Propulsion Dynamics: Getting to grips with fuel bills

Propulsion Dynamics: Getting to grips with fuel bills

Copenhagen: With fuel bills near the top of the headache list for shipowners these days one Danish firm is growing at around 25% a year as it provides solutions to this ever increasing problem.
Propulsion Dynamics was formed back in 2001 by three entrepreneurs envisioning that great savings could be made from monitoring and optimising ship’s hull and propeller performance.
“The performance of a ship’s hull and propeller generally deteriorates over time as a result of bio-fouling, corrosion, increased roughness, mechanical damage,” explains one of the founders, Christian Brobeck, “and in order to be able to deploy optimal maintenance strategies shipowners, operators and managers need to start by monitoring and quantifying performance characteristics.”
Today, Propulsion Dynamics serves more than 35 shipowners with vital KPIs for more than 450 ships through its CASPER Service by providing monthly performance reports as well as numerous web-based tools for performance comparison and fleet-wise analysis. On top of its CASPER Service, Propulsion Dynamics offers consultancy service to help customers define optimal maintenance strategies to reduce both fuel oil consumption and environmental impact.
“Staying focused in this narrow, but at the same time very technically challenging area, has allowed us to invest continuously in R&D,” says Brobeck. This year, these efforts resulted in beta-release of a new method to separate hull resistance from propeller resistance. Separating hull resistance from propeller resistance helps identifying and quantifying the root cause for vessels having performance problems, and thus offers the shipowner valuable insight as to the kind of maintenance to prescribe.
“Many shipowners are finding themselves in a very tough market with high fuel oil prices combined with low rates for their services, and on top of this facing regulatory issues and requirements,” says Brobeck. The company has testimonies from two of its biggest customers claiming possible fuel savings to be approximately 5% on their whole fleet and ROI to be far less than one year.
However, this is not the only reason for owners to use the CASPER Service. Some are looking into comparing various types and brands of coating systems, some are looking into optimizing dry docking intervals and/or intervals between hull cleanings and propeller polishes, some are looking into insights as to the effects of energy saving devices and retrofits, and others are using the CASPER Service to verify performance-based contracts such as charter party contracts.
“Regardless of the motivation,” says Brobeck, “we aim to help solve the issue by providing technical KPIs and set them into a context that makes sense for our customers.”  [11/12/13]

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