Modern Fuels used in heavy diesel engines of merchant marine ships, require a complicated and continuous) treatment process prior to the consumption in the propulsion and auxiliary engines. Due to large price difference between light diesel oil and heavy fuel oil most of the merchant ships are using Heavy Fuel Oil in their large diesel engines, at least in propulsion engines. In order for the vessel to be able to use Heavy Fuel, there are high investment costs when purchasing the ship initially and secondly the maintenance and service costs are higher, but it's economically worth it. Today's standardised treatment systems are based on centrifugal separators. During the past years the refining process have got more and more efficient, and at the same time the quality of sold bunker fuel in ships have been deteriorating e.g. all kinds of chemical impurities, asphaltenes, waxes, sand and corrosion particles etc., have been involved in the fuel. Thus the function of centrifugal separators have become less and less efficient. Filtration units with mesh sizes down to 10 m have been included in the fuel treatments systems which have to be cleaned regularly in short time intervals depending on the fuel quality by backflushing with compressed air to prevent the filter from clogging. This has increased the amount of sludge and thus the costs for removing it in the harbour. But still a decrease of mean particle size in the cleaned fuel down to 5 m is needed in order to reduce the wear of the engine which has a typically oil film of around 8 m. The target of this project is to develop a technical solution for a new kind of fuel treatment system including ultrasound supported fine filtration of heavy fuels, homogenisation and emulsification with water by cavitation created by intensive ultrasound. The objectives of this project are the development of three technical innovations: 1 Finer filtration: 5 m mesh size of filter with operation time increased by the use of ultrasound will improve engine life time even by 80% and decrease maintenance costs 2 Homogenisation: More complete combustion process due to homogenisation of asphaltenes by the use of high intensity ultrasound caviation will reduce fuel bill, produce less sludge and recycling costs . 3 Water emulsification: Small quantity of fresh water (up to 10%) emulsified into the fuel will reduce thecombustion temperature and thus the NOx emissions in exhaust gas will be reduced even by 30%. Also high thermal corrosion caused by Va + Na (IMOresolution; reduction 30% till year 2000) will be reduced due to lower exhaust temperature. Environmental regulations for ship emissions. Two of the core SME proposers are manufacturers of state of the art fuel treatment systems. Two SME are transducer manufacturers who would like to develop and integrate ultrasound transducers in the new market segment of fuel filtration and homogenisation. Two endusers, a ship operator and its motor manufacturer will perform an on board testing of the new system on a ferry in the Baltic Sea. It is expected to have a working prototype system capable of treating a maximum fuel consumption of 1200 KG/h ready by the end of the project which has been demonstrated and tested on Board of a ship. Further applications of the filtration and homogenisation technology with large industrial impact are seen in the petrochemical industry, in fuel treatment for stationary power plants and the recycling of lubrication oils and painting residues. The economical advantages of the system would be lower investment, service, maintenance and sludge recycling costs, remarkably improved life time, environmental safety and space saving. The project belongs to Brite Euram III 3B.3. Technologies to Improve Vehicle Efficiency.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts