San Francisco Bay: The Next Generation

Friday, May 18, 2007
On his day off Red and White Port Engineer Mike Epstein likes to take his nearly three-year-old son Mark down to the Bay and onboard the tour boats that he maintains. On a recent May morning he took a little extra time with his boy to show me around the refurbished and repowered 90x34-foot Royal Prince moored to the company dock at Pier 43 1/2 on the Embarcadero. The deep personal commitment to a greener environment is common in amidst the beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area, but Mike expresses it in a particularly intense fashion when he speaks about the Cummins QSK19 Tier 2 engines that they have recently installed in this practical craft. Asked what thinking went in to the engine selection, he replied, ?Not much thought was needed. I?ve had a lot of experience with the K-series engines and the base of this engine has been around a long time. The Tier 2 is like icing on the cake. The project is partially funded by the California Carl Moyer Program so all the stars just fell in alignment.

Not only did the company get a significantly greener engine than the competitor?s engine that was replaced they got more horsepower within two percent of the same weight so that there were no expensive inclination test required. The old engines were 23 liters but delivered only 425 horsepower while the new 19-liter engines with their more efficient electronically controlled modular common rail fuel injection deliver 500 hp each. The boat was already achieving its hull speed so there is no increase in speed but it will be possible to operate at lower RPM in some instances. For a passenger vessel an important aspect of the electronic injection system and the other Tier 2 modifications are the reduced particulate emissions. The less smoke there is swirling around the deck the happier are the passengers. Mike Epstein explains that the old engines had a fuel lag when increasing RPM that led to annoying smoke. ?With the new common rail system these engines throttle up very quickly.

Epstein has nothing but praise for all the firms involved in the repower, He said, ?We are excited about our new QSK19s and Twin Disc gearboxes that were installed by Bay Ship and Yacht.? And went on to add, ?We have only a few hours on them at this point but are expecting to see better fuel economy and extended time between overhauls 20,000 hours at least.

He also has praise for the Cummins modular common rail fuel system.?And explains that, These engines will also be upgraded to use the oil filter eliminator spinners. The engines are currently running 5% Bio Diesel. In cooperation with Cummins this will be increased to 20% on a test basis. Like other Californians Mike Epstein is concerned about the future of the environment for himself and his growing son. These engines are a concrete example of that concern in action.

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