New Zealand Ferry to Test Fuel Combined with Water

Interislander ferry Arahura is trialling Fuel Oil Emulsion (FOE) technology in one of the ship’s auxiliary engines.  

Namely, Arahura will test a watered down version of diesel fuel, a solution supplied by Blended Fuel Solutions NZ Ltd.

As informed, the technology allows for diesel-oil coated water droplets to convert into steam by blowing apart, thus making small fuel particles that burn in a more efficient fashion. Even though water and oil don’t mix, this is enabled by an additive blended into the fuel together with water.

“The outcome looks as though it could reduce our use of fuel and the level of emissions as well as giving a significant financial saving,” said Malcom Sims, the engineer in charge of the project.

The trial will last over the next three months and follows a two day trial in 2013.

“This showed reduced fuel consumption and emissions, thus opening the way to this more extensive operational trial,” Sims added.

According to him, the parties involved are also exploring other alternative fuels such as biofuels, but none are yet as commercially advanced as the FOE technology.

“With the Arahura being retired at the end of July 2015, it provides a safe, known and reliable platform on which to conduct operational tests in a controlled manner.”

“From here Interislander will be analysing the data from the trials further with our partners. While these are still early days, there is definitely scope for potentially installing the technology across the fleet,” says Sims.

The trial is being supported by EECA under a “Technology Demonstration Project” grant.

Leigh Ramsey, Managing Director of Blended Fuel Solutions NZ, says “KiwiRail/Interislander are a large liquid fuel user so it makes very good sense for it to be investigating these kinds of technologies.”

“With the introduction of the blend equipment on board the Interislander will also be able to test other alternative fuels.”

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