Total propulsion control makeover of Silja Europa

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Marine green tech company Qtagg recently secured an order on a total upgrade of Silja Europa’s propulsion control system, that will decrease the ship’s fuel consumption by 6% and CO2 emissions by 2096 tons yearly. The overhaul includes engine speed governors, fuel rack actuators, pitch control and voyage optimization with EcoPilot.

Silja Europa is Tallink’s largest cruise vessel with a gross tonnage of 59,912. Up until the summer of 2022 it operated on the Baltic Sea, between Helsinki (Finland) – Tallinn (Estonia). Since September 2022, it has been chartered out to the Netherlands and used to house migrants and refugees.

The technical review made in preparation to bring Silja Europa into regular traffic again resulted in the decision to replace the complete existing propulsion control system with up-to-date technology, and to add EcoPilot for fuel-saving voyage optimization.

Qtagg will supply the EcoPilot voyage optimization system, with interfaces both at the bridge and in the control room, four DEGO IV engine governors, four ASAC actuators with control units, two pitch control units and the ancillary equipment needed for a complete and integrated installation.

The governors will be installed in the engine control room, replacing existing Woodward control units. The governors are connected to an application server and a system that visualizes fuel consumption and provides detailed logging. The actuator control units will be mounted in the engine room, while the pitch control units are installed in the existing pitch control cabinet where it replaces the current analog rack.

EcoPilot provides the captain with exact control over the arrival time, while saving fuel in a predictable manner. The expected fuel consumption for a voyage is automatically calculated beforehand, based on the desired arrival time, selected route and current weather reports.

In the voyage planning process, the navigation will know how much fuel will be consumed to bring the ship to its destination. They can choose to adjust the arrival time or to depart earlier in order to optimize fuel savings.

The fuel savings are estimated to be about 6%, in line with savings recorded on Tallink Isabelle, where EcoPilot is already installed. The fuel savings are achieved through optimized propulsion, based on the collection and processing of large amounts of data, including real-time weather forecasts, sea state and ship data. Once the captain has selected a route it is executed through the propulsion control system, and the optimal propeller speed and pitch position is applied over the complete course of the voyage.

The expected annual CO2 reduction for Silja Europa is 2096 tons, which will contribute to a lower ETS cost in the future and a better CII rating for the ship.

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