AI-driven research by FuelTrust has revealed that the energy density of different batches of the same bunker fuel can vary by up to 3%, offering buyers the opportunity to reap cost savings when purchasing bunkers, reports Ship & Bunker.
Identifying differences in fuel properties
Using its AI-powered Digital Chemist, FuelTrust analysed 14 million barrels of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) across 28 batches and found that different batches could provide higher energy. For a fully laden Panamax container ship, for example, this could equate to a 50 metric tonne (mt) saving of fuel on a voyage from Vancouver, Canada to Portsmouth in the UK, or the equivalent of up to 469 nautical miles of additional sailing distance.
The Digital Chemist simulates combustion on a molecular level to identify differences in fuel properties such as fuel quality, energy, and emissions profiles. Digital Chemist combines the known characteristics of a fuel batch, with class data on the vessel engine, and data from the day logs to establish what happens when fuel is burned.
‘This isn’t like saying there’s a difference between gas stations – it’s more like there being a huge difference in the fuel you could buy at different pumps,’ said Jonathan Arneault, CEO of FuelTrust.
Differences in energy intensity vs differences in emissions
FuelTrust’s research also indicates that differences in energy intensity will be matched by differences in emissions, and this could also have a financial impact in light of the proposed introduction of carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes.
The company also highlights that the energy intensity issue could become increasingly operationally challenging as future fuels with much lower energy densities enter the bunker pool.
Launched in September this year, FuelTrust’s Bunker Insights platform uses a combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies to establish an unalterable record of fuel transactions and to analyse and identify chemical risks and changes in fuel.
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Source: Ship & Bunker