Fuel quality and engine quality - it is the sum that counts
Ingmar N A Ahlqvist*
This paper provides information on how the marine fuels may be in the future. The viewpoints presented are the result of research made on the topic of energy conversion within the author's company during the latter half of the nineties.
The conclusion is that in the not too distant future we will see a multitude of fuels on board, each of which has its own advantages.
This consequently requires the corresponding changes to the machinery that will become multifuel capable. Simultaneously we will get combined cycle and hybrid machinery being able to conform itself to varying economical and environmental demands.
Key Words: Energy, Fuels, Diesel Engines, Standardisation, Combined Cycle, Hydrogen, Emissions
On writing this we are again in a situation when crude oil prices are rising. In spite of the fact that there certainly will be fluctuations up and down we are, however, once more reminded of the vulnerability of the shipping industry when it comes to fuel costs. Therefore the possibility to run on different fuels is of paramount importance.
2. ENERGY CONVERSION
During the last years of the previous millennium the author' s company made a lot of research on what may be the energy conversion future. One very interesting trend when it comes to energy conversion can be seen from Figure 1. It appears as if more and more energy is consumed as electricity. This tendency is quite natural when it comes to industrial and residential consumption. Surprisingly enough, however, this tendency is clearly visible within the marine industry as well. Diesel-Electric propulsion from being a rarity for ice-breakers is today the natural choice for cruise vessels and multi-purpose vessels the only exception so far being tankers.
Accepting the fact that the propeller will in the future be turned by an electric motor opens up the market for a whole "world" of new devices aiming not at producing torque but electricity. Figure 2 tries to give the total picture of those devices becoming involved in ships' propulsion.
This means that from the fuel point of view the total picture becomes quite large. It is also important to understand which are the real "combatants" i.e. what is really competing with what. The total picture as a result of the investigations made by the author's company is seen in Figure 2.
As can be seen from this Figure there will be competition in the future between such widely different fuels as heavy fuel (ISO 8217) and radiation from the sun (or what normally is called sunshine!).
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