Interislander trials cleaner and more efficient fuel technology
19 May 2015 3:03PM
As part of KiwiRail’s commitment to greater sustainability the Interislander ferry Arahura is trialling Fuel Oil Emulsion (FOE) technology in one of the ship’s auxiliary engines. FOE burns more completely than unmodified fuel and so uses less fuel, emissions are lower and the engines run cooler and so should require less maintenance.
The technology is supplied by Blended Fuel Solutions NZ Ltd.
“The outcome looks as though it could reduce our use of fuel and the level of emissions as well as giving a significant financial saving. The trial is an example of the investment KiwiRail and the ship’s engineering staff are making in reducing the company’s use of fossil fuels,” said Malcom Sims the engineer in charge of the project.
“FOE has lower harmful emissions compared with normal fuels and this improves Health and Safety for those who have to work with it”.
“The trial is over three months and follows a two day trial in 2013. This showed reduced fuel consumption and emissions, thus opening the way to this more extensive operational trial”.
“We are also exploring other alternative fuels such as biofuels, but none are yet as commercially advanced as the FOE technology. With the Arahura being retired at the end of July 2015, it provides a safe, known and reliable platform on which to conduct operational tests in a controlled manner.”
“From here Interislander will be analysing the data from the trials further with our partners. While these are still early days, there is definitely scope for potentially installing the technology across the fleet,” says Malcolm.
The trial is being supported by EECA under a "Technology Demonstration Project” grant. These grants aim to encourage the adoption of emerging energy efficiency and renewable technologies.
Leigh Ramsey, Managing Director of Blended Fuel Solutions NZ, says “KiwiRail/Interislander are a large liquid fuel user so it makes very good sense for it to be investigating these kinds of technologies.”
“With the introduction of the blend equipment on board the Interislander will also be able to test other alternative fuels.”
Note to editors:
The trial is being independently monitored and includes a month running on normal fuel to give a base line and pre and post internal engine inspections.
The FOE requires no engine modification to run, but the fuel needs to be pre-processed to create the emulsion. An emulsion is made when one substance coats another. The word “emulsion” derives from “to milk” since milk is an emulsion of fat in water. The FOE is the reverse of that (water in oil) and is therefore more like butter where the butterfat coats water. To make the emulsion the oil and water is mixed in a high-shear mixer with an additive that allows the emulsion to form and remain stable. This can be done in-line just prior to combustion.
Because the oil is on the outside the FOE behaves like normal fuel in the engine until the point of combustion when the water rapidly turns to steam and breaks the oil up into finer droplets than would normally occur. This leads to more complete combustion with less waste, including particulates and greenhouse gases.
Senior Communications Advisor, KiwiRail
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