqueline Chen of Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia)  is using the Jaguar supercomputer at Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (ORLCF) for just this purpose. LES reveals how fuel from a state-of-the-art injector mixes with air inside an engine cylinder (Image credit: Joseph Oefelein and Daniel Strong, Sandia National Laboratories) Supercomputing Helps Engine Manufacturers R&D professionals seeking... [More]

Cruise Ship 'Nordlys' – Fire Flare-up Enigma

By George Backwell at September 18, 2011 10:05
Filed Under: General
Cruise ship Nordlys on a regular Hurtigruten scenic Norwegian coastal passage from Bergen to far-North Kirkenes with 262 passengers and crew on board, reported fire in the engine room last Thursday morning, 15, September not far (fortunately) from scheduled first port of call Ålesund, Norway, where she limped in to dock with smoke billowing from the funnel. Cruise Ship Nordlys About to Enter Ålesund: Photo credit – Olav Helge Matvik/Norwegian Coastal Administration   Olav Fjell  CEO of Hurtigruten described the fire as a tragedy (the chief engineer and a young assistant engineer were killed and a dozen or so injured). Which clearly it was, although had this major fire occurred later in the voyage, say with the ship beyond North Cape, a far greater disaster might have ensued. At all events, the fire raged on dockside in Ålesund until it was extinguished mid-afternoon, leaving the flooded hull with a threatening 22 degree list and shore pumps workin... [More]

America's First LNG Dual-fuel PSV on the Horizon

By George Backwell at August 07, 2011 05:17
Filed Under: Company News, General
  “It is a matter of when, not if, LNG will be a commonly-selected fuel source and we need a sound basis for ship designs." So said Christopher J. Wiernicki, President of  ABS a few months ago as he announced his classification society’s issue of a technical guide to the installation of LNG propulsion and auxiliaries in ships. Cut to the chase, and just last week Harvey Gulf Corp. said that the next phase of their ‘Green’ constructions will include two dual-fuel Platform Supply Vessels (PSV’s) which will have the distinction of becoming the first ever U.S. Flagged PSVs to be powered by LNG. Gulf International Marine’s Chairman & CEO Shane J. Guidry said that a contract will be awarded to a U.S. shipyard on or before August 28, 2011. PSV SV310DF Design:    Courtesy of  STXM   U.S. Ship Registry Slow to Embrace LNG Marine Diesel Engine TechnologyDuel-fuel diesel engines (able to burn natural gas ignited by liquid... [More]

Yachts and Boats Set to Clean-up if EU Backed Project Pays Off

By George Backwell at July 09, 2011 22:28
Filed Under: Research & Development
Propulsion of yachts and boats up to 24 meters (78.7 ft) may be revolutionised if the outcome of the three-year €2 million European Union financed R&D project ‘High Efficiency Hybrid Drive Trains for Small and Medium-sized Marine Craft’ (project acronym – ‘HYMAR’) bears fruit. Reduction of GHG emissions from tens of thousands of small craft attracted the European Union’s support for the project.The R&D target is to come up with a fully integrated, computer controlled diesel-electric hybrid drive configuration that will take over the traditional role of the diesel engine as the direct drive of sailboats and small commercial vessels.At the centre of the system under development is a comprehensive Energy Management Module (EMM) to synchronise and control all the energy flows (generator, wind, trailing propellor, solar panels) in and out of a specially designed battery bank.   Malo 46 Test Boat Based at Kungsviken, Sweden: Photo HYM... [More]

First Hybrid Tug in Europe – Port of Rotterdam's 'RT Adriaan'

By George Backwell at June 04, 2011 22:44
Filed Under: General
Construction of the propulsion system of Europe’s first hybrid tugboat was announced at the International Tug and Salvage Conference on 17, May 2011 in Antwerp, Belgium, by Canada-based innovatory engine designers and builders Aspin, Kemp and Associates (AKA) in partnership with Dutch tug operators KOTUG International, whose Port of Rotterdam stationed tug RT Adriaan is due to be retrofitted with AKA’s proprietary ‘XeroPoint Hybrid Propulsion System’.Harbour tugs like RT Adriaan perform a wide variety of tasks across the entire power spectrum, typically including periods of 'Stand-by for pilot’s orders', short transit passages, and then bottom-line ship berthing and un-berthing operations. Opportunities for continuous engine working at or near the high power levels that give optimum diesel engine efficiency come but rarely, indeed operational analysis has shown that tugs of this type operate at low engine loads most of the time.  RT Adriaan: Photo... [More]

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