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Happy Birthday ECO Assistant – award winning trim optimization software enters 5th year

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DNV GL celebrates 5 years of ECO Assistant, its award winning trim and fuel efficiency tool.
Banner_Happy Birthday ECO Assistant – award winning trim optimization software enters 5th year
ECO Assistant Training Simulation

One of DNV GL’s most widely used software products; ECO Assistant has improved the profitability and sustainability of over 500 vessels across all ship types, with verified fuel savings. Over only half a decade in operation, ECO Assistant has already saved in excess of 150 million dollars in fuel costs, with a resulting reduction in CO2 emissions of 700,000 metric tonnes – the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere by over 100,000 acres of forest over the same period.

Of all the “quick fixes” to optimise energy efficiency on existing vessels, or newbuildings, trim optimisation tools can make the most immediate impact to the bottom line profit of an existing vessel. An easy refit, and payback times of, in most cases, only a few months, can lead to significant savings over the life of a vessel.

“When we first presented the potential gains from using ECO Assistant, the initial response was sceptical. Not many believed that the savings we predicted could be true,” says Heikki Hansen, Team Leader Fluid Engineering at DNV GL. “Within the first year, however, we saw that as we demonstrated the system, its ease of implementation and the demonstrable results we could produce grabbed customer interest, so much so that ECO Assistant very quickly became one of our most popular solutions.”

“One of the advantages of ECO Assistant is that we are not reliant on logged operational data to calculate the optimum trim, unlike most of the other trim tools,” explains Frank Hennig, product manager ECO Solutions at DNV GL. “Instead, we run hundreds, even thousands, of high fidelity CFD simulations, something that simply cannot be replicated by model tests and which avoids the imprecision of extrapolating from real world data.”

ECO Assistant’s strength lies in not only giving the optimum trim under everyday conditions, but being able to modulate the advised trim to deal with off-design and unfamiliar vessel states. These results, which can improve upon crewing best practice by 3 to 4% or more are also easily accessible onshore and can be used for fleet benchmarking.

Since its introduction, ECO Assistant has challenged many long established practices for setting the trim of a vessel, replacing rules of thumb with verified data. “Perhaps the most interesting discovery we have made is the positive effect of additional ballast water. At first we thought this must be an error, but it has been proved by results from vessels in service and subsequently implemented by several companies,” says Erik Heller, DNV GL Expert Operations. “Simply by taking on an additional 10,000 tons of ballast water, large container ships can save 5%, cutting their fuel consumption by 4 tons per day.”

DNV GL utilises one of shipping’s most powerful computing clusters, bringing some 8000 cores in parallel and nearly 70 teraflops of computing capacity, to bear on these ”numerical sea trials”. The attending simulation software is also regarded as one of the best worldwide, according to international validation contests.

The recent upgrade to ECO Assistant version 4.0, added several new features including eLearning to speed crew uptake, streamlined reporting and document preparation for regulations, loading computer integration and a fuel calculator to estimate realistic power demand and fuel consumption.