Iterative design for electric ferry

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Norway’s largest ferry operator has ordered two new electric ferries from Havyard Design & Solutions (HDS), which the builder claims will be the first to benefit fully from its newly developed three-step design tool.

Havyard explains that its LAB development process is intended to refine a vessel’s design to best match its operating environment, potentially cutting energy consumption, emissions and operating costs. Stig Magne Espeseth, executive vice president of HDS, highlighted a recent example where the company was considering different design options together with a customer. “We simulated the different design options and demonstrated that the customer could reduce the energy consumption significantly by choosing one alternative instead of the other.”

R&D manager Kristian Steinsvik explained that during the first stage of the three-step process, it is possible to experiment with hundreds of alternatives to clarify the basic size and framework conditions for a ship. In the next stage, the best alternatives are selected and the process continues with quality assurance and documentation of the variables of the designs that have made it into the ‘final round’. Finally, LAB is used to run a simulation of a digital twin of the ship in a virtual ocean.

Steinsvik noted that the tool incorporates exact weather, wind, current and wave data for different ocean areas around the globe, which are used to simulate accurate real-world operating conditions. “This is how we create smart ship designs through a process where we simulate the ship’s pattern of operations and collect documentation and experience that would normally not be available until the ship has been in actual operation for years.”

Espeseth added that the tool will be useful when it comes to cutting costs and emissions for well-boats and specialist vessels for offshore wind parks, as well as ships operating in the transport sector. “Shipping companies that can experiment the most – quickest and cheapest – during the design phase have the best chance of succeeding in tender competitions and competition at sea. We now have the tool to help them with this.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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