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Wednesday, September 9, 2020 

Danish ro-ro and ro-pax operator DFDS is looking to artificial intelligence and methanol fuels to meet its aim of becoming climate neutral by 2050.

Under the short-term plan to reduce emissions by about 45% by 2030, DFDS will improve the efficiency of existing vessels through minor technical upgrades, low-resistance coating on vessel hulls and decision support systems onboard and in the office, while modifications of bulbs and propellers are also in the plan.

Artificial intelligence will help provide better information on operating in a more fuel-efficient way, monitoring vessel operations to highlight high fuel consumption, both on routes and on individual vessels.

Head of Projects and Implementation, DFDS Technical Organisation, Jacob Pedersen said: "This new smart AI system located on the vessels’ bridge will give the crews qualified directions on what is the right speed and also real-time advice on which route will help the fuel on board last longer. After a crossing, there will be a report on what the crew has done well in terms of consuming fuel, and also where they can improve.“

Small amounts of methanol will be introduced in the four stroke engines that power the majority of the fleet. Methanol and onsite-produced hydrogen will be injected into combustion chambers, replacing up to 10-15% of the HFO. DFDS expects its technology, currently under development with promising initial tests, to be approved by engine manufacturers during 2020. This will pave the way for sustainable fuels like green methanol.

Hull coatings and shaping of the propeller curves are being investigated to further improve fuel efficiency.

“We are constantly scanning the market to pinpoint new ways of optimising what we have,” said Thomas Mørk, VP DFDS Technical Organisation. “We continuously assess where we should set in based on where we can harvest the greatest effect. The bottom line is that not only are we saving the environment from thousands of tons of CO2 every year, we are also able to work with fuel consumption in a smarter way. In time, this will help us run our vessels cheaper and greener and that just makes good business sense.”

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