Making sense of fuel usage
The EcoPilot developed by French company C-Sense is attracting increasing interest from both fishing and other commercial marine sectors. A straightforward retrofit to any engine room, it monitors fuel flow, producing a precise analysis of fuel usage â€“ which identifies where savings can be made.
â€˜The chief engineers like it a lot and I get emails from them at sea telling me how it has helped them, not just in managing fuel consumption but also in locating faults they might not otherwise have known about, â€™ said Pierre-Alexis Dormegnies.
â€˜One vessel had a problem with no return flow, and they were sure that there was a problem with the C-Sense system on board, so we serviced it and found nothing wrong â€“ but there was still no return,â€™ he said.
â€˜Eventually the problem was located in a faulty pump and as soon as it had been replaced, the fuel return was there. This was a fault that the engineer on board wouldnâ€™t have known about without the EcoPilot, as apart from the engine running slightly hot, there was no indication that there was anything wrong.â€™
He said that the EcoPilot has been in use for some time, mainly on tugs to begin with, and increasingly on fishing vessels as well. Four of CFTOâ€™s tuna purse seiners, Avel Vad, Glenen, Gevred and the new Pendruc are fitted with it, and Cap Bourbonâ€™s longliner Cap Kersaint has an EcoPilot system for its man engines and C-Sense has been asked to fit an additional system for the generator as well so there is a complete picture of fuel consumption on board.
â€˜We will fit that when are next in. Itâ€™s not difficult to retrofit this to an existing engine,â€™ he said.
The flow meter is fitted in the engine room and includes a by-pass option that allows an override when the skipper needs to be certain of no interruption to the fuel supply at a critical moment. The patented override can be actuated from the wheelhouse or the engine room, or with using a button on the unit itself.
â€˜The data can be displayed as a graph to give a detailed analysis of fuel usage, along with position and time stamps, and it can be exported as a csv file,â€™ he said.
â€˜The first fishing user was a trawler from St Malo, where the Ecopilot was fitted to monitor the consumption after a new propeller had been fitted. The skipper didnâ€™t like it at first, but after a few months he asked us to keep it on board and fit it where he could see it better,â€™ he said.
WorldFishingToday - 17-06-2016