Photo: Berg Propulsion

Vroon’s retrofitted ship achieves 22 pct fuel saving

A recent retrofit to optimize a container ship’s propeller blade design has brought performance and fuel efficiency gains that are measurable in real-world conditions.

Vroon's
Image by Berg Propulsion

Dutch ship operator and manager Vroon recently approached Swedish company Berg Propulsion to investigate the possibility of optimizing the propulsion system on its container vessel, MV Indian Express, fitted with a controllable pitch propeller originally manufactured by Germany-based marine propulsion supplier ZF.

The aim was to secure the sustainability benefits available through greater ship efficiency, as part of Vroon’s continuing strategy to find the best practical answers to lowering CO2 emissions, ahead of the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).

Defining the vessel’s operation profile

David Sakandelidze, Berg Propulsion Business Manager – Energy and Efficiency, explained the process which established Vroon’s requirements.

“In close cooperation with the ship owner and ship operator, we analyzed the vessel’s current and future operation needs and defined its operation profile,” he said.

“Next, the performance of the original propeller blades was benchmarked against the vessel’s defined operation profile.”
 
From here, Berg Propulsion’s simulation tools were used to develop a new propeller geometry, which modelling showed would achieve remarkably superior performance the new operation profile anticipated for the ship.

In line with these findings, Berg Propulsion designed blades tailored for the operation, improving efficiency significantly, according to Sakandelidze.
 
“Efficiency gains are made for much of the time and, at 12 knots, the new blades achieve up to 50% higher efficiency than the ones they replace,” he said.
 
With performance improved at the speeds most commonly required during operations, Indian Express would achieve an astonishing 22% fuel saving overall, as well as lower emissions that should go farther than the requirements of the IMO’s carbon Intensity Initiative goals for 2026.
 
Vroon’s feeder vessel Indian Express was built in China in 2008, according to data provided by VesselsValue. The Gibraltar-flagged ship has a container capacity of 1,118 TEU.