Recent established shipping regulations are gradually banning the burning of classic heavy oil (HFO) due to its high content of sulfur and heavy metals, which lead to large amounts of air pollution. This has led shipping companies to use low-sulfur fuels, known as MGO/MDO, and are therefore making significant changes to its combustion.
The ship's fuel supply and injection system is not designed to use MGO/MDO fuel due to the fact that low-sulfur fuels have low viscosity and do not provide adequate lubrication properties, leading to premature engine wear.
However, the required viscosity value (> 2.0 cSt) can be achieved by supplying MGO fuel at a temperature of approximately 18 οC. Given the relatively high temperature values in a conventional ship's MGO oil storage tanks, the reduction in temperature can only be achieved by applying a cooling cycle to the MGO oil supply line. When switching from HFO fuel to MGO, ie from a fuel preheated to 150 οC to a fuel that wants to be cooled to 18 οC, there are several parameters that must be checked on the ship. The most important parameters are the HFO & MGO supply control, but also the cooling rate of the machine.
The main goals of the research project are:
• The study, design and construction of a refrigeration unit, which will cool the MGO to the appropriate temperature.
• The construction of an original system that includes the cooling unit and a series of automated control valves (change over valves), which will undertake in collaboration with the unit the smooth transition of fuel from HFO to MGO, without interrupting the operation of the machine ship's.
The expected results will contribute to the technology sector of heat and oil exchange alternatives, offering new products more efficient, lower cost and energy footprint. The proposed alternate product, for the first time at research and industrial level, will incorporate functionality and automation that will include utilization of operating conditions of the ship's engine, the ship's geographical location with GPS elements that will automate the transition from HFO fuel to MGO with approach to ECA (Emission Control Areas). This functionality and approach is an innovation at the international level as to date there are no corresponding systems that have such an approach.