Sustainability in the maritime domain: An ECO-button for ships!
Objective of the ECO-button
The objective of the project is to provide a tool that can be used by the crew on board, that predicts fuel consumption for a voyage based on a list of input parameters, and that takes environmental condition, loading variations, different modes of operation etc. into account. The tool can be used to evaluate different control strategies. Main ‘knobs’ in hand by the crew are speed and propulsion mode for given environmental conditions, fuel consumption and/or time.
The usability of the performance prediction tool depends on its accuracy. Low fidelity tools may create unwanted frustration by the crew in using the tool. Effort is therefore put on presenting the crew with reliable, usable information. Validation and ‘tuning’ are hereby key. The tool will be evaluated and improved by comparing predictions with real performance data. In this way an accurate ‘digital twin’ is created of the vessel.
Combining social and technical innovation
The start of the ECO-button project is a direct result of the Oceans1 Hackathon. The hackathon teams showed the potential of a technical tool that helps crews reduce their ecological footprint. The ECO-button project combines the approaches of multiple hackathon teams. It combines machine learning with first principle modelling in a digital twin of the ship.
Oceans1 puts extra effort on identifying the crew’s requirements and wishes for the tool using a TU Delft student project. This helps to develop a great user experience where the ECO-button enables crews to race their optimal self in a Mario-cart setting, while still complying their daily goals.
Embedded in Oceans1
The origin of this experiment lies in the Oceans1 Challenge: a challenge for crews of seagoing vessels. The crew that does the most to reduce their ecological footprint wins. In the challenge, the crews are technically supported by a digital platform on the internet and on the social level they use tools such as GPAL (video learning) and Sensemaker (story analysis) to share their experiences. Nine ships, including 6 units from the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN), are now participating in the challenge. The strength of Oceans1 Challenge lies in the approach in which people in an open environment share knowledge and experience with each other to increase impact. The innovation department MIND (military innovation by doing) of the Defence Materiel Organisation, its marine engineering department are happy to join this initiative by participating in the ECO-button project.
The newly launched innovation initiative for the ECO-button will further support crews to reduce their ecological footprint.