By Mark Edward Nero
On Dec. 6, BC Ferries released the results of a pilot project that reduced the energy consumption of the passenger vessel Queen of Oak Bay by the equivalent of 30 sailings.
The process initially started in 2013 with an audit to assess electrical energy usage. In a follow up project through to 2015, BC Ferries partnered in the development and demonstration of an energy optimization software tool. This software was deployed to collect and manage electricity data for more than 20 areas on board the ship and provided generator metrics as well. The benefits of the initiative, BC Ferries says, were a reduction in fuel consumption, cost and associated carbon emissions, as well as improved asset life and reduced maintenance costs.
Since the initial energy audit, a number of initiatives have been implemented, including:
• Installation of variable delivery pumps to improve the efficiency of steering hydraulics, resulting in an estimated savings of 38,000 kWh per year;
• Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) to improve control of accommodation fans, estimated to save about 200,000 kWh annually;
• Replacement of car deck lighting with more efficient LEDs, likely to save over 115,000 kWh per year, and;
• Additional projects, including air conditioning plant upgrades and solar film coating for windows.
BC Ferries says consumption reductions from the above initiatives are being monitored in the new software and are on target for a reduction of more than 272 tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing about 57 passenger vehicles per year.
The company also said similar measures will be rolled out to other existing vessels where possible and that energy efficiency measures can be designed into new build vessels.
This project, which was supported by Transport Canada and is a joint initiative with 3GA Marine, Clearlead Consulting and Panevo Services, had an objective to develop and demonstrate a Ship Service Energy Optimization software tool that would provide an audit function to determine major ship service power consumers and enable an optimization function from both a technological and operational perspective, thereby reducing emissions.
“Thanks to the Transport Canada-sponsored initiative and deployment of the new energy software, not only can we actively measure energy usage, we can also put control variables in place across the system to ensure savings,” BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering Mark Wilson said.