The Era of The Electronic Engine Is Here

Having already put down a marker for the industry by converting the main engine of one of its ships to full electronic control, Norwegian chemtanker specialist Odfjell has further endorsed the technology by nominating a twostroke electronic engine from the outset for a newbuild project.

Experience gained with the installation in the 37,500-dwt Bow Cecil, run in wholesale electronic mode for about a year, has convinced Odfjell of the attributes and potential of such a system. It has therefore selected a purposedesigned, electronic version of the MCC low-speed diesel from the MAN B&W stable for a 37,500-dwt parcel tanker contracted with Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven Floro.

The fully integrated electronic control systems incorporated in the seven-cylinder S50ME-C plant of 10,415-kW (14,300-bhp) obviates the need for the traditional camshaft to actuate fuel injection and exhaust valve mechanisms.

Unlike a standard engine, fuel injection characteristics can be optimized at many different load conditions, and maximum pressure can be kept constant over a wider load range, yielding benefits in improved consumption and emissions performance across the full operating profile. Ship maneuverability also gains from the lower rotational speed possibilities.

The raft of advantages is especially pertinent to the trading profile of a par- eel tanker, with its typical multi-port call pattern and relatively high proportion of operating time in harbor waters and running at less than maximum continuous power loads.

The facility to switch to low emission modes, to meet tough local controls governing atmospheric pollution, not least as regards oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and smoke limits, is regarded by Odfjell as one of the strong points of the arrangements.

The 1998-built Bow Cecil had its MAN B&W 6L60MC engine converted from standard, camshaft-based operation to electronic control of key functions in November 2000. After an initial period of alternating between electronic and camshaft drive, the vessel has been operating principally in electronic mode since last March.

The 7S50ME-C prime mover selected for the newbuild chemtanker at Floro, due to enter service in the fall of 2003, will be manufactured at MAN B&W's Alpha Diesel factory in Frederikshavn, Denmark, thanks to recent years' investments in two-stroke production and test facilities at the works.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 24,  Mar 2002 electronic control systems

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