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Patent pending gearboxA patent pending gearbox for ships that decrease fuel consumption with 25% (appr 500 ton fuel and 1500 ton carbon dioxide per ship and year)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OXM (Patent pending gearboxA patent pending gearbox for ships that decrease fuel consumption with 25% (appr 500 ton fuel and 1500 ton carbon dioxide per ship and year))

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-08-31

OptixMarine AB is only a few steps away from introducing an outstanding innovation to the shipping industry, resulting in the reduction of carbon emissions from large ships using shaft generators by up to 25%. The overall objective of the project was to develop and improve the solution in order to have a plan for how to reach a higher TRL level and the remaining steps needed for market introduction.
Technical development:
We are very happy about the progress with technical development during this project and now have a detailed design ready as preparation for the demonstrations that are planned for SME Phase 2.

So far the solution has won three awards:
- “Innovation of the year” by Gothenburg’s Innovation Organisation (“Göteborgs Uppfinnarförening”),
- Second place in The Green Technology Ship Award held in Copenhagen
- Finalist (winner to be announced in November 2016) in SKAPA Awards for Innovator of The Year

Economical improvements:
During the project we have further verified the return of investment (ROI) together with customers. This was done through OptixMarine coaching them in tests done on board by crew, where the main engine is run on variable rpm as if OptixDrive would have been installed. This require that they produce electricity with auxiliary engines instead of using the shaft generator (that has to be disconnected). The result is measured lowered fuel consumption on the main engine and based on that the ROI can be calculated. So far all ROI calculations have ended up in less than two years, in some cases as short as one year, and this is a confirmed attractive investment for the shipping companies.

OptixMarine growth:
During this project we recruited a skilled and experienced Product Development Engineer that is now leading the development of OptixDrive.

During this project we took the decision to attend the largest industry fair SMM in Hamburg 6-9 September 2016, where we will have a booth together with other Swedish companies operating within the shipping industry. This is arranged by “Swedish Maritime Technical Forum” ( a lobby organisation supporting Swedish export within this sector. This will be a unique opportunity for us to communicate our solution to a substantial part of the foremost European but also global market.
The environmental impact of shipping includes greenhouse gas emissions as well as acoustic and oil pollution. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that carbon dioxide emissions from shipping represent 2.2% of the human-caused emissions globally in 2012 and expects them to rise by as much as 2 to 3 times by 2050 if no action is taken.

Large container ships run on heavy fuel oil, the fuel type containing the highest amount of sulphur (SOx), a chemical element that causes acidification of oceans, lakes, and rivers. One of these ships emits as much sulphur as 50 million cars anually.

People and animals are breathing in sulphur particles. They stick to the lung and cause various respiratory conditions. In Newark, a city close to New York (US), heavy ship traffic to the harbour has resulted in 25% of the population suffering from asthma.

Noise, vibration, fume and exhaust emissions constantly affect the everyday life of a crewmember on board a vessel in the merchant navy. No factory on land would be allowed to expose its employees to the same levels and amounts. There are two major sources of these exposures, the first one being the exhaust emissions from high sulphur fuels. The other major one is the noise and vibration from the main engine, needlessly running on a constantly high and fixed rpm.

The OptixMarine Team develops innovative solutions enabling up to 25% decrease in fuel consumption in ships using shaft generators. OptixDrive is a gearbox that enables the main engine to run on optimal, variable revolutions per minute (rpm), and OptixAcademy is an educational program aiming at raising technical knowledge among the crew, as well as inform environmental lobbyists and politicians about the environmental impact of the shipping industry in the current state of knowledge and equipment.

Unnecessarily high fixed rpm has a substantially negative impact on the efficiency of the electricity production on board. OptixDrive is a solution with no need for additional auxiliary engines. OptixAcademy is an educational program gathering 20 years of experience in applied ship optimization to be transferred to the crew and customer representatives, explaining how they can decrease fuel consumption. To maximize the excellence of the programme, it will involve other suppliers explaining the optimal use of other technologies on board.

On average, the combination of OptixDrive and OptixAcademy, reduces fuel consumption by at least 25%, decreases the level of vibration on board by at least 60%, reduces “blackouts” due to critical alarms on the main engine by up to 95%, and eliminates the need for ships approaching coastlines and harbours to start up auxiliary diesel generators for the electricity production on board. After the installation of an OptixDrive, the shaft generator will always maintain a stable rpm and therefore produce power at a steady frequency. A technological test run on the vessel “Astoria”, owned by Rederi AB Veritas Tankers, demonstrated that OptixDrive will save 700 tonnes of fuel per year. This means 2100 tonnes less of CO2 emissions every year from only one vessel, which is equivalent to the emissions from 1200 cars.

Note that this test was made on a Swedish ship, constrained by SECA (Sulphur Emission Control Area) regulations. If we would make the same comparison on ships outside the SECA, which use high sulphur fuels and heavy fuel oil (HFO), the sulphur savings would equal 4 200 000 cars.

As the wear and tear on mechanical components in the engine room is significantly reduced, wildlife is also less disturbed by interfering low frequency vibrations. The reduced fuel consumption brings economic benefits for the shipping and chartering industries, and the lower amount of CO2 emissions benefits the health of citizens in populated areas around harbours, canals etc.

Measurements made on board during testing shows a decibel reduction in the engine control room by as much as 60%. The overall sound level and vibrations on board is greatly reduced, not only sounds stemming from the main engine but rather from its positive effect on the entire powertrain.