The Era of The Electronic Engine Is Here

Wednesday, March 06, 2002
Having already put down a marker for the industry by converting the main engine of one of its ships to full electronic control, Norwegian chemtanker specialist Odfjell has further endorsed the technology by nominating a two-stroke electronic engine from the outset for a newbuild project. Experience gained with the installation in the 37,500-dwt Bow Cecil, run in wholesale electronic mode for about a year, has convinced Odfjell of the attributes and potential of such a system. It has therefore selected a purpose-designed, electronic version of the MC-C low-speed diesel from the MAN B&W stable for a 37,500-dwt parcel tanker contracted with Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven Floro. The fully integrated electronic control systems incorporated in the seven-cylinder S50ME-C plant of 10,415-kW (14,300-bhp) obviates the need for the traditional camshaft to actuate fuel injection and exhaust valve mechanisms. Unlike a standard engine, fuel injection characteristics can be optimized at many different load conditions, and maximum pressure can be kept constant over a wider load range, yielding benefits in improved consumption and emissions performance across the full operating profile. Ship maneuverability also gains from the lower rotational speed possibilities. The raft of advantages is especially pertinent to the trading profile of a parcel tanker, with its typical multi-port call pattern and relatively high proportion of operating time in harbor waters and running at less than maximum continuous power loads.

The facility to switch to low emission modes, to meet tough local controls governing atmospheric pollution, not least as regards oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and smoke limits, is regarded by Odfjell as one of the strong points of the arrangements. The 1998-built Bow Cecil had its MAN B&W 6L60MC engine converted from standard, camshaft-based operation to electronic control of key functions in November 2000. After an initial period of alternating between electronic and camshaft drive, the vessel has been operating principally in electronic mode since last March. The 7S50ME-C prime mover selected for the newbuild chemtanker at Floro, due to enter service in the fall of 2003, will be manufactured at MAN B&W's Alpha Diesel factory in Frederikshavn, Denmark, thanks to recent years' investments in two-stroke production and test facilities at the works.

Freezership of New Order Evoking the name of a seminal British reefer containership of the 1970s, while incorporating an Anglo-Dutch prefix of the 1990s, the recently delivered P&O Nedlloyd Remuera has put down a new milestone for the industry by virtue of its record concentration of power plugs for refrigerated boxes. Within an all-up container capacity of 4,112-TEU, the German-owned vessel offers 1,300 slots for 20-ft. and 40-ft. high-cube reefer units of the integral type, claimed to render her the largest reefer cargo carrier worldwide. She denotes the start of a major reinvestment in the trade out of Australasia. Although overall vessel size seems modest by comparison with the new generation of 6,000-8,000-TEU boxships phased into other liner trades, P&O Nedlloyd Remuera signifies a substantial advance in shipment capacity relative to the 2,700-TEU ships that have hitherto maintained the company's eastabout traffic from New Zealand to Northern Europe. Moreover, the high level of both reefer technology and reefer slots encapsulated in the new design has considerable implications for service level and route productivity, providing the basis for further development of the perishable cargo business. A potent Sulzer diesel prime mover of the 9RTA96C model, rated at approximately 70,000-bhp, should ensure a service speed of 23.5-knots, with sufficient reserve to make 25.2-knots if required. Dubbed the Albatros

S class, and built by Samsung Heavy Industries, P&O Nedlloyd Remuera leads a series of seven ships, all of which are committed to P&O Nedlloyd on initial eight-year charters from Hamburg-based contractual owner Claus-Peter Offen. They will replace 10 blown-air, insulated reefer container-carrying ships used by the line in the various trades involved. Partner operator CP Ships is due to add a further three vessels of similar design, booked with the Daewoo yard, making for a prospective fleet of 10 compatible ships, most of which should be in commission by the year's end. The immediate intention is to ensure dependable, fixed-day weekly sailings for exporters and importers on the Australia/New Zealand, Europe and U.S. trade route. The ultimate objective is a new, round-the-world service, linking Australasia with the U.S. eastern seaboard and Europe, returning eastabout to Australia and New Zealand, in a 70-day circumnavigation.

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