Ship Power Estimation for Marine Vessels Based on System Identification
Large marine vessels carry their loads all over the world. It can be a container ship carrying over 10 000 containers filled with foods, textiles and electronics or a bulk freighter carrying 400 000 tons of coal. Vessels usually have a ballast system that pumps water into ballast tanks to stabilize the vessel. The ballast system can be used to change the vessel’s trim and list angles. Trim and list are the ship equivalents of pitch and roll. By changing the trim angle the water resistance can be reduced and thus also the fuel consumption. Since the vessel is consuming a couple of hundred tons of fuel per day, a small reduction in fuel consumption can save a considerable amount of money, and it is good for the environment.
In this thesis, the ship’s power consumption has been estimated using an artificial neural network, which is a mathematical model based on data. The name refers to certain structural similarities with the neural synapse system in animals. The idea with neural networks has been to create brain-like systems. For applications such as learning to interpret sensor data, artificial neural networks are an effective learning method. The goal is to estimate the ship power using a artificial neural network and then use it to calculate the trim angle, to be able to save fuel.
The data used in the artificial neural network come from sensor systems mounted on a container ship sailing between Europe and Asia. The sensor data have been thoroughly preprocessed and this includes for example removing the parts when the ship is docked in harbour, data patching and synchronisation and outlier detection based on a Kalman filter. A physical model of a marine craft including wind, wave, hydrodynamic and hydrostatic effects, has also been introduced to help analyse the performance and behaviour of the artificial neural network.
The artificial neural network developed in this thesis could successfully estimate the power consumption of the ship. Based on the developed networks it can be seen that the fuel consumption is reduced by trimming the ship by bow, i.e., the ship is angled so the bow is closer to the water line than the stern. The method introduced here could also be applied on other marine vessels, such as bulk freighters or tank ships.
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