July 28, 2008
"We installed this new computerized, electronic power and speed control system aboard the Aurora last winter during the ship's federal capital improvement project overhaul in Washington," said AMHS General Manager, Capt. John Falvey. "The system is integrated into the ship's navigation instruments and main engines. It's designed to control the vessel's power and speed settings and eventually add to fuel consumption savings."
According to Falvey, the system is very similar to those that regulate and monitor the flight of large, commercial jetliners.
While the system is currently being used aboard Aurora, AMHS engineers are in the process of tracking potential fuel savings. Mathematically, Aurora could save an estimated 12 percent annually, equating to about $378,000 based on a $4 dollar gallon of diesel fuel.
"The system costs about $250,000 in federal funds to install, but we see a fantastic opportunity to save about $5 million in coming years that we're operating these systems aboard nine of our ships," Falvey explained.
Ship operators set the departure points, arrival point and time-to-destination, which allows the system to most efficiently control the engines while accounting for factors that could alter the ships movement and time and distance ratio.
Engineers will install the systems in the motor vessels Matanuska and Tustumena this coming winter in conjunction with federal, capital improvement projects and federal funding.
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