Exhaust Gas Economizer Condition Based Maintenance

ExhaustGasEconomizerCondition

Exhaust Gas Economizers in Maritime

Economizers are mechanical devices intended to reduce energy consumption, or to perform other useful function such as preheating a fluid. A common arrangement on ships with large diesel main propulsion engines is to provide an oil fired boiler and exhaust gas economizer (EGE).

The Challenge

The exhaust gas economizer is vital to economical ship operation. A breakdown could be catastrophic for the ship’s economic operation while reaching hundreds of dollars to restore the EGE. Such great damage can be prevented by keeping the EGE clean when needed and by ensuring sufficient water circulation at all times.

One of the largest shipping companies in Greece that owns mainly containerships was facing a problem with the normal operation of the Exhaust Gas Economizer in one of its vessels. This malfunction occurred due to the abnormal operation of the circulator which led to high temperatures in the EGE. For this reason, engineers needed to monitor from headquarters the water and emissions temperatures and pressures in different levels of the EGE so that they can guide the vessel crew. Moreover, the EGE performance was quite low because of sensors missing in the EGE. As a result, the crew did not have a clear image about the EGE’s condition.

The shipping company discussed with LAROS team and sought a solution for their vessel.

 ExhaustGasEconomizerCondition

Exhaust Gas Economizers in Maritime

Economizers are mechanical devices intended to reduce energy consumption, or to perform other useful function such as preheating a fluid. A common arrangement on ships with large diesel main propulsion engines is to provide an oil fired boiler and exhaust gas economizer (EGE).

The Challenge

The exhaust gas economizer is vital to economical ship operation. A breakdown could be catastrophic for the ship’s economic operation while reaching hundreds of dollars to restore the EGE. Such great damage can be prevented by keeping the EGE clean when needed and by ensuring sufficient water circulation at all times.

One of the largest shipping companies in Greece that owns mainly containerships was facing a problem with the normal operation of the Exhaust Gas Economizer in one of its vessels. This malfunction occurred due to the abnormal operation of the circulator which led to high temperatures in the EGE. For this reason, engineers needed to monitor from headquarters the water and emissions temperatures and pressures in different levels of the EGE so that they can guide the vessel crew. Moreover, the EGE performance was quite low because of sensors missing in the EGE. As a result, the crew did not have a clear image about the EGE’s condition.

The shipping company discussed with LAROS team and sought a solution for their vessel.

LAROS Solution

A solution was built using LAROS wireless sensor network platform to monitor basic parameters regarding the operation the Exhaust Gas Economizer. The wireless sensor network consists of temperature and pressure sensors for exhaust gases and water that are installed at various economizer stages. Forming a low-consumption wireless network sensor data are collected from wireless nodes that send the data through a gateway to an onboard server. Then, data are sent via satellite link at the headquarters, where land-based engineers can extract useful information about the vessel’s EGE operational status and provide maintenance instructions to the onboard engineers.

LAROS software is installed on the company’s computers in order to generate the data analysis and produce reports and early warnings. Reports are fully customized depending on what engineers request to get informed about.

The Benefits

The technical staff of the vessel is now able to achieve complete monitoring of the water and gas circulation, while keeping the EGE clean when needed. This allows them to form a more efficient maintenance strategy and prevent EGE breakdowns. Engineers report that although 3 accidents occurred in a past two year period, thanks to LAROS installation accidents are completely prevented.

"The past two years we experienced two major boiler damages that cost the company over 200.000 USD each while the vessel had to be in dry docking for days…. Can you imagine how happy we feel now that we know we can prevent this?"

C.K., Technical Director

Moving Forward

LAROS is easily expandable in order to host new sensors that can monitor several parameters at the vessel’s engine room that are significant for an efficient vessel operation. After a semester of operating LAROS system, the shipping company requested the expansion of LAROS system throughout the entire steam network of the vessel and its installation in 9 additional vessels.

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