Optimal design and operation of ship machinery have a significant impact on the total cost of ownership and emissions over life-cycle. Deltamarin, VTT and ABB developed together a tool for modelling the ship energy flows as a part of the EFFIMA programme. The purpose of the multi-domain simulation tool is to represent all relevant ship processes at a system level. The energy distribution between various processes and their influence in the total energy efficiency and, eventually, fuel consumption can be studied. The first ship energy flow simulators have been developed and partially validated with a cruise ship-case and a container ship-case. Both of these cases are utilizing data from reference ship automation system. In addition to these, Deltamarin wanted to approach the model building from ship designer’s perspective.


As a result of the project, a next generation energy balance tool was created, where Deltamarin combined the best practices of both, traditional and new, ways of energy balance modelling. Deltamarin’s own design, bulk carrier B.Delta37 was chosen as the case ship for creating the tool, and the machinery was modelled in the simulation environment. One of the most important parts of the project was that the user interface was developed for both the input-data and for the simulation results as such that it is simple to use and available for Deltamarin’s designers.

Top view of the model - From input-file to the results via the modelling platform


The challenge in ship design is to be able to make the right design choices during the short concept phase, for maximizing the energy efficiency of a ship in its actual operation. Furthermore, as the operating route and requirements for transporting cargo, as well as the changing weather conditions are affecting on the actual operation profile of the ship, it is clear that the ship should not be optimized for one single operation point. Instead, the varying conditions should already be considered in the design phase of the ship. Traditionally, static energy balance calculations have been performed using Excel-based static tools for simulating the operation conditions of the ship.However, once the interactions between the various energy balance components become complicated, the static tools are not necessarily filling the definition of a practical and fast design tool.


Based on the EFFIMA programme results so far, the approach of utilizing multi-domain simulation together with a pre-processed input file enables Deltamarin to take the energy efficient ship design to a new level; The new solutions can include dimensioning of certain key components at an early phase of design, designing and testing process control and even forming a preliminary Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for the vessel. For instance, based on the simulation results, only control of the speed of the main sea water cooling pump of a bulk carrier can save over 2,5% of the ship continuous fuel consumption. There is even further saving potential in the ship auxiliary cooling systems and many other parts of ship machinery, and the developed modelling method enables the optimization of these systems.

The key benefit with this approach is, that the model user can take advantage of both the benefits of simple and light Excel-type calculations, and also of modelling the more complex entities with a suitable tool for this purposes. In other words, minimum amount of work is required for producing and processing the necessary input data for the model with the standardised form, while all development efforts can be concentrated on the simulation model definition. The developed tool helps Deltamarin to design the most efficient bulk carriers in the markets also in the future, as well as to design any other ship type with supreme efficiency in their actual operational environment.


Mia Elg, Deltamarin


Deltamarin, VTT, ABB


Author missing

Mia Elg