The latest version of ECO-Assistant, the trim optimisation tool from FutureShip, the maritime consulting arm of Germanischer Lloyd, incorporates a number of new features, including a fuel consumption calculator, system usage monitoring, benefit reporting and an E-learning module to speed familiarity with the system.
With some 600 installations since its introduction three years ago, ECO-Assistant has been proven to deliver significant energy fuel savings to its users and the new features will enhance the functionality and usability of the system.
Trim optimisation is one of the most effective tools for enhancing ship fuel efficiency as it offers benefits which have been verified in sea trials, can be easily implemented on existing tonnage and has a payback time which can be measured in months. Managing energy more efficiently has become a key area in shipping with the new SEEMP (Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan) regulations requiring greater monitoring and documentation, also an increasing point of emphasis from maritime authorities and contractual partners.
“ECO-Assistant can achieve efficiency improvements of up to 6%. A typical 7,500 TEU container vessel operating at a slow steaming speed can reduce its CO2 emission by 2,740 tons per year by using the system. Additionally, ECO-Assistant can be integrated with a vessel’s cargo planning system to realise even greater fuel saving potential, optimising ballast water management”, said Dr Karsten Hochkirch, Head of Fluid Engineering, FutureShip.
Reliable data on vessel fuel consumption is becoming increasingly vital, not only to benchmark and assess vessel and fleet performance but to fulfil charter agreements. Developed in partnership with Hamburg based ship operator NSC the new fuel consumption calculator in ECO-Assistant responds to these needs by providing the fuel consumption for an arbitrary sailing condition with a single click. This new function re-uses the hydrodynamic knowledge base behind the system’s trim optimisation to generate this information, while performance data and semi-empirical corrections are utilised to provide fuel consumption curves that reflect individual hull fouling, ambient conditions, fuel quality and engine characteristics.
Björn Eichhorn, Fleet Director of NSC Schifffahrtsgesellschaft, said: "The ECO-Assistant data gave us the capability to reliably compute fuel consumption at draft and speed conditions not covered by model tests or sea trials.”
The new reporting feature generates automated PDF reports for periods or voyages, stating usage and achieved savings, at the push of a button. These reports can be used as to demonstrate energy efficient operation for SEEMP documentation, national and port authorities, and between contract partners. The process connects on-shore and on-board staff with a common view on usage and benefits of the system and this effectively results in regular and consistent usage.
Building on the experience gained from working with customers on some 600 installations over the last 3 years the new E-Learning module allows new users to familiarise themselves with ECO-Assistant anytime, anywhere, at their own chosen speed, whether for an initial introduction, or for a brush-up on a certain feature. The module ensures easy initial implementation and ensures that new crew members can be familiarised with the system quickly smoothly.
These new features have emerged from the consistently close relationship between FutureShip and its customers. An on-going dialogue with customers has formed the basis for the strategies used in the system’s development, with users defining how the system can better reflect their needs and help them to perform better