CAT Targets Cruise for MEO, AI
Caterpillar is touting its Multi-Engine Optimizer (MEO) as a solution for existing cruise ships to burn less fuel, run cleaner, keep uptime and reliability high while keeping costs down.
Caterpillar's MEO is designed to lay over the top of a vessel’s existing power management system, us-ing proprietary performance maps and control algorithms to advise the system on which engines to operate and at what load. The second, Asset Intelligence (AI), is a total vessel monitoring solution that collects and analyzes data from onboard systems, then provides recommendations on when and how to take action. Specifically Cat contends that MEO and AI can:
1. Decrease fuel consumption
It takes an incredible amount of fuel to power today’s ships — more than a billion dollars’ worth annu-ally for some larger cruise lines. A 2-3 percent saving on a fuel bill could mean saving tens of millions of dollars without making a change to engines or vessel operations.
MEO is designed to make that possible by using fuel maps to determine the best combination of en-gines and enabling dynamic asymmetrical load allocation: simply put, the ability to operate those en-gines at independent load factors. Precise fuel flow measuring for each individual engine results in the lowest possible fuel consumption for the entire system. AI helps reduce fuel burn by analyzing fuel and energy performance on board your ships, identifying operational practices and component maintenance issues that conspire to increase fuel consumption and costs.
2. Lower emissions
The current cruise ship order book includes a number of new vessels with liquified natural gas (LNG) as their primary fuel source to reduce emissions. That doesn’t help existing vessels, as repowering a cruise ship is difficult due to the location of the engines, and converting to LNG is even more of a chal-lenge because of the need for tanks to store the liquid. MEO is designed to help cruise owners run cur-rent engines more efficiently or AI to monitor and improve fuel burn — or both — to decrease fuel consumption. For every liter of diesel fuel saved, 2.68 kg of CO2 is eliminated.
3. Optimize maintenance
Maintenance is another area where technology can deliver benefits. MEO is designed to help owners consolidate more power into every hour of operation, resulting in fewer actual engine hours over the same time span. That extends maintenance and overhaul intervals. You can also use MEO to balance engine use by hours or fuel, either to synchronize overhaul intervals (so you can do all the work during one shutdown) or stagger intervals (so you can continue cruising without needing a shutdown at all).
AI is designed to allow owners to move from hours-based to needs-based maintenance schedules. It tracks all the data generated by a ships’ systems, and can tell when maintenance and repairs are actu-ally required.
The days of ships operating with two or three additional main engines are long gone. Due to cost pres-sures, most cruise lines no longer carry as much redundant power on board. That means any unsched-uled downtime — or in some cases, even scheduled downtime — runs the risk of losing a voyage. En-gine reliability is more critical than ever. AI uses pattern recognition to learn about your ships’ systems so it can predict failures before they happen. That means your crew can take action immediately to fix an issue, and if any parts are needed, you can have them waiting in the right port. In addition to the data and alerts it provides on board, AI also sends additional analytics ashore, where an engineering team can review to get ahead of problems.
Watch Dra Wiersema discuss the introduction of Caterpillar's Multi-Engine Optimizer (MEO) on Maritime Reporter TV.