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Engine data system upgraded

Icon Research and CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, have developed a new algorithm which they claim can increase the efficiency of ship diesel engines by more accurately tracking data relating to the position of pistons within the engine’s cylinders.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The two organisations worked together on improving Icon Research’s Portable Cylinder Pressure Analysis system, known as ‘Doctor Diesel’, to be able to automatically synchronise combustion pressure to top dead centre of the crankshaft to within 0.1 degrees of accuracy.

Existing technologies typically deliver readings within 1 degree of accuracy, the companies said. Engines that are timed just 1 degree late can intensify exhaust temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Celsius, resulting in an increase in fuel consumption of up to 2 per cent.

“Ocean-going vessels measure fuel in tonnes and burn tens-of-thousands of dollars’ worth of it every day. By optimising the combustion cycle in each cylinder, significant cost savings can be made, as well as lowering emissions to help the environment. Asynchronous processes can have a major impact on efficiency, which makes aligning them absolutely imperative,” said Jim Edgar, managing director of Icon Research.

“Previous engine analysers used angular resolutions accurate to 1 degree, but we are now looking for accuracies of 10 times better. This is a key challenge for the industry, with advances in technology opening up a lot more variations in engines – not least the introduction of gas engines to once again reduce emissions. More accurate readings also help crews to operate engines more reliably, by reducing vibration and detecting cylinder problems before they become catastrophic.

“Our latest iteration of the Doctor Diesel system is going to provide a significant improvement on the data a ship’s crew can draw on. It will also be easier to use and safer, eliminating the need for the cables, which previously transferred data, to be draped over engines.”{/mprestriction}

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