Record commissioning for automated propulsion optimization system FuelOpt™

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Swedish propulsion optimization experts, Lean Marine has commissioned its ‘on top’ propulsion automation technology FuelOpt™ in record time, despite multiple challenges faced by technology providers for installations onboard vessels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite travel restrictions, quarantine obligations in entry and/or for going onboard of a vessel being in place worldwide, Lean Marine successfully completed the remote commissioning of the FuelOpt™ onboard Tipco Asphalt’s 157 000 DWT asphalt tanker Jacob in September 2020 in China.

Additionally, once the installation was completed, Tipco Asphalt announced the risk of delays on commissioning due to Jacob’s voyage plan, leaving only one week for Lean Marine to complete application work and commissioning.

Mikael Laurin, CEO at Lean Marine said: “Jacob’s commissioning was a record for Lean Marine. I am extremely proud of our team, they mobilized very fast, overcame several obstacles, and make got the FuelOpt system customized, installed and up and running only three weeks after it was sent from our warehouse.

During the pandemic we have reinvented our installation and commissioning process, created new tools for remote commissioning and leveled up the collaboration with our international partners. We have gained a lot of new experience during the last months and increased our operational flexibility.”

Louis-Frédéric Sachs, Director Marine Group at Tipco Asphalt added: “Jacob will be at sea or docking in countries with travel restrictions for several months. We only had one week left in China and we wanted to start using FuelOpt™ as soon as possible. Lean Marine was extremely reactive from the moment we requested an immediate commissioning. We are thankful for their great work on this project.”

FuelOpt™ technology is designed to make crew’s life easier and replace the need for constant monitoring and manual adjustments by automating the propulsion line. When using FuelOpt™ on the bridge, the crew gets full, automated control of vessel speed and fuel consumption. It enables them to avoid potential overconsumption of fuel in harsh conditions, such as high swells and winds.

To do this, the bridge crew activates FuelOpt™ with the push of a button from the intuitive panel on the bridge. From this panel they can set the command for engine power, fuel consumption and/or speed. Once the system is activated, it optimizes propulsion in real-time based on the command set. The system’s adaptive algorithms take varying conditions, e.g. weather, hull resistance and currents, engine load and shaft power, into account. In this way, FuelOpt™ ensures maximum power optimization, minimum fuel consumption and reduced emissions.

Reaching the highest achievable efficiency on vessels with a controllable pitch propeller is also possible since FuelOpt™ acts as a dynamic tuning system for the propulsion machinery to ensure that the engine and propeller operate at optimal conditions. The system achieves this by controlling the propeller’s pitch and RPM separately to producing the most amount of propeller thrust with the least amount of power. Its patented adaptive and real-time pitch/RPM optimization also takes temperature and cylinder top pressure into its calculations. Additionally, the system adds an extra layer of operational safety by avoiding risk of overload on the engine system and propulsion line.