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The complex infrastructure of the overall energy system on board passenger ships such as ferries and cruise ships can be compared to a small town. This complexity results from their task, the transport of people and, if necessary, vehicles and goods, while at the same time covering the most diverse needs of the passengers.

In addition to the primary goal of increased energy efficiency, there are also the increasing requirements with regard to legislation, such as the regulation of pollutant emissions, and an increasing awareness among the general public with regard to emissions and the CO2 footprint of shipping. In order to meet all of these, the complexity of the technologies for energy generation, storage and conversion, as well as efficient use, is bound to increase steadily, as is the further development of the propulsion concepts of the ships concerned.

The route profile of the aforementioned ship classes often consists of coastal voyages and daytime operation within a wide variety of ports. In terms of engine and plant operation, in addition to stationary operation on the high seas and, where applicable, during port laytime, this results in a high proportion of maneuvering trips, which are characterized by very dynamic operating and utilization behavior. At the same time, the energy consumption from hotel operations also generate a transient load profile, which is superimposed on the nautical and propulsion load dynamics and is of a comparable magnitude in terms of power requirement, but has never become the primary focus of politics and society.

From these operating regimes of the past years, which will manifest themselves even more intensively in the future, a broad band of different optimization potentials results. For optimization measures, however, the effects and interactions must be known or determined and at the same time customer/passenger-specific comfort requirements must be taken into account. At this point, it would be desirable to have a digital optimization tool that can map the systems mentioned in the form of a simulation. In this way, the influence of different procedures for different situations can be simulatively estimated and then quantitatively evaluated.



In order to meet the increasing economic as well as ecological demands and the close interlocking of subsystems, the set goal of the SimPleShip project (Simulation Platform for efficient Ships) is to optimize the following aspects in a holistic simulation environment by forming a "Digital Twin":

  • Energy Infrastructure
  • Propulsion technologies
  • Dynamic engine operation / maneuvering

A highly qualified consortium has come together to work on this complex task. Together with the Institute for Innovative Ship Simulation and Maritime Systems (ISSIMS) at Wismar University of Applied Sciences and the Chair of Technical Thermodynamics at the University of Rostock, FVTR GmbH is developing a simulation platform that covers all typical passenger and cruise ship aspects - from energy generation in conventional or hybridized propulsion systems over energy storage in tanks, boilers, pools, distribution systems and ambient air to energy consumption for ship management and all hotel-related requirements. The consortium is supported by its associated partner Carnival Maritime GmbH, which, as operator of the cruise ship brands Costa Crociere and AIDA Cruises , can draw on an immense wealth of experience in ship operation. Thanks to the highly instrumented ship fleet, the project consortium has access to an extensive measurement data base for the development and validation of models.

The simulation platform

The overall objective of the research project is to develop a digital simulation platform for thermodynamic analysis and energetic optimization of complex coupled ship systems. In addition to the creation of a physically based equipment library for the simulation of diesel engines, fuel cells, batteries, thermal storages, distribution systems as well as the propulsion and control systems, a special focus is on equipment characteristic for passenger ships, which represents the so-called hotel load.

The digital simulation tool will also be particularly suitable for energetic analysis and optimization of the overall ship system in transient operating conditions. Thus, potential analyses and optimization against the background of certain scenarios are possible. Examples are energetically optimized port entrances and exits as well as simultaneous port and hotel operation. In perspective, the analysis of an integration of storage systems and alternative generation units will make it possible to assess, for example, whether a berthing maneuver is possible under the requirement of "zero emissions" (as required, for example, in Norwegian ports from 2025) and what prerequisites must be created for this.

As a result, the platform will contain a fully comprehensive library covering all essential technical aspects of passenger ships. This will enable users (e.g. ship owners, shipyards, ship operators, service providers) to perform quantitatively assessable scenario and retrofit analyses of existing ships. At the same time, a realistic evaluation of the overall efficiency in the specifically planned destination can already be carried out during the project planning and design phase of newbuildings through the parallel use of the simulation platform with the component and system libraries contained therein.