As part of its ongoing program to increase fuel efficiency, Tallink Grupp has installed Qtagg’s voyage optimisation system, EcoPilot, on the cruise ferry Isabelle.
During the voyage, EcoPilot automatically adapts to changing operational requirements, operator input, sea, and ship conditions, continuously using all available information to ensure on-time arrival at the lowest cost, every voyage. EcoPilot manages the entire voyage by calculating an optimum power plan and executing it automatically, with little or no manual intervention.
Achieving 7 per cent fuel savings
The verified results on Isabelle have been a reduction of 7 per cent in fuel consumption and emissions, recorded over 50 voyages during the summer. These results were verified by sailing with the EcoPilot system operational and non-operational on alternate round trips.
By linking various onboard systems, EcoPilot simplifies and digitalises the ship operation process for the personnel. An intuitive user interface combines all the required information and covers all technical needs and routines. The system offers route planning/optimisation and fuel efficiency monitoring. With intuitive quick steps, the user can plan and optimise the route in seconds. Follow-up and re-planning is done directly in the chart with clear information on the ship’s resulting performance and progress.
Weather forecasts are automatically updated, and the route is re-optimised when added information is available. Thus, the ship arrives at the next port just-in-time at the lowest cost with a minor intervention from the crew. The system enables onboard ship performance analysis and strategic planning. Ship to shore links enable remote support from Qtagg.
EcoPilot connects the entire propulsion chain, so that normally independent systems work together to optimise the ship’s performance.
The system reads data from sensors monitoring more than 60 parameters in real time, including engine performance, propeller performance, rudder lift and drag forces, ship motion and navigational information. Data from previous voyages together with weather and sea forecasts are used to minimise the total fuel consumption for each voyage. EcoPilot is an intelligent speed pilot, that will automatically give the best result in any weather condition.
Benefits for shipping companies
“Reductions in fuel consumption and emissions are an important benefit for all shipping companies and EcoPilot has helped us achieve this,” said Indrek Lepp, master of the Isabelle.
“After a period of familiarisation, EcoPilot is now in full use by Isabelle’s deck and engine officers. The system is quite new, and some initial challenges were solved with support from the Qtagg specialists. Once the deck officers fully understood the benefits and limitations of the system and operated the vessel based on that knowledge, we achieved the best fuel savings.”
Tarvi-Carlos Tuulik, CEO of Ship Management at Tallink Grupp, said: “Tallink is continuously evaluating innovative technologies to improve our operations. We invest in collaboration with research institutions and encourage all crew of Tallink ships to introduce innovations that bring energy, fuel, and water savings.”
“We saw EcoPilot as a tool to learn more about the ship’s efficiency and realised the system was worth testing. The 7 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions on Isabelle is a great achievement. But the crew’s involvement is crucial, and this result is also thanks to our open-minded users, professional navigators, and engineers onboard. EcoPilot also contributes to the ship’s just in time arrival, which ensures smooth traffic arrangements in crowded ports during peak hours.
“We see that EcoPilot is a tool that can improve ships’ energy efficiency and we will consider implementing it on other vessels.”
The 2,500 passenger capacity, twin CP propeller ferry Isabelle was built in 1989 and acquired by Tallink seven years go. The vessel is usually deployed on a daily cruise service between Stockholm, Sweden and Riga, Latvia.