The Art of Re-powering: State-of-the-Art Cat and MaK Marine Engines Help Improve Economy and Ecology of Vessel Operations
For worldwide release, December 6, 2007
Release Number: M14PR07
Hamburg, Germany – As the availability of shipyard capacity decreases with increasing global demand for new ships, many ship owners are considering re-powering as a fleet life extension option. Re-powering is the replacement of main propulsion or auxiliary engines, but can also include ancillary support equipment. Re-powering also enables middle-aged vessels to benefit from the latest developments in marine engine design, because technological progress is so fast that several engine generations can occur within the normal life-span of a single ship. These benefits mean both increased engine efficiency and its ability to cope with increasingly-strict emissions regulations.
According to P. Jaime Tetrault, Manager Americas Marine with Caterpillar Marine Power Systems (CMPS), Miramar, Florida, in the USA, “the re-powering of marine vessels is a large area of opportunity for CMPS. However, re-powering is also a real engineering event, requiring the efforts of naval architects, marine engineers, Caterpillar® dealers and, quite often, CMPS application and installation experts. For example, extensive consultation is necessary if an aged two-stroke setup is to be replaced by a state-of-the-art MaK medium-speed engine, or if a mechanically controlled high-speed engine is to be replaced with one of Caterpillar’s most-modern electronically controlled C-series marine engines”. Last week’s International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the USA, has been the perfect venue to discuss recent success stories and potential future CMPS re-powering projects.
Consult the experts
A vessel owner faced with re-powering needs to consider many different issues. The most important include:
- Knowing current vessel performance, fuel and oil consumption, load factor and duty cycle. When selecting a replacement product, a more efficient engine should be targeted to improve ownership cost.
- Comparing existing versus new engine, establish a performance baseline in an economic model for the re-power. Vessel speed may increase or decrease after re-powering and this will have a major impact on operations. Employment of a naval architect is suggested.
- Understanding existing emissions regulations and ensuring that the new engine meets these requirements. Use Team Caterpillar’s expertise in coping with diverse international regulations.
- Will the new engine dimensions fit in the existing engine room design?
- Will the foundations of the hull support the new engine?
- Will the propulsion system support the new power rating?
- Is the ventilation system suitable for the air flow requirements?
- Is the cooling system suitable for coolant flows and heat rejection?
- Is the exhaust system suitable for the exhaust flow, sound attenuation and temperatures?
- Will the fuel system provide enough clean fuel to the new engine?
- Is the starting system suitable for the new engine?
- Are there additional opportunities to boost efficiency with add-ons, such as exhaust gas heat recovery or shaft alternators?
Both CMPS and Caterpillar dealerships have a great deal of experience in managing complex re-powering projects, especially in North America. Just three recent projects highlight a wide range of application.
Ro-pax ferry “M/V Chi-Cheemaun”
The Canadian ferry “M/V Chi-Cheemaun” was re-powered with 4x Cat® C280-6 marine engines, which actually were the first C280-6 production engines to go into operation. The 365-foot (111 metre) ro-pax vessel was refurbished in two phases during its 2005/6 and 2006/7 winter service layover. Chi-Cheemaun can carry up to 143 cars and 638 passengers on the seasonal 24-miles Tobermory to South Baymouth route on Lake Huron at up to 16.5 knots. She was built in 1974 and has now been fitted with new propulsion and auxiliary machinery systems, replacing the initial Ruston/Dorman diesels, to prepare her for a further 25 years of operation, at considerably lower operating costs and with lower emissions. In addition to C280 main propulsion, this project also involved the installation of 3x Cat 3508B generating sets and a Cat C9 emergency genset.
Chi-Cheemaun operates in an area of outstanding natural beauty and one of the primary re-power considerations was to significantly reduce machinery exhaust emissions. Vessel owner Owen Sound Transportation Company was initially guided by current IMO I regulation, but then adopted EPA Tier 1 limits in advance of their general enforcement by the government of Canada. The environmental mandate was supplemented by one to reduce fuel and lubricating oil consumption. A new machinery arrangement, more closely matching the operating profile of the vessel, was identified during project planning.
Another key factor in the selection of electronically controlled Cat propulsion and auxiliary engines was enhanced asset-management capability, i.e. the ability of Caterpillar’s ADEM series engine control to retrieve operating and diagnostic data both historically and in real time. The resulting engine maintenance management program will be driven by fuel consumption, fluids analysis and non-invasive inspection and measurement rather than by pure operating hours. The reduction in lubricant and wet-filter usage, along with their subsequent disposal fees, will show significant cost savings and a much smaller environmental footprint without compromising engine life and service reliability.
The final sea trials with Chi-Cheemaun in March 2007 showed very positive results with respect to vessel performance, engine acceleration and the reduction of both steady state and transient smoke. According to responsible Canadian Caterpillar dealer Toromont Power Systems, Owen Sound Transportation Company is extremely pleased with the results of this re-powering project. Return on investment as well as the achievements in environment-friendly vessel operation exceeded expectations. The vessel’s engineering crew is also delighted with the new technology being installed, as it offers them an opportunity to operate state-of-the-art equipment. Summing up, the owner is very confident that Chi-Cheemaun operations are now and will remain highly competitive for the remainder of her life. Re-powering has proven to be a cost-saving solution to boost the performance of this custom-designed vessel.
Bulk carrier “Algoville”
Caterpillar dealer Toromont also managed another comprehensive re-powering project of a different kind. The Great Lakes bulk carrier “Algoville” experienced a catastrophic failure of its aged two-stroke MAN main engine in May 2006. The 1967-built, 730 foot (223 metre) long, 78 foot (23.8 metre) wide vessel is the biggest gearless bulker in the fleet of Seaway Marine Transport of Canada, which comprises about 40 vessels. After considering several options, including scrapping or converting the vessel into a barge, the owner voted for the most economic solution: re-powering with a modern MaK 8 M 43 C medium-speed marine engine. Following comprehensive modernisation starting in June 2006, the new Algoville commenced operations in October 2007.
Together with new twin Cat 3508 generating sets, a shaft-driven alternator and an exhaust gas economiser, the new MaK prime mover has increased Algoville’s power plant overall efficiency by about 20 percent. Re-powering has also resulted in major environmental benefits. The 8 M 43 C engine meets international IMO emissions regulations and is prepared to cope with stricter IMO II limits when introduced. Also pleasing from an environmental point of view is new equipment which removes lube oil contamination from the bilge and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from boilers and generating sets.
From an operational standpoint, higher vessel speed for more round trips in a given time without fuel consumption penalties and reduced engine room crewing should also be mentioned. Furthermore, the MaK DICARE remote engine monitoring system simplifies the management of engine maintenance and spare parts inventory. As a direct result of this success story, Seaway Marine Transport, together with Toromont, has now planned two to four re-powering projects per year over the next five years to improve the life cycle costs of most of the vessels in their fleet.
Pusher tug “The Chief”
Tidewater Barge Lines based in Vancouver, Washington, USA, operates a fleet of 140 barges and 15 tugs on the “Columbia Snake River System”, which actually makes the company the biggest inland barge operation west of the Mississippi River. In September 2007 Tidewater finished re-powering its flagship “The Chief” with Cat 3516B marine engines. The 1968-built pusher tug with a length of 122 foot (38 metre), a beam of 40 foot (12.2 metre) and a draft of 7 foot (2.1 metre) used to be powered by a couple of 2150 hp (1581 kW) EMD engines.
In a move to protect the river’s ecosystem and reduce emissions from barge operation, Tidewater spent $2 million to replace The Chief’s old engines with cleaner-burning power from Caterpillar Marine. Twin Cat 3516B rated 2260 hp (1662 kW) at 1600 rpm have been installed along with Reintjes WAF 873 horizontal offset reduction gearboxes with internal shaft brakes. The engines are mounted resiliently to help reduce noise and vibration for the crew. Electronic controls have been added to control both engines and gears.
To achieve the same push speed as before, the more powerful Cat 3516B only needs to run at 1480 rpm, thus saving a dramatic amount of fuel. The Chief would normally burn about 4,400 gallons (20,000 litres) of fuel on a round trip. With the new engines installed, the same run uses up around 2,200 gallons (10,000 litres) – only half as much! The new power package not only saves fuel and reduces emissions to the environment, it has also improved the manoeuvrability and overall operation of the vessel. In addition, Cat 3516 B engines run much quieter and smoother than their predecessors, making The Chief’s crew happy.
Tidewater expects that the new engines will burn 132,000 fewer gallons (600,000 fewer litres) of fuel annually, cut its emissions of particulate matter and carbon monoxide by 85 percent and emit 1,600 tons less carbon dioxide and 280 tons less nitrogen oxide per year. According to Tidewater CEO Dennis McVicker “every four-barge tow carries the equivalent of 140 rail cars or 480 semi trucks, making the river system the safest and most environmentally sound mode of transportation.” Tidewater is working with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the US State of Oregon, and the Yakama National Indian Tribe to reduce the emissions in the Columbia River National Scenic area.
Together with Caterpillar dealer Halton Power Systems and Caterpillar Marine Power Systems, Tidewater plans to replace all of the old EMD and Fairbanks two-stroke engines with new and cleaner-burning Cat 3500C series engines. In a next step, Tidewater tug “Rebel” will be re-powered with twin Cat 3512C marine engines in early 2008.
Celebrate the success
In today’s environment of long lead times for newbuildings from shipyards world-wide, re-powering is a valuable alternative. Re-powering of aging vessels reduces engine emissions, improves fuel efficiency and eases daily operations. CMPS Americas Manager P. Jaime Tetrault is in no doubt that the number of re-powering projects using Cat and MaK marine power will increase: “Caterpillar Marine Power Systems and Caterpillar’s global dealerships have joined forces to offer tailor-made while cost-effective solutions, which address the growing demand for this kind of refurbishment. Recently completed projects in Canada and the US have by far exceeded vessel owners’ expectations. I am very positive that the specific results shown will continue to fuel similar re-powering business with both existing and new customers.”
About Caterpillar Marine Power Systems
Caterpillar Marine Power Systems, with headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, brings together all the sales and service activities for Cat and MaK branded marine products within Caterpillar Inc. This organization provides premier marine power solutions (high and medium speed with outputs from 11 kW to 16,000 kW) and customer service from a single source for the global ocean-going, commercial and pleasure craft markets. The Caterpillar Marine Power Systems sales and service network includes more than 2,100 dealer locations world-wide and is well positioned to support customers wherever they are.
For more than 80 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making progress possible and driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. With 2006 sales and revenues of $41.517 billion, Caterpillar is a technology leader and the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, clean diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines.
More information is available at www.cat.com.
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