Kawasaki Pioneers Long-Term On-Board Water-Emulsion Fuel System Testing

May 14, 2015

Tokyo, May 14, 2015 – Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today that it has successfully completed long-term on-board testing of its water-emulsion fuel system. Begun four years ago in January 2011, this testing, conducted jointly with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. ("K" Line), is the first of its kind anywhere.

Water-emulsion fuel is a mixture of fuel and water with the water dispersed in small particle form throughout the fuel. When the fuel is injected into an engine's combustion chamber, the water particles contained in the fuel remove heat as they evaporate. This lowers the combustion temperature, thereby decreasing the formation of nitrogen oxides (NOx). On top of that, enhanced fuel spray atomization as well as increased air injection improves combustion while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Starting in 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will introduce its Tier III emissions regulations. Once the new regulations take effect, vessels plying international waters will be legally mandated to cut NOx emissions in designated emission control areas by 80% compared to Tier I levels. The trade-off for NOx emissions has been lower fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions. While NOx emissions can be cut via design changes to marine diesel engines and adjustments to engine parameters, that reduction comes at the expense of more fuel consumption as well as greater CO2 emissions. For this reason, water-emulsion fuel's ability to reduce NOx emissions without increasing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions has made this alternative technology a focus of considerable attention. Combined with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and other NOx-reducing technologies, water-emulsion fuel technology can enable ships to effectively meet Tier III requirements.

To test the system, Kawasaki built a 58,000 DWT bulk carrier equipped with a water-emulsion fuel supply system. In addition to some design changes to the vessel's fuel system and main engine, it was outfitted with newly developed instruments and systems. The vessel was put into operation in January 2011 by the "K" Line Group to monitor NOx along with other exhaust gases, engine performance, as well as the durability of the engine and fuel system under long-term use during actual operation by its crew. In 2014, the vessel's third year of operation, an overhaul as well as wear inspections were conducted on the main engine and water-emulsion fuel supply system while the vessel was docked and everything was found to be in excellent working order. The bulk carrier remained in steady operation until completion of the four-year on-board testing where performance and durability of the system were verified to meet Tier III requirements.

This water-emulsion fuel technology will be incorporated into the K-ECOS, Kawasaki's proprietary environmentally-friendly system employing EGR technology. It will be integrated into a large car carrier (slated for delivery at the end of FY2015) to be built as part of "K" Line's next-generation eco-friendly project dubbed the Drive Green Project.

Kawasaki is continually developing new marine technologies, like the water-emulsion fuel system and various other technologies designed to meet emissions regulations, with an eye to minimizing the environmental footprint made by marine vessels.


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