Optimal load allocation of complex ship power plants
Journal article, 2016

In a world with increased pressure on reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, the cruise industry is growing in size and impact. In this context, further effort is required for improving the energy efficiency of cruise ship energy systems. In this paper, we propose a generic method for modelling the power plant of an isolated system with mechanical, electric and thermal power demands and for the optimal load allocation of the different components that are able to fulfil the demand. The optimisation problem is presented in the form of a mixed integer linear programming (MINLP) problem, where the number of engines and/or boilers running is represented by the integer variables, while their respective load is represented by the non-integer variables. The individual components are modelled using a combination of first-principle models and polynomial regressions, thus making the system nonlinear. The proposed method is applied to the load-allocation problem of a cruise ship sailing in the Baltic Sea, and used to compare the existing power plant with a hybrid propulsion plant. The results show the benefits brought by using the proposing method, which allow estimating the performance of the hybrid system (for which the load allocation is a non-trivial problem) while also including the contribution of the heat demand. This allows showing that, based on a reference round voyage, up to 3% savings could be achieved by installing the proposed system, compared to the existing one, and that a NPV of 11 kUSD could be achieved already 5 years after the installation of the system.



Low carbon shipping

Energy systems

Marine propulsion system


Francesco Baldi

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Maritime Environmental Sciences

Fredrik Ahlgren

Linnaeus University, Kalmar

F. Melino

University of Bologna

Cecilia Gabrielii

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Maritime Environmental Sciences

Karin Andersson

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Maritime Environmental Sciences

Energy Conversion and Management

0196-8904 (ISSN)

Vol. 124 344-356

Subject Categories

Marine Engineering



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