Technology firms target maritime greenhouse gas emissions with AI-powered fuel optimisation services

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Fujitsu has announced (7 June) a new Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Vessel Fuel Optimisation digital web service enabling maritime firms to cut fuel costs for large vessels and meet new low-sulfur fuel regulations – reducing greenhouse gas emissions – all without requiring elaborate ship re-engineering or major expenditure by ship owners and operators.

Today, ship owners and operators are facing significant increases in fuel costs – one of the biggest operating costs for maritime operators – to meet new low-sulfur fuel regulations from international and EU regulators1. International shipping is a large and growing source of greenhouse gas emissions and replacing current global stockpiles with fuels that meet the new 0.5 percent maximum sulfur content required by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) from January 1, 2020 could add $35 billion in costs across the sector, according to some estimates2.

The Fujitsu Vessel Fuel Optimisation (VFO) service is the first offering resulting from a new partnership between Fujitsu and Kongsberg Digital3, a provider of next generation software and digital solutions to customers within maritime, oil & gas, and renewables & utilities sectors. Expected to deliver a range of cost-effective digital solutions to the maritime industry, the service is offered as part of Kongsberg’s Kognifai Services portfolio of digital eco solutions.

“Immediate and substantial savings across shipping classes”
The Fujitsu VFO service is said to be easy-to-use and applicable across a broad range of shipping classes, generating immediate and substantial savings for customers, while putting them on course to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets for the maritime transport sector. No sensor or software installation is required on vessels, as the service is a web-based application that can be deployed immediately. It uses AI to learn ship captains’ strategies and ships’ performances, combines this with meteorological and hydrographic forecasts, such as wind, waves and ocean currents, and recommends optimal routes to maximise energy-efficiency, safety and profitability.

The VFO service, developed by Fujitsu Laboratories4, is a cutting-edge AI and data analytics ship route optimisation solution, capable of utilising open-source AIS (Automatic Identification System) data. It allows shipmasters and onshore managers to follow planned and updated routes and maintain dialogue with the crew about the optimal route, helping to save fuel. New value-added advanced services will also be offered capable of taking advantage of input from ships’ VDRs (Vessel Data Recorders), such as the engine log and sensor data from more modern, data-rich seafaring vessels.

Yves de Beauregard, Head of Digital Business Solutions at Fujitsu EMEIA, says: “The shipping industry is about to undergo a global shift to a new fuel, with implications so enormous they have been compared to the change from coal to steam. The Fujitsu Vessel Fuel Optimisation service is a quick and straightforward solution that will lead to reduced fuel costs and the ability to maintain profitability, while at the same time contributing to cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

Vigleik Takle, SVP of Maritime Digital Solutions at Kongsberg Digital, comments: “Kongsberg Digital has responded rapidly to the pressure the maritime transport sector faces to comply with new fuel regulations, and to offer customers innovative digital solutions on Kognifai that deliver tangible results now and offer rapid-payback. We chose to work with Fujitsu because of the company’s leadership in AI and advanced analytics, as these present valuable new opportunities to improve fleet operating efficiencies by large margins. Building on the infrastructure provided by KONGSBERG’s Vessel Insight, the new VFO service is the first solution from a partnership that will expand to address a range of important business outcomes for the maritime industry.”

Fujitsu and Kongsberg Digital have a long-term commitment towards the preservation of the environment by creating and delivering climate-friendly and cost-efficient business solutions. This unique co-creation approach will leverage Fujitsu’s strength in cutting-edge AI and data analytics technologies, and Kongsberg Digital’s vast domain expertise and experience to deliver a range of cost-effective digital solutions to the maritime industry.