Technology of the Month – May

Technology of the Month – May

Each month VPO Global selects a technology that is accelerating energy efficient shipping. For May’s Tech of the Month, we spoke with Peter Knudsen, managing director of Blueflow Energy Management to find out how the Swedish company is giving crew the power to improve vessel performance.

Technology – Blueflow Energy Management solution

Company – Blueflow Energy Management, Sweden

Stockholm-based Blueflow Energy Management has developed a tool to manage and optimise fuel consumption of marine vessels by enabling the crew to access and understand data, giving them the power to improve vessel performance. Up to 30 per cent fuel savings are achievable.

The system comprises Blueflow Onboard, which provides real-time information like fuel economy, load, trim, relative wind and other important parameters for efficient propulsion. It can be integrated with other systems and sensors onboard a vessel to give a complete view of fuel and energy consumption.

Data collected by Blueflow Onboard are sent to Blueflow Online for reporting, analysis and verification. Reports on ship performance are generated and sent to the user, giving them full control on performance optimisation. Various displays can be installed for eco-driving and monitoring of energy consumers.

Strong Nordic partnership

The Danish company DEIF A/S also believes in Blueflow, and the two companies partnered up in 2018. Being one of the world’s leading suppliers of power management solutions, bridge and switchboard instrumentation, DEIF A/S is confident that Blueflow will save their customers a lot of money on fuel consumption both on newbuilds and retrofit projects and regardless of vessel types.

“We believe that Blueflow has great potential, and it fits perfectly with our overall energy management concept. Partnering up with Blueflow Energy Management was the right decision, and we experience massive interest in the system”, explained Edzard Janssen, DEIF Marine & Offshore manager.

Blueflow Energy Management is responsible for maintaining and developing new system features, and DEIF A/S manages sales, installation, and integration of the Blueflow Onboard System to both power management systems and consumer load management systems.

Standout features

Speed optimisation – Blueflow automatically builds a profile of a vessel’s fuel consumption over different speeds.

Engine consumption monitoring – Each engine’s fuel consumption is displayed on the dashboard to provide detailed insight into where the most and least fuel is being used.

ECO-trip – this new function enables the driver of the ship to get instant feedback of the vessel’s fuel and energy consumption. The graphical interface compares the current trip with the last trip on the same route, and different driving techniques are directly comparable. All historical routes are compared in a list, and average values are calculated and presented.

History graph – This newly launched function calculates and presents real-time costs for operating the ship. Actual fuel prices and maintenance costs for each consumer are taken into account, and a total vessel operating cost is presented to the crew. This allows for changes in running configuration with instant feedback of improvements.

A tool designed for the crew

Blueflow Onboard is explicitly designed with the crew in mind. It provides data and analysis that learn the crew how to optimise the ship’s fuel economy by providing a breakdown of the fuel consumption per distance, the impact of various generator loads and number of generators started, and more customised views depending on what the crew is interested in looking at.

Blueflow specifically allows crews to evaluate their driving behaviour and see how different ways of operating a vessel affect its fuel consumption.

“If they (the crew) see what they can do, they will be affected, and they will start to compete with themselves,” says Peter Knudsen, managing director, Blueflow Energy Management. If technical solutions save 1-5 per cent, mental awareness will save 10-20 per cent.

Case studies

Blidösundsbolaget’s Sjöbris and Sjögull, two archipelago ships in Stockholm, have been fitted with Blueflow, which is now monitoring the ship´s three Scania engines. This type of ships will typically save between 10-20 per cent of fuel, simply by giving the crew awareness and possibility to follow up different driving techniques. Blidösundsbolaget’s Östan has also been fitted with Blueflow Online.

Destination Gotland’s Visborg is number three in the fleet of Blueflow vessels. All parameters are collected from the automation system, and relevant information is presented on the bridge and in the machine room for energy situation awareness. The ship is also fully prepared for automatic MRV and IMO DCS reporting.

Waxholmsbolagets newbuild hybrid electric propulsion vessel, the Yxlan, was integrated with Blueflow from the start. All in total, Waxholmsbolaget is now running Blueflow on twenty of its vessels.

Viking Line’s Viking Grace was installed with Blueflow Online in November 2017. The LNG-powered vessel is the sixth out of seven ships in the Viking fleet to be equipped with Blueflow. Fuel consumption and every kW of electricity used by the ship is monitored and fed back to the Viking crew.

The display onboard the Aurora. Image courtesy of Blueflow Energy Management

The steamship Storskär, owned and operated by Waxholmsbolaget uses Blueflow to measure and report fuel consumption of the diesel boilers, generated power from the auxiliary engine and shore power energy. According to Blueflow, the challenge with this installation was to not interfere with the classic interior of an old steamship. All necessary equipment is “hidden” as far as possible not to disturb the feeling of being on an old steamer.

Two diesel-electric river shuttles Älvfrida and Älveli operated by Styrsöbolaget in Gothenburg were installed with Blueflow to calculate the electric energy efficiency of the vessels. The parameter kWh/Nm is presented on the bridge, and the vessels’ total energy consumption is now available for reports online. Styrsöbolaget runs Blueflow on 15 vessels today.

ForSea Ferries selected Blueflow for its entire fleet following a successful trial onboard the Aurora, one of the largest fully electric ferries in the world.

TT Line and Fjord Line have also announced in April 2019 that they are to utilise Blueflow to measure the fuel consumption of their vessels. These projects are the outcome of the newly announced partnership with DEIF.

All in total, more than 100 ships are now equipped and online in Blueflow. For other case studies and to find out more about Blueflow Energy Management, visit the website here.

About Technology of the Month

Each month, VPO Global selects a technology that is helping the shipping industry to optimise vessel performance and save fuel. If you have a technology that you think is suitable, please contact fiona@thedigitalship.com.