Thermal Oil Heating System Energy Balance: Spirit of Tasmania Vessels

1.0 Background

T.T.Line operate two vessels “Spirit of Tasmania I” and Spirit of Tasmania II” on the Bass Strait passenger and freight trade.

The vessels were built twenty years ago and due to recent legislative changes have been required to change the fuel type used for propulsion and powering the vessel.

This new fuel type ‘Low Sulphur Fuel Oil” has resulted in operational changes being made on the vessel that effect the “Heating Load“ requirements of the installed Thermal Oil Heating System.

The thermal oil heating system on the vessels provides heating for hotel services, auxiliary equipment and most importantly heating required for burning traditional ‘bunker fuels’ in the ships diesel engines.

The low sulphur fuel oil now in use does not require as much heating but how much less and how do we quantify the savings?

2.0 Project Aim

The project aim is to undertake an energy balance on the thermal oil heating system. First becoming familiar with that system. Further taking real measurements on the vessels under varying operational conditions to determine the heat load under port and sea conditions.

The thermal oil system is heated by two waste heat Exhaust Gas Economisers at sea and two Thermal Oil Boilers in port.

The project will aim to quantify the minimum and maximum heat load in port and at sea on the thermal oil heating system.

Students will be required to spend time on the vessels at sea (overnight sailings) and in port. All costs for travel will be covered by T.T.Line. Students would be expected to visit T.T.Line Offices at Station Pier where desk space will be provided.

Dependent on the outcomes T.T.Line may well engage RMIT to carry out further studies on energy usage throughout the vessel focusing on electrical generation and propulsion systems.

3.0  Key Research Questions:

  • How much has been saved in energy, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas terms due to the reduction in ‘fuel heating’ as a result of burning low sulphur fuel oil?
  • Can any improvements be made to the 20 year old Thermal Oil System to optimise its performance due to the reduced demand for heating?
  • Are there any operational changes that could be effected due to the reduced heating demand?
  • Can the thermal oil system be heated to a temperature lower than 190 degrees Celsius? Traditionally the heating temperature has been kept well above the dew point of Sulphur Dioxide to prevent the formation of Sulphuric Acid on the waste heat exhaust gas economiser tubes.
  • Knowing what we know now, are there any new technologies that could be implemented to make further savings?

4.0  Student Attributes:

Students must be self-starters, information will be provided in the form of PDF drawings, printed manuals and so forth remembering that the vessels were constructed twenty years ago. Students will be expected to extract the required information by thoroughly examining the available information.

Ship and shore staff will assist the students in gathering the information required. Students must be prepared to ‘crawl through’ the vessel with ships staff to gather information.

Students will be inducted on the vessels and expected to comply with T.T.Line OH&S procedures at all times.


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