Wärtsilä: Marine industry seeks performance optimisation through fuel efficienc

Bunkering, Marine Equipment Products and Services, Technical, Technology — By on December 10, 2015 at 2:19 PM

wartsila logoFuel efficiency is a key to decreased operational costs in the marine business. Improved efficiency is of special interest for many cruise and ferry as well as merchant companies. Fuel efficiency solutions offer an opportunity to improve long-term competitiveness and sustainability. 

Larger and more fuel-efficient vessels have entered the market but with an asset lifespan of 20–30 years the key to competitiveness for many marine operators is the existing fleet. Since June 2014, crude oil prices have decreased by more than 50%. Prices are expected to increase only slightly,
if at all, in 2016 with a recovery starting in late 2016 or early 2017. Even though competition in the marine market remains strong, decreased fuel prices might offer some flexibility for strategic investment decisions.

How to improve fuel efficiency?

Safety, reliability and efficiency can be achieved through upgrades to meet modern standards. Modernisation also brings a second benefit. It helps to comply with many of the upcoming environmental requirements.

“In the cruise and ferry business, operating with modern and more fuel-efficient fleet not only affects the vessel’s performance but also has an impact in the environment and reputation. The environmental awareness of consumers is increasing, especially in industries as visible as the cruise and ferry business. That awareness is a driver for how people choose to spend their money.Fuel efficiency brings along smaller environmental footprint, which is appreciated by consumers. Being a front runner gives an advantage to operators to attract customers”, says Tomas Hakala, Vice President, 4-Stroke Services, Wärtsilä.

It is crucial to look into the vessels’ full lifecycle. The design and condition of the engine and propulsion systems and how they are operated have a direct connection to fuel consumption. Proper maintenance is also among the main areas where fuel efficiency can be improved.

“In the merchant business, fuel efficiency is the most significant factor affecting operational performance. The choice of fuel matters, of course, but regardless of what fuel is used, knowing the true condition of the vessel is always the starting point”, says Andreas Wiesmann, General Manager, Sales & Innovation, 2-Stroke Services, Wärtsilä.

Based on the feedback received by Wärtsilä, for example propeller modifications and propulsion upgrades are among the solutions that are appreciated by marine operators. From cruise and ferry market perspective turbocharger upgrades improving the speed margin of vessels raise interest. For merchant vessels slow steaming continues to be a crucial topic. Slow steaming without modifications increases risk of engine fouling and excessive component temperatures, which highlights importance of upgrade solutions.

Digitalisation taking maintenance to the next level

Digitalisation is fundamentally changing the way maintenance services are conducted as the utilisation of data and analytics are providing enormous opportunities to meet current challenges. Available information can help secure and optimise operations as well as predict the maintenance need well in advance.

As the latest development in digital solutions, Wärtsilä has launched Wärtsilä Genius services. Those consist of solutions and services which are designed to optimise, for example, an installation’s energy efficiency, or even the management of an entire fleet. This will be done by integrating advanced dynamic voyage planning, ship efficiency advisory services and energy analysis, as well as extensive condition monitoring of the main equipment into one consolidated solution.


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