Energy audit shows USCG ways to slash cutter energy consumption

Alaris-EngineersPetaluma, Calif., based Alaris Companies LLC has completed an energy audit and report on the U.S. Coast Guard's 110-ft Patrol Boat (WPB) and 225-ft Seagoing Buoy Tender (WLB) cutter classes.

Alaris says it identified opportunities to reduce energy consumption by 25 to 48 percent a year for the two classes of vessels and that these reductions can be achieved through implementation of a list of proposed Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) for each class of cutter.

The first part of the report, presented to the Coast Guard's Civil Engineering Unit (CEU) Juneau, Alaska, consisted of a thorough assessment of the vessels' baseline in-port energy use. The second part of the report outlined ECMs, potential changes to equipment, operations and crew behaviors, which will result in financial savings and emissions reductions. These include utilizing heat pumps and heat recovery loops, ventilation energy recovery systems and lighting changes throughout the vessels, to name a few examples.

The report also includes return on investment details such as initial investment, annual savings and payback period so operators can decide which measures make will yield the biggest benefit. Alaris' in-house EQUATE energy modeling program system quantifies how much energy, money, and emissions each potential ECM would save and compares it to the financial cost and the inconvenience that each measure would incur.

Currently, Alaris engineers are completing an assessment and subsequent report for the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter class of vessels.

"I am passionate about vessel energy management as there is great potential for high returns from low investments," said Michael Gaffney, Executive Vice President of Engineering with Alaris. Gaffney is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), a Certified Energy Auditor (CEA), and a Chief Engineer, unlimited horsepower. He sees the major issue facing vessel owners and managers as the lack of a good baseline of energy usage and energy cost at a micro level. "Because of this, financial analysis of operational changes and equipment upgrades is not possible. The result is, cost-effective operational changes and equipment upgrades are not implemented."

"Baselining a vessel is much more complex than shore side facilities as vessels can use different fuels, operate at varying engine loads and periodically use shorepower," Gaffney continued. "To deal with the complexity, Alaris has developed EQUATE, our shipboard energy modeling software program which provides predictions of energy consumption. The tool calculates energy consumption following a specific methodology and defined assumptions."This program provides a baseline and financial analysis in which management can make an informed decision. In this economy, it makes more sense than ever for companies and governments to have an energy management policy."

August 30, 2011

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