Euronav trials find Toqua models can double weather routing fuel savings


Toqua and Euronav have been collaborating since 2020 on how sensor data could be leveraged to improve ship performance models (aka speed-fuel models). During two pilot projects over two years, both parties worked closely together, sharing insights and exploring the limits of what’s possible with sensor data.

After the two successful trial projects, Euronav decided to roll out Toqua’s ‘Ship Kernels’ next-generation ship performance models to the whole fleet. A recurring contract was signed in the summer of 2022 indicating the start of a fleetwide roll-out that will be completed in 2023.

As an industry-leading company, Euronav says it is looking for operational optimisations that reduce fuel consumption and emissions. These optimisations are a win-win, as they reduce emissions while also saving money, making them the first steps on everyone’s decarbonisation roadmap. Examples include optimal timing of hull cleanings, route planning, and speed optimisation.

All of the operational optimisations above depend on ship performance models. Especially for weather routing, where the route & speed between two destinations is optimized, ship performance models play a crucial role. The better a performance model can estimate the impact of wave height, wave angle, wind speed, wind angle, currents, etc. on the speed-fuel relationship for a specific ship, the better the routing algorithm on top of it can optimize to minimize fuel consumption over a voyage. Increasing the fuel savings of an existing routing solution by providing it with an improved ship performance model was the core idea behind the study performed by Euronav.

Validating the savings due to voyage optimisation is not an easy feat, says Euronav; validating how much of those savings can be attributed to an improved ship performance model at the heart of that optimisation is even harder.

To estimate the value of using more accurate performance models, Euronav compared the optimization results using simple ship performance models with the optimisation results using Toqua’s Ship Kernels. This methodology was applied to a VLCC over 16 voyages, spanning four trades, in both directions, for different seasons. This reflects a wide variety of realistic trading conditions for Euronav, ensuring the resulting savings potential is representative.

Over these 16 voyages, it was found Toqua’s Ship Kernels could more than double the savings potential, in comparison to using traditional ship performance models.. As Euronav’s Senior Fleet Performance Analyst, Seb van den Berg, puts it: “Our study concluded Toqua’s Ship Kernels were able to double the fuel savings potential of weather routing, underlining the importance of having good ship performance models.”

The results above are specifically for Euronav, so some caution is required before generalizing. To put it in the words of Euronav: “In this study, we implemented a controlled and conservative approach to only assess and present the fuel-saving potential. Actual savings may vary depending on the route, weather conditions, vessel performance, C/P limits, any other optimisation settings, and human behaviour.”

“Data-driven ship performance models utilizing high-frequency sensor data are an essential step toward the decarbonization of the shipping industry,” says Patrick Declerck, Operations Manager at Euronav.