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Passenger Ship Technology

Passenger Ship Technology

Focus on energy efficiency heats up

Thu 05 Oct 2017 by Clive Woodbridge

Focus on energy efficiency heats up
Almaco has delivered a number of galley systems to new cruise ships featuring its GEM energy management system

Reducing energy consumption by cooking equipment and associated systems within cruise ship galleys remains a top priority, alongside operational flexibility and hygiene

A key area of collaboration for cruise shipbuilding yards, owners and specialist contractors at the moment is centred on the need to upgrade the design and specification of galley systems on the latest generation of newbuild vessels. This is partly so that they can meet the growing expectation amongst passengers for a wide range of dining options, from formal sit-down fine dining to fast food options, and different cuisines. Such trends have created a need for a high degree of flexibility both in cruise galley layouts and in the specification of the equipment used within catering areas on board.

Many contemporary vessels forego having a large central main galley and instead have multiple smaller galleys for different types of cuisine, including show galleys, designed to open up a new level of experience to guests. This latter trend has required greater consideration of the visual appearance of such galleys, so they look good to passengers – something that has not been the case for closed galleys.

Furthermore, owners and yards continue to concentrate on achieving higher levels of energy efficiency within galley areas, a consideration that shows no sign of losing its importance, despite reduced bunker costs. In addition, the need for efficient, hygienic cooking and cleaning systems remains an ever present factor influencing cruise vessel galley design.

Specialist manufacturers and contractors have recently taken steps to enhance systems designed for the passenger ship market with these goals in mind. One of the leaders in supplying this niche segment, the German company MKN, has for example introduced improvements to its FlexiChef system and FlexiCombi range of combi steamers, which now incorporate a number of innovative features aimed at enhancing efficiency and multi-functionality, to help optimise kitchen and galley processes on board. The company draws attention to the incorporation of the intuitive MagicPilot touch and slide operating system, and the WaveClean and SpaceClean automatic cleaning systems.

Its vice president of marine sales, Stephan Kammel, said “WaveClean and SpaceClean are the first [two], and still the only automatic cleaning systems for pans for cruise vessels. With intermediate cleaning, pans are ready for the next cooking process in only two minutes and this is achieved completely without the use of chemicals.”

The FlexiCombi combi steamer also includes several new energy saving components, including the GreenInside feature. This is designed to provide a high degree of transparency with regards the energy and water consumption of the appliances, by showing data directly on the touch display after each cooking process. The FlexiCombi also features a triple-glazed cooking chamber door that offers a potential energy saving of up to 28% compared to earlier generation MKN steamers with double glazing, while using the heat exchanger can reduce its power requirement by about 1 kW, MKN claims.

Recent cruise ship installations with MKN equipment include TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6, NCL’s Norwegian Joy, Viking Cruises’ Viking Sun, Harmony of the Seas for Royal Caribbean, and AIDAprima and AIDAperla. Mr Kammel said “Maintaining high standards of hygiene and safety are among the main challenges in designing galley areas on such ships. We are dealing with their challenges by offering specific marine solutions, incorporating for example pot security devices for ranges and hobs, special oven door latches, flanged fleet and fryers that meet SOLAS regulations.”

Mr Kammel also drew attention to the need for particularly high levels of reliability for cruise ship galley systems. “These appliances have to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without any compromises,” he said. “With our high quality products and the continued improvements made by our R&D team, we have been able to cope with the rigorous demands of the cruise industry.”


Reducing environmental footprint

Another leading supplier to the cruise ship sector is Finland-based SeaKing, which has similarly continued to focus heavily on reducing the environmental footprint of its systems. In particular, it has further enhanced its SeaKing Catering Management System, which advises crew how to use cooking equipment efficiency, thereby reducing the amount of wasted energy. Its vice president of sales Jan Montonen said “Automatic, demand-based ventilation is a crucial part of this, and many new ships have this feature included in the contract specification.”

The efficiency of galley systems has also increased as individual appliance manufacturers have developed new and improved models. Mr Montonen added “We have achieved a 28% energy saving in newbuild ship series over the past few years. It is very rewarding to record figures like this, showing that the efforts made in cooperation with shipowners and yards to reduce energy consumption are paying off.”

SeaKing is now in the process of launching a new web-based fleet manager service, through which cruise ship owners can log in to track the operation of catering equipment on board ships in real-time. Mr Montonen said “The app has several tools allowing different ships in the fleet to be compared, best practices to be identified and spread to other ships. This gives an entirely new insight to ship operations, providing accurate data on the basis of which decisions can be made.”

Demand for galley systems is growing in line with the increased ordering of new cruise ships. SeaKing said it started preparing for the higher demand around three years ago, hiring more engineers who have since then learned the technical design skills required by niche cruise ship catering systems. The company has also invested to increase the output of its factory in Finland to meet market demand.

“This is very important now that the challenge for shipyards is to find enough capacity in their supplier networks,” said Mr Montonen. “We are well prepared to meet this challenge with the same dedication that we have shown for the past 32 years.”


Galley hoods energy saving boost 

Another Finnish company, Halton Marine, has recently achieved a notable breakthrough for its energy-saving M.A.R.V.E.L galley hoods. These have been specified for up to 13 new cruise ships that will be built at Meyer Werft’s yards in Germany and Finland. The contract, for six confirmed orders and options for seven more, will be completed over the next six years, starting in the third quarter this year.

Halton’s indoor air solutions address the demanding environment, in terms of air temperature, humidity and cooking emissions found in kitchens onboard. In addition, the need for high levels of reliability, fire safety and hygiene are particularly important in a cruise ship environment, the company pointed out.

Halton M.A.R.V.E.L. is a demand-based galley ventilation system that is designed specifically for Halton hoods to optimise their efficiency and minimise their environmental footprint. Compared to traditional hoods, the Halton M.A.R.V.E.L. system, combined with its Capture Jet technology, can save up to 50% in galley ventilation energy consumption, Halton Marine claims.

In traditional systems, galley airflows are maintained at a constant level, whereas with M.A.R.V.E.L. the ventilation exhaust and supply air volumes are adjusted according to actual need. It identifies the status of cooking appliances and optimises the required exhaust airflow for each galley hood. At the same time, the system is designed to ensure comfortable conditions for galley personnel by automatically maintaining pre-set temperature levels inside the galley.

Halton Marine executive Tommi Rantanen said “We are developing and testing our solution for these ships in close collaboration with the customer. The deal we have signed, and the hood deliveries included within it, means we are further strengthening our market position with regards to cruise ships.”

Also focusing on delivering energy savings is Florida-headquartered Almaco. It has developed its Galley Energy Management (GEM) system, which allows the owner to define the times when equipment will be in use, shutting down all other equipment and saving energy across the galley. According to its marketing vice president Ana Albert, “Galley technology is the third largest energy consumer on a vessel and the greatest opportunity to save energy in this area is by cutting off equipment that is not being actively used. It may seem like an obvious solution, but often galley equipment is left on even when it is not being used.”


“Galley technology is the third largest energy consumer on a vessel and the greatest opportunity to save energy in this area is by cutting off equipment that is not being actively used" Ana Albert (Almaco)

She continued “The biggest savings can be made on vertical cooking equipment such as cooking ranges and deep fat fryers, particularly when you add ventilation control. Once the ventilation is synchronised with the equipment, energy use is optimised as the ventilation only occurs for equipment that is actively in use, and this can reduce overall energy waste by up to 30%.”

Almaco has recently completed deliveries to the first vessel featuring the second-generation version of the system, GEM 2.0, which features a number of upgrades. Ms Albert said “GEM 2.0 enables the user to control and monitor data remotely and gives a very structured presentation of the huge amount of data collected from the galley. Additionally, it is possible to set the system up to monitor water consumption.”

Almaco is also developing other complementary systems designed to improve the way cruise ship owners control energy, water and steam consumption in food handling areas. These include its Refrigeration Equipment Monitoring (REM), Precision Air Cooler (PAC) and Fast Thawing Chamber (FTC).

Another key element in Almaco’s ongoing R&D programme is developing systems that cater specifically for the Asian market, including the fast-growing Chinese sector. “No other vendor has done the work to design tailor-made solutions to the extent that we have,” claimed Ms Albert. Working with Asian owners, “We have developed Asian-specific equipment, such as Korean barbecues and woks for the Asian market,” she said.

Almaco has achieved considerable success over the past year, winning orders from new owners and shipyards, as well as established clients. The company reports that it now has confirmed cruise ship orders stretching through to 2022, with options to 2025. As a result of recent orders it is currently working to supply galley equipment to a total of 24 new cruise vessels building at yards in Germany, France, Japan, for leading owners including Aida Cruises, MSC, NCL, Genting, Crystal River Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Saga Cruises and RCCL.

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