Radio Frequency Sensors to Make Diesel Engines Greener!



Emission regulations are getting tighter every day and marine industry is no exception to this.  A few years ago students from MIT invented a Filter Sensing Technology (FST) sensor that uses Radiofrequency (RF) signals to measure soot and ash build up in real time.  FST sensor mainly consists of metal antennae mounted inside the exhaust system to monitor the deposits on the diesel particulate filters.  This Invention could help program engines to clean the filters efficiently when the sensor senses the build-up of deposits to a predetermined level.  The conventional technologies depend on differential pressure to roughly estimate the buildup.  FST sensor transmits an RF signal (widely used in cellular communication) and as the soot & ash deposition increases, the signal strength decreases accordingly. “This is very similar to losing signal while walking through a tunnel”, says the inventor.

In a two-year study carried out on heavy duty trucks, the sensor has proved effective by cutting frequency and duration of filter regeneration by almost half. This could mean 1-2 percent savings on the fuel.  This could be significant savings considering the fact that the fuel usage in the marine industry is a lot more.

This sensor technology has recently been acquired by a major manufacturer of vehicles.  Electronics and sensors are currently being piloted to match OEM requirements across the United States, Japan and Europe for construction and agricultural equipment.  This sensor could be available to the automotive industry within a few years.  We feel that this sensor has great potential in the marine industry as well.

Assuming such sensors are installed on diesel engine exhaust side, or on the scrubbers, or the exhaust gas economizers, the build up of soot can be determined and a maintenance can be planned arrival port.  When such sensor technology is reinforced with VEEMS (Viswa Energy Efficiency Monitoring System), the buildup of soot can be monitored in real-time on board a ship, and an instantaneous corrective action can be taken which could result in even more fuel-saving than the actual sensor can contribute!

Such is the power of VEEMS, an Energy Efficiency Augmentation tool, to monitor and optimize performance.  Please feel free to download the supplement to know more about VEEMS.

Courtesy: Wireless sensors could make diesel engines greener by Rob Matheson, R&D magazine


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