Energy efficiency in ship design and operation

Energy efficiency in ship design and operation

Reducing operating costs is one of the main concerns of the shipping industry today. Designers have a wide range of methods available to describe, analyse and improve energy efficiency on ships. To help ship owners and operators boost the energy efficiency of their vessels, since day one Deltamarin has strongly focused on Energy and Environmental Efficiency (EEE). An example of our services is our new smart simulation tool, which can help find several items of significant fuel saving potential (3-10% of total fuel costs).

Check out the videos of the Deltamarin energy team presenting their methods and development work.

We have gathered extensive know-how in energy efficiency from our continuous R&D work with hundreds of studies made, participation in various international development programmes, continuous ship and system development for ship owners, design and engineering work for shipyards, feedback from operation, and dozens of safety, reliability and efficiency audits conducted for various ship owners.

EEE puzzle

Energy management and energy savings

EEE thinking is a process that has multiple steps within the newbuilding project starting from definition of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and ending with commissioning of the on-board performance management system and the training of crew. We start a ship newbuilding project by defining its operating profile to establish the main operating phases and the vessel’s energy consumption in different modes (steaming, manoeuvring, in port, etc.). The power plant and its efficiency are analysed and improvement areas identified.

The technical team defines the case-by-case targets for the ship operation and determines a method to follow up the energy efficiency. This starts by defining the KPI values that express the efficiency we want to measure. One of the most common ones is consumed fuel over transported cargo times, distance or transport work. The KPIs can be used to compare alternative designs as well as for project follow-up. Consistency is one of the keys to a successful EEE (Energy and Environmental Efficiency) process.

The first stages of the design process have the greatest impact on energy efficiency since all big decisions, such as machinery and main dimension definition, are made then. However, in vessel efficiency the operation of the vessel plays the largest role. It should guide the design process from the very start, so defining the operating profile of the vessel at the beginning of a newbuilding process is crucial.

Deltamarin provides the following services for energy management and savings:

  • EEE analysis and simulations, including the new heat utilisation efficiency (HUE) analysis
  • Machinery concept analyses
  • Alternative machinery and fuel studies
  • EEDI calculations
  • Operating profile analyses and performance optimisation

New methods to improve energy efficiency of ships

The EEE ship design process includes several dimensions, such as practical design tools for modelling the energy consumption, a consistent follow-up method of the performance indicators and a bunch of useful project practices that enable taking the design ideas and results and implementing them in real life. Energy flow modelling is at the heart of the EEE work, and Deltamarin has recently developed a new-generation design tool for this purpose.

The tool itself is a highly flexible, dynamic simulation platform at system level that can accept data in almost any format and at various levels of precision. Such flexibility is required, since the energy models are configured for various purposes. Examples of these are simple machinery or system studies for concept projects or feasibility evaluations of a new product or process for retrofit studies. It is also possible to establish follow-up of the KPIs of a ship from the feasibility stage to a detailed level of design within the same model, continuing with operational follow-up.

Dashboard of energy flow simulator - Deltamarin

Screen shot of the “dashboard” of the energy flow simulator.

The latest development efforts at Deltamarin with the simulation models are strongly focused on developing the waste heat recovery system. The improvement potential in ship fuel consumption with the waste heat recovery technologies available today could reach 4-6% for any ship type, even passenger vessels with state-of-the-art machinery. Nevertheless, the total fuel saving potential with efficient waste heat recovery solutions can also be close to 10% in some cases, based on our experience. It is always a question of taking a holistic view to ship processes and understanding the useful energy potential in the various waste heat flows. This was the reason for us to develop a new analysis method called Heat Utilisation Efficiency (HUE) analysis, to visualise this potential for both our customers and our entire design team.

Read more about the new methods to improve energy efficiency of ships.

Training in energy efficiency

A cost-effective and fast way of affecting the operating costs is to educate the crew responsible for the actual efficiency of the vessel. Training will strengthen the crew’s competence by refreshing the rules-of-thumb behind energy efficiency and discussing up-to-date knowledge of ship systems and equipment as well as best industry practices.

The Energy Efficiency Courses are based on Deltamarin’s knowledge of saving energy, which covers a wide range of disciplines and technologies. Our goal has been to gain a profound understanding of operators’ real needs by listening to them carefully. The topics dealt with in Deltamarin courses are all covered in the recently published IMO model course 4.05, ‘Energy-Efficient Operation of Ships’.

Our courses provide participants not only with necessary theoretical background on the topics, but also with tools for concrete fuel savings that they can implement in their work on board the ship. In addition to the specific topics, the participants gain general awareness of energy efficiency in production and consumption.

So far, we have arranged dozens of courses for various ship owners with diverse fleets. The feedback from participants has been outstanding.

Read more about the energy efficiency training.

Energy efficiency audits

A comprehensive ship assessment helps in recognising improvement potential on board by evaluating the entire ship or fleet, including ship systems and operational issues. The Energy Efficiency Audit performed by Deltamarin gives a superb understanding of energy (electrical, heat and water) flows inside a vessel, and provides ship owners and operators with ideas and concrete proposals for how to save energy.

The audits help the operator to reduce fuel consumption and costs and to protect the environment. Based on the evaluations the ship owner will get a roadmap for improvements with estimated investment costs and payback periods. As an example, an audit on a passenger ship resulted in more than 40% fuel saving potential, of which almost one-third consisted of only operating improvements related mainly to the itineraries.

When combining an audit with our energy efficiency training, the crew will get a thorough understanding of the ship’s or fleet’s energy efficiency. This hands-on approach to ship- or fleet-specific issues gives a head start to realising possible improvements and optimising the whole system in order for them to be able to operate truly efficiently.

Deltamarin has so far conducted energy efficiency audits and evaluated systems and operating issues on about 30 vessels for more than 10 ship owners. In all cases, considerable fuel saving potential has been recognised with only a small investment required.

Read more about the energy efficiency audits on board ships.

Contact us for further discussions; we are ready to support you!

For more information, please contact

Mia Elg Deltamarin
Mia Elg
R&D & Consulting Services
Mobile +358 50 3788 333
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