After Engineering Manager Marcel Montrose came on board at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), he reached out to the Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre to test the data collected by the Canadian Coast Guard on a Grand Banks fisheries patrol vessel, the CCGS Cygnus. He needed to prove that a hull‑cleaning method improved fuel consumption efficiencies.
"The NRC was already doing performance evaluations based on fuel‑consumption data, so we asked them to help us leverage the information to determine how cleaning marine growth and debris from the hull affected speed and power," he says. "Quantifying the improvement, which turned out to be 5%, helped us enhance operations planning—including cleaning frequency."
According to Montrose, this research project opened DFO's eyes to the benefits of working with the NRC. "The Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre's skills in engineering innovations and critical thinking have become important aspects of our daily lives."
On the west coast, BC Ferries was also able to tap into the Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre's talents. As one of the world's largest ferry operators, the company has more than 35 vessels that transport people (60,000 passengers per day), cars and cargo along 25 routes. They wanted to assess the effectiveness of an exceptionally smooth hull coating that lowers fuel consumption by reducing friction on the hull as it cuts through water. They had collected 10 months' worth of data before and after applying the test coating to the Queen of Oak Bay, a 310‑car ferry. Chanwoo Bae, BC Ferries' Engineering Manager of Naval Architecture, retained the NRC to quantify the coating's effects. The Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre used specialized instrumentation to measure the variation in power demand before and after the coating was applied. "This is only one of many initiatives to increase vessel efficiency, consume less fuel and protect the environment," he says.
The data accumulated minute‑by‑minute requires cutting‑edge analytics, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Bae reports that, realizing AI is the future of data analytics, the Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre retained a graduate student from Simon Fraser University who specializes in ML and AI to delve deeper into the BC Ferries data and manage the complex analytics.