Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No. 803: Using big data to improve fuel economy of domestic vessels (November 13, 2013)

Idemitsu Kosan and Ube-Mitsubishi Cement are scheduled to introduce a system that analyzes big data for better fuel efficiency to their domestic vessels next autumn. They will conduct a demonstration experiment using a system developed by National Maritime Research Institute. A total of 40 vessels including oil tankers and cement carriers will participate in the demonstration experiment. The base on land gets information on wind, wave, and ocean current in real time and transmits information on the optimal route to the terminals installed in the vessels. The system also instructs them to slow down to economize fuel. It is customary for a domestic vessel to navigate at full speed in the shortest possible route and lay at anchor off the port should it reach earlier than scheduled. Following the route instructed by the system is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 10%. 

 Analyzing big data will help a domestic vessel 
reduce fuel consumption

The demonstration experiment will also test a system developed by National Maritime Research Institute to prevent empty load. The system makes it possible to draw a plan on the vessel to use, cargoes to load, and port of landing with information on port of shipment, kinds and amounts of cargoes, and delivery time. Idemitsu, for example, has four refineries in Japan and ships various kinds of oil products to 18 bases nationwide. That is, there are numerous numbers of combinations in drawing a transportation plan. The system is expected to decrease the number of empty cargoes and reduce fuel consumption by 6%. Mitsubishi Heavy and NEC agreed to develop an energy-saving system jointly. Using NEC’s big data analysis technology, the system will estimate fuel consumption with a high degree of accuracy. It utilizes such information as past records of fuel consumption, weather, and time, and controls the number of engines to operate. Mitsubishi Heavy is scheduled to market the system by the end of 2014.

C heavy oil is now about 73,000 yen per kiloliter, three times higher than 10 years ago. Fuel cost accounts for 30-40% of the operation cost of a domestic vessel. Domestic vessels are estimated to have consumed 2.4 million kiloliters for 200 billion yen in 2012. Reducing fuel consumption by 15% will save 30 billion yen.    

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