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ICES CM 2007/M:07

Design concept for low energy fishing vessel

Nils Harald Bjørshol

SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, Trondheim, Norway


During the last decade the cost of fuel has increased about 3 times. Hence more
efficient use of the fuel is needed to maintain economy in the fishing fleet. Better fuel
efficiency will also reduce the pollution of the environment and the global warming.
Increased focus on global warming and pollution of the atmosphere has triggered the
research on cleaner and more efficient diesel engine technology. However, the design
of fishing vessels is suffering from focus on investment cost, which results in cheap
and less efficient solutions. One positive effect of the increase in fuel cost is that
investments in energy recovery and energy efficiency measures will have a shorter
payback period. A potential saving area arises from the fact that a modern diesel
engine only converts about 40 % of the thermal energy in the fuel into mechanical
energy; the rest is normally dissipated to the sea and to the atmosphere. This paper
describes how heat from fishing vessel diesel engines can produce useful space
heating, tap water heating as well as electric energy. The technology used for
producing electric energy from exhaust and cooling water heat is by ORC, organic
Rankine cycle. The working medium in the cycle is an organic refrigerant that is
evaporated at moderate temperature and expanded through a turbine driving an
electric generator. The paper shows how much energy that can be recovered by using
these methods and how to design the heat recovery and conversion system into an
integrated part of the engine exhaust and cooling system. Finally the paper states what
economic and environmental effects can be expected.

Energy efficient design concepts

Trawlers are towing in a large portion of their operating time and will show a better
fuel economy during trawling if two large ducted propellers are installed instead of
one, Figure 1. This requires a new design approach to make space for large propellers
and to immerse them sufficiently. There are a number of challenges to achieve an
optimal design. Research done in SINTEF (Berg, 2007) shows that a 18 - 20 % fuel
reduction can be obtained by using two instead of one ducted propeller when towing a
trawl, Figure 2.
Figure 1 Optimal propeller configuration is important

Propulsion efficiency



20 %
1 ducted propeller
Power kW



1900 2 ducted propellers

18 %

300 320 340 360 380 400
Thrust kN

Figure 2 Propulsion efficiency comparison trawling condition

Machinery and fuel

Electric driven propellers

The use of electric motors for driving the propellers gives freedom of arranging the
propulsion engines and to combine propulsion and auxiliary power production (Figure
3 and 4). Winches driven by electric motors are more efficient than hydraulic driven
winches and winches suitable for trawling application are available. They are
controlled by variable frequency converters. During shooting of the trawl electric
energy will be regenerated.
Figure 3 Example configuration two electric driven pods 3 generator sets
Freedom of placement of engines
Another advantage of diesel electric propulsion is that the diesel engines can be
placed more freely to allow a more efficient use of the available volume of the vessel.
The number of generator sets in operation is determined by the demand. Therefore the
sets can operate near their optimum efficiency. Because it will be easier to find space
for LNG tanks, this design approach lends itself more favorable to the use of LNG as
fuel instead of marine diesel fuel which in turn leads to a 90 % reduction in NOx
emission and less emission of CO2, CH and particulates.

Figure 4 Two electric driven CP propellers

Dual fuel concept
To extend the range and the duration between refueling, fishing vessels that have
operating profiles with long and varying power requirements and high intermittent
power may be designed for dual fuel operation. In combination with electric driven
propellers and winches, this gives more freedom of arranging fuel tanks, fish holds
and machinery in a way that favor economic and good ship design.

New low emission diesel engines

Research on Diesel Engines is taking place by engine manufactures all over the world
to meet the stringent emission requirement issued by American, Japanese and
European authorities. This will bring the emission of harmful gases and particles
down from vehicles on land. Similar stringent requirements have not yet been issued
by IMO but national authorities have issued taxation on the emission of NOx for
certain categories of ships among them are Norwegian fishing boats having
propulsion engines with power above 750 kW.
Diesel engine heat utilization
The diesel engines produce large amounts of heat. Only 40 % of the energy supplied
by the fuel is converted into mechanical energy that is used for driving the
propeller(s) and electric generators. The rest, about 60 %, is transferred as heat to the
atmosphere and to the sea. Only little can be done to reduce the heat emission from
diesel engines since this is limited by the laws of thermodynamics. Cleaner engines
can be developed but only marginal increases in thermal efficiencies are possible
which means that there will be vast amounts of heat energy available. Ideally this
energy should be used for heating purposes such as processes that require large
amounts of heat. In any case all the heat requirements must be covered before using
any heat for making electric energy since this will involve losses. Some could be used
for heating the space on board and for heating tap water. When it is used for heating
purposes there is little or no loss i.e. the efficiency is near 100% (Figure 5). More
often than not this is not done. The reason is that the investment at the time of design
and building of the vessel is less. With the rising prices of fuel and the increased focus
on harmful emission to the atmosphere, we now realize that this is wrong.

ORC boiler Main Engine R-R Bergen

4465 MJ/h B32:40 L9P 4500 kW
1241 kW
HT heat recovery

Tap water HT cooling system

87 °C

0-(41)-81 m3/h

74 °C

LT heat recovery
LT cooling system
2465 MJ/h 49,5 °C
685 kW
Space 65-68 m3/h
Max 37 °C
ORC feed

65-68 m3/h

Sea Water cooler

Figure 5 integrated main engine cooling water system

Conversion of waste heat into electric energy by ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle)
This is done by using part of the waste heat to evaporate an organic medium at
moderate temperature and expand the vapor in an expander such as a turbine that
drives an electric generator as shown in Figure 7 where vapor produced by heat from
the exhaust and cooling water expand in two turbines. This technology has been used
for many years on shore and has proved successful in many cases. In Iceland and
other countries the technology has been used for producing electricity from terrestrial
hot water. Both mixtures of ammonia and water as well as various hydrocarbon gases
have been used as a driving medium.

By carefully choosing the medium it is possible to use standard components from

mass produced refrigerators in ORC units (Brasz,2005). This can be done by
letting the axial input radial output electric driven compressors run as radial inlet
turbines driving electric motors as generators. By doing this it is possible to mass
produce the units and thereby reduce the cost accordingly.

ORC Pentafluoropropane (R245fa)

120 Turbine
15 bar 481
110 354
Temperature °C

100 Exhaust evaporator

80 463 473
295 6 bar 456 467
Cooling water evaporator
267 Turbine
30 233 Condenser 1,5 bar 424
1,2 bar 419
20 225

1 1,1 1,2 1,3 1,4 1,5 1,6 1,7 1,8 1,9 2
Entropy (J/g*K)

Figure 6 T-S diagrams for exhaust and cooling water ORC cycles (3)
Table 1 Combined trawler purser load profile and recovery potential
Load ME Time Fuel Exhaust Main Cooling Exhaust C/ w
power ORC engine water ORC ORC
% kW days kg kW MWh/yr kW MWh/yr MWh/yr
93 4200 8,8 177408 303 887 113 64 24
82 3700 27,5 488400 277 2442 97 183 64
56 2500 4,96 59520 208 298 62 25 7
53 2400 81,72 941414 202 4707 59 396 115
38 1700 3,3 26928 157 135 39 12 3
33 1500 6,96 50112 143 251 34 24 6
29 1300 5,37 33509 129 168 29 17 4
11 500 0,55 1320 64 7 9 1 0
9 400 2,4 4608 55 23 7 3 0
8 350 31,24 52483 50 262 6 37 5
7 300 6,2 8928 44 45 5 7 1
SUM 179 1844630 9223 768 229
Turbine Generator Turbine Generator
ORC boiler Main Engine R-R Bergen
4465 MJ/h B32:40 L9P 4500 kW
Exhaust 1241 kW
gas to HT heat recovery
evaporator Evaporator system
310 – 340 °C Recuperators are not
fluid Tap water
ORC boiler heater HT cooling water

87 °C
135 °C
0-(41)-81 m3/h
74 °C
Cooling water

Air & LT cooling water

space 2465 MJ/h system
heating 685 kW 49,5 °C

ORC feed 65-68 m3/h

Max 37 °C

LT heat recovery
Sea Water
Sea Water 65-68 m3/h cooler

Figure 7 Integrated heat recovery and conversion system

Heat recovery potential by the combined cooling water and exhaust ORC system is
dependent on the lowest allowable exhaust temperature leaving the evaporator. If this
is 180 ° C the total recovery potential is in the order of 9 % of the fuel consumption
per year. If the allowable minimum temperature is 135 ° C the figure increases to 10.8
% (Table 1).

Fuel cells
Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy. Heat engines
convert chemical energy by combustion at high temperature into mechanical energy.
The fuel cells may have considerable higher efficiencies than diesel engines in
producing electrical energy (Hassanzadeh et. al., 2005 and Sung et. al., 2007). Fuel
cells have their maximum efficiency when operated at ambient temperature whereas
heat engine efficiency increase with increasing operating temperature.
Fuel cells represent the next generation technology that will produce electric energy
with a high efficiency and with ultra low emission to the environment of harmful
gases like NO and NO2. SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) will work on diesel oil and
natural gas.

Two instead of one propeller may increase the efficiency by 20 % for trawlers.

Diesel combined electric propulsion / electric power gives more freedom and
flexibility in the design of new fishing vessels and a simpler total common power
system. Energy can be saved by by running 1,2 or 3 generator sets as needed at near
optimum conditions.
Dual fuel, gas oil and LNG, capability enable operating the ship at optimum
environment friendly conditions and at the same time increase the manoeuvrability
and the range. The emission of NOx is negligible while running on LNG.

ORC, Organic Rankine Cycle and the use of waste heat have the capability of
reducing fuel consumption and cost by 13 %.

A combined trawler / purse-seiner vessel used 2.222 million litre fuel and would
recover electric energy equivalent to 240000 litre in that year by ORC and tap water
and space heating equivalent to 52000 litre, a total of 292 000 litre or 250 tons. This is
13 % of the total consumption.

The total consumption of the 221 largest fishing vessels in the Norwegian fishing fleet
was 296000 tons in the year 2005. 147 of these are trawlers or combined trawlers.

The fuel Cell is the future power generation devise capable of producing electric
power for propulsion and auxiliary use on board fishing vessels. The challenge is to
develop their design and to produce the fuel cells cheaply and durable enough and to
prove it to the users.
Reference List

1 Berg A. Trekkraftberegninger “Fremtidens Tråler” MT53 F07-096/

530397.00.01, SINTEF Report 2007

2 Jost J. Brasz, Bruce P. Biedeman, Gwen Holdmann Power production

from a Moderate – Temperature Geothermal Resource, GRC Annual
Meeting 2005

3 Bjørshol N. H. Fastlegge ytelseskriterier for et spesifikt ORC system.

SFH80 A06370 SINTEF Report 2006

4 H Hassanzadeh† and S H Mansouri, Efficiency of ideal fuel cell and

Carnot cycle from a fundamental perspective, Power and Energy 2005

5 Sung Tack Roa and Jeong L. Sohn, Some issues on performance

analysis of fuel cells in thermodynamic point of view, Journal of Power
Sources, 2007