With the average age of many ocean-going vessels pushing 20 years or over, marine operators are having to find new ways to make sure that their vessels can meet the required standards whilst keeping operational costs down.
Cutting fuel consumption is a recognised way of both cutting emissions from vessels and reducing costs. One popular technique employed by many ship’s captains is slow steaming, where the ship’s speed is reduced. Originally pioneered by shipping line Maersk in 2009, slow steaming has since been embraced by the industry as a way of reducing the amount of fuel used during a voyage. According to estimates from IEA Bioenergy, cutting a ship’s speed from 27 knots to 18 knots can give a potential reduction in fuel consumption of 59 percent.
However, running at reduced speed can have adverse consequences for ships. These can include a reduction in engine performance and combustion efficiency, as well as a similar loss of performance due to the use of low-quality fuel.
There is also a potential problem with fouling of the exhaust gas boiler, as well as soot deposits on moving parts. Premature wear and tear of vital parts is another danger, as is under and over-lubrication of components.
To meet these targets and requirements while avoiding the drawbacks of slow steaming, vessels need to fit technologies that can measure a variety of parameters connected with engine performance and emissions.