Corsica ferry to be fitted with Qtagg’s propulsion control system

2024-06-14T22:13:21+00:00 June 14th, 2024|Technology|

Green technology company, Qtagg recently secured an order to digitalise the ropax ‘Danielle Casanova’s’ propulsion control system.

This will reduce the ship’s fuel consumption by an estimated 6-8%.

The order included power routing with an EcoPilot system and retrofiting governors, actuators and the pitch control system.

‘Danielle Casanova’ is the largest of Corsica Linea’s nine cruise/ferries that serve routes between France, Corsica, Algeria and Tunisia. The vessel was at Marseille for maintenance and technical upgrades when retrofitted.

Corsica Linea decided to install EcoPilot, which is  a fully automated eco-driving system that uses weather forecasts and ship data to calculate the best power plan for a route and a set arrival time. It also implements continuous adjustments to maintain an even engine load and propeller pitch optimisation for maximal fuel savings.

This type of automated eco-drive does not require the Master to manually change either speed or pitch.

Instead, the active power routing provides the full control over the arrival time and mitigates the human tendency to set a higher speed than necessary at the start of a voyage.

EcoPilot controls the ship’s propulsion system by giving instructions to the engine governor and to the pitch control.

‘Danielle Casanova’ will also be equipped with new DEGO IV engine governors, new ASAC actuators and a new pitch control system.

The EcoPilot power routing system comes with a 3% fuel consumption reduction guarantee, but the expected savings for ‘Daneille Casanova’ will be in the range of 6-8%, based on a somewhat conservative calculation based on installations on similar vessels.

The actual fuel reduction will be determined by a four to five week test period after commissioning.

During this period, the fuel consumption will be compared to a baseline from a reference period when the ship operated without an EcoPilot.

Statistical analysis comparison will be utilised to compensate for any influence from varying environmental, load and speed conditions.

“EcoPilot achieves fuel savings through three main methods: firstly, it automatically executes optimised power plans, keeping the load on the engine constant. Secondly, it prevents instances of ‘hurry up and wait’ and thirdly by adapting quickly to changing conditions, ensuring vessels arrive just in time, thus avoiding unnecessary fuel consumption,” according to Per Österberg, Qtagg CCO.

“The impact of these methods on fuel savings varies depending on the length and frequency of voyages.

“For long ocean crossings, such as those undertaken by large tankers, optimised power plan execution has a significant impact. However, for shorter voyages, like the trip between Dover and Calais lasting 90 minutes, we’ve observed savings of up to 20%, equating to over €500,000 per year for our customers.

“There’s a notable market interest in integrating EcoPilot into large retrofit projects for propulsion control systems. Additionally, there’s a growing trend in installing EcoPilot directly onto the bridge without the need for retrofitting, achieving a remarkable return on investment in just three to four months.

“Control over arrival times with predictable fuel savings is getting more and more important in the industry,” Österberg advised.

EcoPilot provides the Master 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 forecast.

In the voyage planning process, the Master will know how much fuel will be consumed to bring the ship to its destination.

“For us, this is not only about saving on fuel expenses. Installing EcoPilot will also help us achieve a reduction on CO2 emissions,” added Julien Colin, Superintendent at Corsica Linea SAS Division Technique.

“As a company we have an ambitious plan to reduce our total CO2 emissions by 40% until 2030 and continue to move towards sustainable maritime transport in the Mediterranean. It will be interesting to see how much a system, such as EcoPilot, can contribute towards our goals,” he said.