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Ardmore Shipping: Leading the charge in energy efficiency technologies

The global push towards sustainability is reshaping industries worldwide, with the maritime sector under significant pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. Ardmore Shipping is leading the charge with its Energy Transition Plan (ETP), a comprehensive roadmap designed to enhance energy efficiency and foster innovation within its tanker fleet. Garry Noonan – Ardmore’s Director, Innovation – shares insights into the company’s multifaceted approach to sustainability.

Ardmore’s commitment to energy efficiency is brought to life through the strategic implementation of cutting-edge technologies across its fleet. In 2022 and 2023, Ardmore rolled out 16 initiatives from over 200 evaluated options, focusing on reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

A cornerstone of this effort is the deployment of Manta Marine’s FuelOpt™ technology, which automates propulsion control. This solution allows for precise management of vessel speed, fuel consumption, and engine power, particularly under adverse conditions, significantly cutting down on unnecessary fuel use.

Variable speed drives have also been adopted to optimize the energy usage of pumps and fans, adjusting their speed based on demand and saving approximately one ton of fuel per day on average. This approach reflects Ardmore’s proactive stance on immediate energy efficiency improvements while the industry explores long-term solutions.

Berthing innovative solutions

This commitment to sustainability extends beyond active voyages, to include periods when vessels are stationary. Energy management during these times is crucial, as ships typically rely on auxiliary power sources like generators to maintain essential systems.

To address this, Ardmore has optimized boiler operations for low-load conditions by upgrading control and burner systems. This has reduced boiler turndown ratios from 20% to 5% of normal load, minimizing energy loss during ignition cycles.

Moreover, the incorporation of Alfa Laval’s micro boiler solutions has harnessed waste heat from generators, supplementing the auxiliary boiler when vessels are at berth. This solution has yielded significant fuel savings – up to 1.5 tons daily – aligning with Ardmore’s objective to maximize efficiency even during idle periods.

Beating biofouling

Biofouling, the accumulation of marine organisms on hulls and propellers, can severely impact a ship’s fuel efficiency and performance. Ardmore is tackling this issue head-on by experimenting with ultrasonic transducers. These devices maintain propeller cleanliness and prevent microfouling, enhancing speed log accuracy and overall performance reliability.

Additionally, Ardmore is trialing Seacoat’s non-toxic, durable coatings. These smooth surfaces reduce marine life adherence, making cleaning easier and maintaining the integrity of the coating, which prevents fouling without harming marine ecosystems.

Incoming regulations and the importance of collaboration

The maritime industry’s regulatory landscape is increasingly focused on sustainability, posing challenges for shipowners and operators. Ardmore’s ETP is designed to help us navigate these complexities, balancing the dual goals of improving fleet efficiency and managing rising costs. Immediate investments in energy-efficient technologies can contribute to compliance and drive the industry’s decarbonization transition forward.

Ardmore’s sustainability journey is underpinned by collaboration and innovation. Our recent partnership with DeepSea Technologies illustrates this, introducing an AI-enabled voyage speed optimization tool to our fleet. This tool automates speed adjustments based on market dynamics, balancing the value of time and fuel and promoting smarter decision-making.

The integration of Value Maritime’s Filtree system is another highlight. Acting as a sulfur scrubber with a twist, it filters wash water to remove particulate matter and residues, ensuring environmentally responsible disposal ashore. Its carbon capture readiness future proofs Ardmore’s fleet, with this process becoming an increasingly prominent practice as shipping embraces the world of carbon credits.

Embracing available solutions

The future of shipping lies in the collective effort to embrace and develop energy-efficient solutions. Ardmore aims not only to make significant strides towards a low-carbon future, but also set an example for industry peers. The call to action is clear: by harnessing innovative technologies and fostering collaboration, the maritime sector can achieve its decarbonization goals and contribute to a sustainable global economy.
Source: By Garry Noonan, Director, Innovation, Ardmore Shipping, Article arranged on behalf of Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide (www.hellenicshippingnews.com).

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