The Blue Green Blog

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Many maritime companies are developing new technologies that offer shipowners the opportunity to outshine their competitors by way of reducing overall carbon footprints. Those that achieve the greatest increase in sustainable operations set the new gold standard. Simple steps towards this can be undertaken quite easily, providing a return on investment soon after.

The industry has seen massive advances in approaches to fuel emission reduction, but there are many smaller concepts often overlooked that make a huge difference towards sustainable targets.

Operations directors and fleet managers alike are recognising that using a six sigma business process helps to reduce carbon footprints.

  1. Detect
  2. Monitor & Manage
  3. Analyse & Act
  4. Improve
  5. Control.

This is cemented by the fact that many new digital softwares are springing up and partnering with well-established maritime companies to provide intelligent platforms that have the ability to monitor sustainable operations. But the sensors to gather that data must be installed in the first instance.

Oil condition monitoring is certainly one such way to reduce a ship’s environmental impact and reduce waste lubrication oil. Such oil is reportedly one of the most energy intensive processes in the refining process.

Reducing the consumption of such oils, until an affordable environmentally friendly alternative is found, undoubtedly curtails a company’s carbon footprint.

Detection – In order to reduce the consumption of lubrication oils a problem within the oil needs detecting almost immediately and a quick assessment of what is out of control. Whether that is unnoticed contamination destroying the lubricant or over consumption from leakages. Once the issue is detected and defined an approach can be identified. This requires real time monitoring software.

Monitor & Manage – If a system oil of a four stroke marine diesel has fuel oil contamination, soot, water, wear metals such as iron, copper, tin, lead it can lead to the oil being condemned. This leads to disposal issues, pollution risks and greater consumption than if the contamination was prevented and the system oil stayed in use.

Analyse & Act – Using sophisticated sensors that monitor oils every 10 seconds, the condition of lubricant oil can be better managed. Instantaneous alerts on dangerous contamination can be picked up as it occurs, rather than waiting the prescribed three monthly sample analysis.

Improve – If oil is in good condition there are opportunities to further extend drain intervals by up to four times by renovating fluids to ‘as new’ condition with an ultra fine filtration system, reducing consumption even more.

Control – Improvements can also be made in plants by leak detection around rubber seals and gaskets. A proprietary additive can be applied to hydraulic fluids that rejuvenate seals, stopping leakage. This breaks the cycle of use and consume. Leaks end up somewhere, and on a ship this can be in the ocean with no monitoring capacity that tracks harmful wash off. Stopping a leak drives down consumption and also stops our seas from being poisoned.

These types of technologies are available currently and can be applied to a wide variety of engine fluids, offering a shipowner the chance to begin lowering waste as well as provide the stats for initiatives such as the Sustainable Shipping Initiative. It will also provide a platform for continued sustainable growth and development of systems.