Blue Ocean Solutions’ emulsified fuel system offers fuel savings and NOx reduction. Here, the company explains how the system has succeeded where so many others have failed.

Smart investments in fuel-saving technologies have helped shipowners overcome difficult times and, for some, even gain profit. With ease of implementation, high pay-off and reliable and safe operation, Blue Ocean Solutions’ (BOS) emulsified fuel system (EFS) offers a compelling solution for shipowners looking to reduce costs and improve their bottom lines.

Tested by an engine manufacturer and with results also verified by a classification society, BOS EFS ensures fuel savings of 2-5%, and even more with part loads. In addition to the benefits of fuel savings, it offers the bonus of NOx reduction.

With consistent results and reliable performance, not to mention numerous references from container ships, cruise ships, bulk carriers, ro-ro ferries and tug vessels, BOS EFS is gaining trust among shipowners.

Emulsified fuel for fuel savings

Emulsified fuel has been around for a long time, yet research has mainly focused on NOx reduction, which is more straightforward and easy to achieve: water cools the combustion, thus reducing the emission.

The focus of BOS EFS, on the other hand, is fuel savings. The system works by producing stable water-in-fuel emulsion to improve injector-fuel atomisation and combustion efficiency.

It is known that smaller fuel droplets will achieve a better fuel-air mixture, as more fuel-air surface will be available for combustion. Therefore, the key to achieving better fuel combustion is the creation of a secondary atomisation effect by adding water into the fuel. This creates even finer fuel mist after injection, as the water particles in each fuel droplet boil explosively and break the fuel droplets up even smaller.

Why BOS EFS works (while other systems have failed)

There are several types of emulsifiers in the market: homogeniser, cavitation and ultrasonic. The main problem with these is fast wear and tear in the engine-room environment. There is a need for frequent maintenance and performance deteriorates very fast.

The key innovation of BOS EFS is its patented emulsifier, which is more reliable and advanced than older devices, as it has no moving, cavitating or vibrating parts. Performance is more consistent.

Importantly, the emulsifier is designed to produce the optimal emulsions on demand for the best fuel savings. Through extensive research, the optimal has been established as 10% water content and water-in-fuel particle sizes of 2-8 microns. To achieve fuel savings, it is crucial to have the right emulsion characteristics. Also, the BOS emulsifier re-emulsifies the recirculated water and fuel to the same, optimal emulsified-fuel levels.

The problem with older devices is that they produce water-in-fuel particle sizes that are either too small (owing to repeated re-emulsification) or too big (as a result of fast wear and tear). This is the key reason BOS EFS works while other systems do not, when decades of comprehensive R&D and proven laboratory tests have been applied to actual shipboard implementations.

Results from the reference installations

BOS EFS is suitable for all engines using HFO, MDO and MGO. There is no use of chemical additives.

Wärtsilä tested the system for the project Hercules, using a medium-speed engine, two-stage Miller cycle and MGO. The results clearly demonstrated fuel savings. The figure above shows results for a cruise liner with a MAN engine burning HFO. Again, significant fuel savings can be clearly seen, since all the specific fuel oil consumption (SFOC) curves when using emulsified fuel are below the green baseline (0% water) curve.

The estimated power consumption of EFS is 30kW.

The importance of reliable performance verification

It is important to have a method that shipowners can trust to verify the claimed fuel savings reliably and accurately.

The existing methods of ISO 3046 and ISO 15550 are sufficient to meet the requirements of shipowners for determining the performance of a ship’s engine against that guaranteed by manufacturers. However, the problem is that the permissible error of ±3% inherent in the current methodology often exceeds the percentage of savings claimed.

The current practice of measuring the change in performance is to derive it from two measured curves, the baseline curve and the curve with the fuel-saving device. The problems associated with this are repeatability, as the ambient, weather and sea conditions may not be the same when the two performance curves are measured; and increased error, as improvements are derived from two performance curves.

There is a better, and more reliable and accurate methodology adopted by Blue Ocean Solutions for verifying the performance of its emulsified fuel system. Instead of deriving the percentage change in performance from two curves, this is measured directly. In other words, the objective of the methodology is to determine the percentage change in engine performance at different powers, rather than the SFOC rates.

An advantage of the EFS is that it can be easily switched on and off. A single measurement of the change in performance at a particular power can then easily be directly measured by comparing the specific fuel consumption corrected to ISO 3045 reference with the EFS off and then with the EFS on. With a statistical sample size of at least 25 measurements for each power (for example at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% MCR), the standard deviations provide a reliable and accurate direct measurement of errors, which can be of the order of 1% or less.

Importantly, the ISO 3046 corrections to compensate for ambient, weather and sea conditions will cancel each other out because they are the same, as each measurement can be taken quickly. (Generally, the wind speed should be less than 15kt and the sea state below 4 Beaufort.) The errors are minimised if not eliminated; they remain repeatable, even if each measurement is taken at different times.

Blue Ocean Solutions has followed this reliable method when verifying the performance of its emulsified fuel system on each reference ship. A classification society has also verified the results that have consistently showed fuel savings of 2-5%.

Blue Ocean Solutions: a market leader

Blue Ocean Solutions was established in late 2010 with a mission to help shipowners improve their fuel efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. The company’s core expertise is in emulsified fuel technology, with a focus on fuel savings.

The founder of the company, Dr Jerry Ng Kok Loon, was the key member of the team behind the pioneering work in emulsified fuel that was done in the 1980s at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (now Newcastle University), UK. Dr Jerry continued his research into emulsified fuel at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore with the support of the National Science Council and Neptune Orient Lines, and developed the EFS that leads the market today.

Blue Ocean Solutions is headquartered in Singapore and also has offices in Finland. As a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, Blue Ocean Solutions is networked to 20 yards and offices globally. The largest offshore and marine company in the world, Keppel Offshore & Marine is the leader in offshore rig design, construction and repair, ship repair and conversion, and specialised shipbuilding.

Company profile

Blue Ocean Solutions Pte Ltd helps ship owners to reduce fuel costs and environmental impact by achieving more efficient fuel combustion and reducing NOx emission.

Our core product is an innovative and cost effective Emulsified Fuel System (EFS) for marine diesel engines that guarantees at least 3% fuel savings. Our patented dynamic mixing emulsifier replaces the older generations of mechanical homogenizer, cavitation and ultra sonic types of emulsifiers. There is no similar emulsifier in the world.

The key features of our EFS are:

  • no mechanical moving parts
  • no additives; only water
  • emulsions are produced on demand at the required consumption rates without the need for storage
  • optimal and correct emulsions are produced reliably for best fuel saving performance
  • can handle HFO, IFO, MDO and MGO
  • full automation and easy to use
  • easy installation with near zero ship down time

Blue Ocean Solutions was founded in 2010 in response to escalating oil prices. Our R&D in emulsified fuel started in 1980s at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, and it has been recognized as pioneering work (Reference: Patricia Standell & Henry Schab, A REVIEW OF WATER EMULSIFIED FUEL INVESTIGATIONS FOR SHIPBOARD APPLICA TIONS, Naval Engineers Journal, 1986). We are the first to install EFS for marine applications.

Blue Ocean Solutions is a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine which is one of the world’s largest offshore and marine groups with global network of 20 yards and offices. Our clients are assured of responsive and quality technical support.