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The importance of calculating ship fuel consumption

Bell Flow Systems discusses how it was recently involved in the installation of a fuel consumption system for The Spirit of Samso.



Image credit: Pixabay CC0


Updated on 09 May 2018 13:05 GMT

By Bell Flow Systems

Fuel is an expensive commodity, as we all know. Knowing the fuel consumption of vehicles is essential for minimising costs and increasing efficiency. Calculating ship fuel consumption, especially on longer journeys, becomes even more critical. With this data, ships can form better strategies towards achieving maximum fuel efficiency.

At Bell Flow Systems, we supply a wide range of fuel control and measurement products. Fuel consumption solutions for various applications forms a significant part of the range. This includes fuel generators, larger vehicles and in this case; for ships.

Recently we were asked to supply a fuel consumption system on an ex-Danish Navy vessel. The Spirit of Samso was originally known as Y303, a Barso-class vessel belonging to the Danish Navy.

Innovative marine engineers NAVA are currently re-purposing The Spirit of Samso into a luxury yacht. They required a monitoring system installing in order to measure the fuel consumption of the vessel.

As with a lot of fuel systems, the engine consisted of a supply and return to and from the fuel tank. As such, the system required two flow meters. One to measure the fuel supplying the engine, and one to also measure the fuel flow back to the tank.

With all flow metering applications, selecting the correct size meter is crucial. This is to ensure accurate measurements. This is particularly relevant with fuel measurement.

With our expert understanding of fuel flow, we took into account the engine whilst idle and also when at full capacity. It was also important to ensure that the meter did not reduce the pressure too much so as to starve the engine of fuel. With this is mind, we were able to correctly calculate appropriate-sized meters for the job.

The installation

For this installation, we used Macnaught MX series oval gear meters. Oval gear meters offer a high turndown ratio and a low pressure drop, making them ideal for fuel consumption applications. Their high resolution digital output and high accuracy also lends itself to being a first choice solution. These are paired with a Fluidwell F116 differential flow computer.

This meter gives visualisation of the fuel flow rate and total volume of both the flow and return to and from the engine. The computer also handles the flow calculations to clearly show both the current and total fuel consumption.

With this simple solution installed, fuel consumption monitoring is more efficient and ultimately the overall running costs for the vessel decrease.

Products used in this installation were the Macnaught series of fuel and oil meters and Fluidwell F116 flow displays. Both are available on the Bell Flow Systems website.



Bell Flow Systems was established in 1997 with the emphasis being firmly placed on the provision of flow measurement solutions to industry. Bell Flow Systems have adapted and grown to meet new demands and challenges in an ever changing market place. They now build systems, manufacture display instrumentation and supply a range of products to the renewables market and the environmental market. Bell Flow Systems products and solutions can now be found across a broad spectrum of industries.






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