Green Retrofitting of Existing Ships,
a small/medium scale focused research project (FP7 Collaborative project)
Welcome - REFRESH approach
REFRESH project (www.refreshproject.eu), co-funded by the industry and the 7th Framework Programme of EC, has kick-started its work in the first quarter of 2012 and will last for three years. REFRESH will elaborate on the existing merchant fleet, and will aim to treat energy efficiency as an integral part of the life-cycle a ship. This will be achieved with modelling and simulation of energy flows onboard for various operational conditions and for extended periods of time. REFRESH shares the same methodological approach with the project TARGETS (www.targets-project.eu), which covers in detail the hydrodynamic performance of a ship (both hull and appendages) as well as the systems performance onboard. Considering that a limited number of choices for hydrodynamic improvement of a ship can take place after its delivery, REFRESH focuses exclusively on the energy assessment of the onboard systems.
Stemming from the fact that any retrofitting investment under consideration will be scrutinised by technical feasibility and cost-benefit analysis, it is necessary to provide the operator with sufficient insight into the energy performance of a ship in order to make an informed decision. This can be implemented by
· Identification of underperforming systems and components, and
· Virtual replacement of them with alternatives and assessment of their effects on key performance indicators (KPI).
Moreover, the intended benefit following the upgrading of the ship systems needs to be verified in practice, for example with the savings in fuel consumption. This calls upon the development of a monitoring system that will collect data from various components onboard, compare it to the optimal or predicted consumption (for a given set of environmental and loading conditions) and advice the crew accordingly.
In particular, the project will build on the following four development areas:
· Energy audits and retrofitting specification: The process starts by assessing the current status of the ship by onboard energy audits. The output of this step is the recommendation of technical solutions that will improve the fuel consumption of the ship followed by shipyard specification for implementing these changes in a retrofitting project.
· Dynamic Energy Modelling (DEM): Although the energy audits introduce a very practical approach to the project, it is necessary to couple them with mathematical models of energy flows onboard. The reason is that energy audits provide only a facet of the performance of the ship lasting only a few days (i.e. as long as it takes to complete the audit), whereas a theoretical model can simulate several scenarios and combinations of operating conditions.
· Optimisation for energy efficiency: On the basis of theoretical modelling and past experience, the optimal KPI values for any combination of the environmental conditions and ship state (e.g. full load condition and nominal speed) can be identified.
· Life-cycle energy management system: The final step in the process is to establish an energy management system, which will be comprised by a database that will be continuously fed with data collected in real time from various machineries onboard, a data mining methodology, and a decision-support tool that will provide a comparison with optimal values of KPI and advice the crew accordingly.
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