With an ageing short sea and general cargo fleet and new legislation pushing for a more sustainable industry, traditional ship designs need to be reconsidered. DEKC has come up with a breakbulk vessel design with a modular, exchangeable engine room ready for future technological developments.

Often vessels are built for a lifespan of approximately twenty years or more and, although many elements on board can be changed, its backbone (the hull shape) will remain mostly the same. It is for this reason that optimising the vessel’s hull shape in an early stage of the design process will pay itself back during its operational lifespan.

At DEKC, a lot of effort has gone into utilising parametric hull optimisation: a method of determining the most optimal hull shape based on pre-set parameters by using numerical computer models and running the results through a digital basin in the company’s Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software. In most cases, the optimum hull shape will cause minimal resistance through the water and thus minimal fuel consumption, increasing the ship’s performance by twenty per cent.

Optimisation of new designs does not stop at the hull; new insights and design tools allow us to optimise the holds for specific trades or increase deadweight without compromising on other aspects of the design. It is about optimising a vessel for its intended trade and route, taking new norms and regulations into account and creating the most efficient and effective vessel for the owners, operators and crew.

New fuels

Another issue to take into consideration is the future of marine fuels. The industry knows that diesel will not last forever as the primary source of power on a ship, but no one knows exactly which direction to look for an alternative. That is why DEKC is developing a concept for a modular engine room, or power pack, that can easily be exchanged for a unit running on a different power source. Wether this will become hydrogen, ammonia or electricity, in this way, a vessel designed today can start its life running on diesel, and once an alternative source of power is available, the power pack can simply be swapped for a new one.

All of the above-mentioned solutions come together in DEKC’s latest general cargo designs. These in-house designed vessels are optimised for their specific trades and purposes, ranging from a highly functional and efficient workhorse, the EcoTrader with 5200 tonnes deadweight whilst remaining under 3000 gross tonnage, to the FutureTrader with similar capacity and an additional modular and exchangeable power pack/engine room. Other optimised designs range from 6000 to over 8000 tonnes deadweight

This article was kindly supplied by Marleen Lenting of DEKC Maritime for SWZ|Maritime’s July/August 2020 issue.

Picture: The FutureTrader has a modular and exchangeable power pack/engine room.