Propulsion System Monitoring Installed in NOAA Ships

By George Backwell at September 01, 2012 06:27
Filed Under: General

Oil fuel is the major operational cost (not counting labour) of a typical commercial vessel followed by equipment maintenance. By closely monitoring fuel consumption, engine and other vital system data by the vessel crew and corporate office, substantial savings can be realised.

The key is to have that data available in front of all the right persons at the right time allowing operational changes to be made quickly to optimise efficiency; better still if there are no monthly fees to be paid for the service. Just such a system was recently installed by American company Krill Systems in two of the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) specialised ocean research vessels, Henry B.Bigelow and Pisces.

Each of these two ships has its own onboard database, called the Vessel Operations Centre (VOC), which through displays enables operators to make the most economical fuel settings on board.  At the same time sensor data is synchronised with the other ship’s VOC database then consolidated into one single VOC entity to provide a central office-based overview of both vessel’s activity in customisable format delivered in near-real time.

The network itself is implemented with industry standard shielded Ethernet, with all Krill devices connected together by a central Ethernet switch.

KrillNet Setup: Image courtesy of Krill Systems

Krill Systems uses Microsoft SQL server database technology to record all sensor data with 2-second resolution and storage capacity of at least one year with unlimited roll-over capacity (ROC). Any communication system including Cellular or Satellite internet access, supporting standard SMTP email protocols, may be used to transmit customizable reports and sensor data menus, in Excel format, to any number of operators, anywhere.

All recorded sensor data such as fuel consumption, GPS position and engine data is included in the Excel comma separated value (CSV) formatted spreadsheet with separate rows for each sensor.
Any starting and ending time going back up to 12 months can be specified, as well as the data interval between each column from every 1 minute to 1 hour.

NOAA Ships – Henry B.Bigelow and Pisces

Propulsion in both vessels is provided by integrated diesel electric 24-Pulse DC SCR drive systems, each using two 1,125kW propulsion DC motors on a common shaft, powered by CAT 3512 and CAT 3508 series diesel generators delivering 3,017hp at 134 max rpm.

The Bigelow and the Pisces are 208’ LOA NOAA fisheries survey vessels operating as part of the NOAA Atlantic Fleet. They are both actively engaged in research missions.

NOAA Fisheries Survey Vessels (FSV) are among the most technologically advanced in the world and support the NOAA Fisheries Service’s mission. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the management, conservation and protection of living marine resources within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone.

NOAA Vessel Pisces: Photo courtesy of NOAA

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