New study shows improvements in cruise ship HVAC systems

At a time of increasing sustainability regulations, the marine industry needs technical solutions that are highly efficient but also financially viable, GF Piping Systems said in a press release.

On passenger ships, HVAC applications offer this potential for improvement. This was highlighted in a 2021 study by GF Piping Systems, a Swiss-based flow solutions provider, and Foreship, an international ship design and engineering company.

“A comparison of a basic steel piping system with pre-insulated polyethylene pipes in an air conditioning chilled water system revealed that plastic is more effective in four areas: it decreases fuel consumption, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers costs and slightly improves EEXI and CII values,” said GF.

“HVAC systems on passenger ships play a crucial role as they add comfort and a more luxurious experience on board. However, they consume a lot of energy and increase both fuel consumption and emissions,” the company added, noting that air conditioning systems also require extensive piping networks often made of post-insulated steel, heavy and susceptible to corrosion.

“On the other hand, advances in plastic piping solutions mean that materials such as polyethylene could potentially be a more suitable alternative that increases vessel efficiency,” GF concluded.

The study was based on a simulated 150,000 ton cruise ship and the calculations consisted of three phases.

In the first phase, the performance of the base steel system and the COOL-FIT polyethylene system from GF Piping Systems was measured by comparing the electrical consumption of the air conditioning system’s chillers and pumps.

In the second phase, these results were used to calculate fuel savings, emission reductions and profitability.

Finally, the study quantified the effect of these savings on the Energy Efficiency Index of Existing Ship Design (EEXI) and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).

Data from the cruise ship simulation shows consistent improvements in four key areas.

“Installing the COOL-FIT pre-insulated polyethylene system saved up to 112 metric tons of fuel per year, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by up to 373 metric tons per year and could saving approximately US$3.8 million over 25 years. Additionally, we were able to improve the EEXI and CII values ​​by 0.2%,” explained Teemu Tanninen, Senior Energy Efficiency and HVAC Specialist at Foreship.

“The entire maritime industry is currently working towards a more sustainable future. However, many solutions are still on the horizon or very expensive,” commented Roberto Chiesa, Marine Business Development Manager at GF Piping Systems.

“Our study shows that even small actions, such as proper design and choice of piping materials in the HVAC system, can have huge positive effects for the entire vessel. We believe they can be part of a holistic approach to making shipping more sustainable.

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