A 4 DOF simulation model developed for fuel consumption prediction of ships at sea
Journal article, 2019

The study presents a new simulation model for the prediction of the fuel consumption of ships at sea. The model includes external forces and moments caused by the environment at sea, i.e. wind, waves and ocean currents, and solves the force and moment balances for the ship with four degrees-of-freedom (4 DOF), i.e. surge, drift, yaw and heel. To capture involuntary speed losses, engine limits are included in the model. By combining an existing power prediction model, a numerical standard hull and propeller series, and numerous empirical methods, the simulation model can be applied to conventional ships with very limited information available at the outset of an analysis, e.g. the main dimensions, engine rpm and propeller rpm. Additionally, a wind-assisted propulsion component is available. The current study describes the details of the 4 DOF model together with its applicability on three case studies on a ship route through the Baltic Sea with realistic weather forecasts. The main conclusions of the study show that there are considerable differences in the predicted fuel consumption when comparing simulation results based on 1 DOF and 4 DOF; the 4 DOF simulation model is recommended. It is shown that it is crucial to include the yaw moment balance and limits for the rudder angle when analyzing ships with wind-assisted propulsion. Examples for involuntary speed losses and different modes of operation are compared and discussed, and potential problems with propeller backside cavitation and engine stalling when running a ship with a wind-assisted device are discussed.

fuel consumption

ship energy efficiency

wind-assisted propulsion

ship operation


Fabian Tillig

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Marine Technology

Jonas Ringsberg

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Marine Technology

Ships and Offshore Structures

1744-5302 (ISSN) 1754-212X (eISSN)

Vol. 14 sup1 S112-S120

ShipCLEAN - Energy efficient marine transport through optimization of coupled transportation logistics and energy systems analyses

Swedish Energy Agency (44454-1), 2017-09-01 -- 2019-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance




Basic sciences

Subject Categories

Vehicle Engineering

Marine Engineering



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