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'Big data' makes an impact in marine coatings sector

'Big data' makes an impact in marine coatings sector
Marine coatings company International Paint (IP) yesterday revealed a new approach to hull coating choice in which “big data” can be used to improve ship efficiency.

Intertrac Vision, a predictive tool designed to help ship operators assess the return on investment resulting from a particular coating specification, was launched in London.

Developed over four years and involving the analysis of 3.5bn datasets and 2.5 terabytes of data, IP has worked closely with third parties including University College London (UCL) Energy Institute, MARIN, Newcastle University and more than 30 shipowners.

The iPad-based system processes individual vessel data and operational parameters which specially trained IP personnel enter during a free consultation. Multiple proprietary algorithms and models are then used to provide an accurate assessment of the impact of each potential fouling control coating choice over a ship’s specified in-service period. Outputs include a vessel’s powering requirement, fuel consumption, fuel cost, CO2 emissions predictions and a full cost benefit analysis comparing different coating options and surface preparation options.

Singapore-based Oscar Wezenbeek, md of IP parent Akzo Nobel’s Marine Division, said that ship operators will now be able to pick the right product for their ship and its trading pattern; they will know how much it will cost as well as likely savings over a specified period. They can even find out the carbon credits they could earn as a result of reduced emissions.

Tristan Smith, a lecturer at UCL’s Energy Institute, identified two key issues which the new tool will address. One is the quality of data used to assess vessel performance and the other is the degree of trust with which ship operators treat the findings.

He and his colleagues had been shocked by the fact that much of the shipping industry still relies on noon reports. However, UCL had collected its own independent data which had been used in parallel with IP’s analysis to confirm performance findings.

IP project lead Mike Hindmarsh said that Intertrac Vision would evolve over the coming years – “this is version one point zero”, he said. So far, the tool has been developed for container ships, bulkers and tankers but cruise ships and LNGs would be included in the next version, he added.