Energy management is the future of the cruise industry

Royal Caribbean teams up with Eniram to cut fuel costs by millions of dollars and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by tens of thousands of tons

Energy management is the future of the cruise industry

Cruise shipping is one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism, in 2015 attracting approximately 23 million passengers around the world. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is one of the leading cruise companies in the world, constantly designing and building new futuristic ships and partnering with the world’s leading shipyards, engineers, architects and innovative minds. There is a strong focus on guest experience, safety, energy efficiency and minimising the impact on the environment.

“We are building new technologies from scratch. Regarding energy efficiency we are cutting edge. Energy efficiency also means minimising the environmental impact as a direct consequence of reduced fuel consumption,” explains Harri Kulovaara, executive vice president of maritime at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Every generation of cruise vessels from the 1990s forward is still in use in the Royal Caribbean fleet. It goes without saying that the development regarding energy efficiency has been accelerating and the older vessels are not nearly as optimal as the latest ones. However, it is quite possible, at a reasonable cost, to achieve considerable savings by upgrading them closer to the latest generations.

Eniram, a leading provider of energy management technology and analytic services to the shipping industry, picked a significant challenge in 2005 when it decided to start optimising the energy consumption onboard cruise vessels. Today, the company optimises the operations in more than 130 large cruise vessels, which accounts for two thirds of the world’s seagoing fleet.

The process begins with collecting a massive amount of data onboard the vessel during normal operation, using over a trillion measurement points. The data is used to build a model – a mathematical relationship between the different performance elements onboard. Eniram also models the relationship between the ship and the sea with all the affecting factors.

Thanks to advanced statistical methods, Eniram brings real-time guidance to onboard engineers and deck officers on how to best trim the vessel, what speed to operate, how much load the engines should have and which route to take. The guidance is presented in an uncomplicated way on screens with ‘traffic lights’, a principle developed by Eniram. A green light means that the system is performing in an optimal way, a yellow light gives a heads up about a negative trend in performance and a red light indicates the prompt need for action to restore optimal operations.

An example of a current product is Eniram Performance, a system tracking the total energy efficiency of the vessel. It includes a service power model, where the user is able to look at the different components of service power, such as the hotel, HVAC and machinery. Another product installed on cruise ships is Eniram Speed, a system that calculates the ship service power needed for arrival on time with maximum fuel efficiency.

Since 2009, Eniram has been collaborating with Royal Caribbean in order to further improve the performance of the fleet. The first trials resulted in fuel savings of 0.6% on the test vessel. Royal Caribbean was delighted with the result as the vessel was one of the best performing in the fleet and no further savings were thought to be possible. Today energy management and energy optimisation has decreased the fuel consumption by an average of 4% fleetwide in Royal Caribbean. This means an annual saving of approximately US$16 million in fuel costs and an annual reduction of 35,000 tons of carbon dioxide – equivalent to the emissions of 7,000 cars!

Eniram also provides accumulated data and information from the systems to naval architects and marine engineers at Royal Caribbean, enabling them to design and build better and more optimal ships in the future. The collaboration between Eniram and Royal Caribbean has resulted in several improvements and when comparing energy efficiency of the Quantum class with previous versions, the Quantum class is now more efficient.

When Royal Caribbean was designing the Quantum class, Eniram provided the tools for holistic optimisation of ship energy management. Trim and speed management were a part of an industry-first, ship-wide energy management system (EMS). The latest version of Eniram Performance for Cruise vessels is currently operational on two vessels, as well as Quantum of the Seas. Now through the enhanced KPI feature, officers, engineers and onshore personnel can continually monitor, communicate and discuss the overall performance of a vessel to ensure optimal fuel and energy use.

”Eniram is a great example of the type of companies with whom Royal Caribbean is partnering strongly,” says Kulovaara. “Eniram use technology and data mining to improve operational efficiency of our vessels, and we are most pleased with the results so far.”

Still, there is much more to be won. Looking forward, Eniram and Royal Caribbean are confident that based upon the actual collected data and their joint experience so far, an additional 10% savings can be achieved for both newbuilds and existing vessels.

”The emphasis will be on real-time management of the whole fleet of vessels, enabling a predictive capability for the crew to take measures,” says Henrik Dahl, CEO of Eniram. “For example, if a vessel for any reason should deviate from the planned and forecasted performance, Eniram and Royal Caribbean, as well as the officers onboard, will get instant notification. Royal Caribbean’s shoreside specialists and Eniram's support team are able to identify the deviation online and assist the crew to solve the problem and get back on track.”

Dahl adds: “What we are doing is not about controlling the captains. It is rather about Eniram and Royal Caribbean together supporting the crew to make savings. It will be what Houston is for space crafts, indeed a command centre, but there for the officers onboard the vessels to provide support.”

Both Eniram and Royal Caribbean are convinced that the 10% goal in further savings is quite realistic. A crucial issue is to navigate the vessel in the most efficient way, regarding, for example, the routes and the service speed. This also covers the operation of other onboard systems, such as power generation, propulsion, fuel, energy consumption in the hotel area, and supporting infrastructure of the ship. No stone must be left unturned to run the operations in the most efficient way.

”The potential is also perhaps more substantial and harder than the onboard optimisation,” says Dahl. “Going from optimising 40 vessels to a fleet involving more than 50,000 people needs a completely different approach, especially as there are only 75 Eniramers. This is why the approach needs to be a joint partnership.”

The future approach to energy management is to expand it to cover all areas of operations and utilise experience when designing new ships. The development is going towards more and more automated ships with smart sensors and intelligent algorithms monitoring every element of operations and design ensuring that the vessel is operated at its optimal performance in every situation.

On the shoreside, the trend is transparency. Every vessel will have a dynamic efficiency rating of its own, which could even be made public to drive a change and provide full transparency. This will enable Eniram to make sure that not only the Royal Caribbean fleet is state-of-the art, but that all cruise vessels and other types of ships are operated as efficiently as possible.

With 44 ships, 1,002,000 guests and employing 60,000 people, Royal Caribbean is the world’s second largest cruise company, operating six brands. As one of the primary innovation leaders in the industry, Royal Caribbean has brought to the market the largest cruise vessels in the world, namely the Oasis class and the Quantum class.

Eniram is the leading provider of energy management technology and analytic services to the shipping industry. Eniram is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland and has subsidiaries in the UK, US, Germany and Singapore, and employs 75 people.

A video of a conversation between with Harri Kulovaara and Hans Dahl at the recent Slush technology 2015 conference in Helsinki, Finland, in which they discuss the partnership between Royal Caribbean and Eniram, can be found here.

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By Guest
18 December 2015

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