Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dutch Treat

April 2010 Issue - Pacific Maritime Magazine

The following article was written by a group of engineers at Kvichak Marine Industries.

The Netherlands has historically been one of busiest port countries in the world. Loodswezen (Pilotage) is the Dutch pilot organization responsible for coordinating large ship arrivals and departures in the Netherlands, and the organization operates a large fleet of pilot boats to transfer pilots to and from large vessels at sea before entering or after leaving port. As the large Port of Rotterdam expands through various land reclamation projects, more attention is being paid to its overall environmental impact. To address the environmental challenges, all fleets operating within the port, including Loodswezen, have agreed to do everything possible to reduce their environmental impact.

In a continual effort to renew their fleet, Loodswezen went in search of a new high-speed pilot boat class. Under their agreement with the port it would need to have the lowest exhaust emissions possible. The pilots awarded the contract to build three new boats to Seattle, Washington’s Kvichak Marine Industries, to a design by a UK naval architecture firm, Camarc Design, which had designed Loodswezen’s current high-speed pilot boats. Two Tier II-compliant Caterpillar ACERT C32 engines were chosen to power the boats, and diesel engine emissions reduction technology came from Hug Engineering in Switzerland, supplied and serviced through Soottech in the Netherlands.

Today’s state of the art for Diesel engine emission reduction combines Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). The SCR system injects a urea-based mixture downstream of the engine exhaust outlets into the dry exhaust piping. With the aid of a catalyst the urea combines with nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and reduces them into nitrogen gas (N2) and water (H20). The DPF collects the unburnt soot and with the addition of another catalyst takes the carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), and particulate soot and converts these into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20). Normal running exhaust temperatures are high enough to achieve an almost complete burn of these captured soot particles. However in case of long periods of idling, a separate afterburner has been installed to periodically increase exhaust temperatures.

Hug Engineering has been designing and building SCR & DPF systems for more than a decade. Beginning in greenhouses, Hug Engineering has since expanded into mobile systems for trains and larger ships. Kvichak’s experience building aluminum high-speed boats is well known in the workboat industry, and Camarc Design and Kvichak have built several successful high-speed aluminum pilot boats, with still more in production. The integration of a SCR & DPF system present many design challenges for a shipyard, and Kvichak worked closely with Camarc Design to modify their pilot boat to accommodate the additional components that make up an SCR & DPF system. This effort to put a mobile SCR & DPF system in a high-speed aluminum pilot boat is the first of its kind and has been a welcome challenge for all companies. For Loodswezen to maintain the same operational effectiveness a pilot boat was required that would match their existing pilot boat speed of 28 knots. The first new pilot boat, Aquila, has already shown the capability to exceed 28 knots during initial sea trials in January 2010.

To test the system prior to final construction, a full-scale mock-up was built near Kvichak’s production facilities. The exact components that would go into the first production boat were used for the test: the engine, SCR & DPF components, and exhaust piping. Even the detail of simulating seawater cooling was used to be sure the final product would operate as promised. Compared to the already low emissions of the base engine, particulate soot will be reduced more than 99%, NOx reduced 76%, CO reduced 73%, and hydrocarbons reduced 94%. These excellent results were also confirmed during the commissioning of the first production boat.

This boat, built by Kvichak Marine, will give Loodswezen a head start on future emissions requirements. Most importantly it will allow Loodswezen to renew their fleet while still greatly reducing overall fleet emissions. This kind of successful new boat program benefits all parties, protects the environment, and sets the standard for future marine projects.

The first Loodswezen pilot boat is receiving finishing touches and will be transported to the Netherlands by way of a larger cargo ship. It is set to go into service in the spring of 2010. The second and third boats of the class, already under construction, will soon follow in subsequent months.