A computerised system provides shipowners with real-time information on fuel efficiency, while another technology brings a traditionally paper-based maritime process into the digital era.
These are among the latest of almost 300 research and development innovations facilitated by the Maritime Innovation & Technology (MINT) fund to help developers of the maritime technologies create, validate and enhance their products and services.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore set up the MINT Fund with the aim of developing Singapore as a Centre of Excellence for maritime research and development and technology solutions. Through the fund, it hopes to encourage maritime companies to innovate for greater competitive advantage, to create collaborative opportunities for the industry to tap the capabilities for the industry to tap the capabilities of local universities and research institutes, as well as to provide the necessary infrastructure and facilities for the test-bedding of novel ideas and concepts.
The MINT Fund provides grants of up to 50 per cent of project costs and is available to companies incorporated in Singapore and engage in either research and development or test-bedding in Singapore of new or better products, processes and applications relevant to the maritime industry.
Ascenz Solutions is a home-grown maritime technology player specialising in ship data acquisition and analytics. With support data from the MINT Fund, Ascenz created the Shipulse Data Acquisition System (DAS) to collate data from shipboard sensors. The DAS is able to transmit the data back to shore in real time and customers can access relevant information on the Shipulse portal for better decision making.
This innovation measures a vessel's fuel efficiency by monitoring its propulsion and fuel consumption against various such as weather and engine load. The data is sent automatically via satellite into the cloud-based system and provides the shipowner with performance indicators like fuel consumption and vessel speed so that is is able to determine how efficiently the vessel is performing.
In the past, information was collected in a static manner and communicated to shore only periodically, says Gary Ong, Director (Corporate) at Ascenz.
But now, with more accurate data collected in a comprehensive manner, shipowners can take better optimisation measures such as condition-based maintenance to improve fuel efficiency.
Ascenz also plans to make such information available to the captain and chief engineer on board a vessel so that they too can make better decisions while at sea.
"In the past years, fuel could account for more than 50 per cent of expenses for companies in the shipping industry," says Ong. "By improving the efficiency in this area, the company will be able to increase its profitability."
Ascenz started testing Shipulse on a tanker in the second quarter of this year, and will extend the trial to two container ships in the latter half of the year.