MARIN Research & Development

Published in category: Offshore Oil & Gas

Marin Dir. Bas Buchner

Partnering for performance

Bas Buchner

The independent Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) assists clients in developing new concepts, testing designs and solving problems. “We want to be a reliable, innovative, independent service provider for the maritime industry and society as a whole,” says MARIN President Bas Buchner. Through sophisticated model testing facilities, simulators and full-scale trials, MARIN’s objective is clear – making ships cleaner safer and smarter.

“We want to contribute to optimal and sustainable maritime structures as well as safe and efficient operations. We strive to be a world leader in development, application and transfer of hydrodynamic and nautical knowledge, and the pairing of this knowledge to other technological areas,” states Mr Buchner.

Traditionally MARIN has played a predominantly design verification and advisory role, however, due to changes in the industry emphasising innovative solutions and safe operations, MARIN’s role has changed. With an 80-year track record of expertise and combination of tools available, MARIN recognised that its role could be applied much earlier in the concept development process of ships and offshore structures, ultimately allowing for greater freedom to apply changes.

MARIN has been involved in testing and simulation projects for Damen designs ranging from naval ships to tug boats and fast patrol vessels. In 2015, after extensive testing, MARIN confirmed the efficiency of the first LNG-powered Damen EcoLiner tanker – Europe’s greenest inland vessel. Developed to improve fuel economy while reducing emissions, the vessel reduces fuel costs by up to 15%. The design combined the world’s first installations of the Air-Lubricated Hull (ACES), a gas-electrical shaft propulsion system, and one of the first Van der Velden FLEX Tunnel installations.

“A ship like the EcoLiner is an example of the fact that MARIN and Damen’s cooperation is wider than just working on specific designs. The air lubrication concept was developed in a long-term cooperation with many European partners. Together we studied the technology needed and problems to be solved before an actual ship could be built,” states Mr Buchner. Testing of the innovative design ranged from simulations to model tests and even full-scale trials.

Equipped with MARIN’s verification, Damen confidently placed the 3,040 m3 capacity EcoLiner on the market. The potential to drastically reduce inland shipping costs and establish sustainable operations generated a great deal of interest among operators especially with inland emissions regulations on the horizon.

Additionally, in 2016, Damen commissioned MARIN to perform model tests on a Wind Farm Service Vessel (WSV) equipped with a DP system, enabling the vessel to maintain its position during transfer operations. The DP tests were conducted to determine vessel behaviour in operating conditions and to verify the predicted DP control strategy for reducing the vessel’s travel time to a wind turbine. Both station keeping and transit tests were performed in environments which combined current, irregular waves and wind. During the transit tests, three approach and departure variations were tested using the DP control strategy to get a clear indication of the most effective approach.

In addition to direct collaborations, MARIN and Damen are members of the Cooperative Research Ships (CRS) – an international organisation aimed at jointly carrying out projects on ship hydromechanics such as powering, seakeeping, manoeuvring and ship operations. Members gather annually and vote on research programmes for the next few years, with an average of 10-15 projects running simultaneously.

“Although members pay an annual membership fee, membership is achieved by active participation in projects. This highlights the unique character and success of the CRS: researching its members’ ship hydromechanics, for the members and by the members,” says Mr Buchner. Damen is also involved in MARIN’s Joint Industry Projects , which in comparison to the CRS, focus on one issue and jointly solve a problem and develop a new methodology.

The future for MARIN shows a strong development in the role of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in the maritime industry. “We have always been involved in the development, validation and application of CFD for the maritime sector. As a result, we have our own CFD tools as well as expertise in the interpretation of the results,” says Mr Buchner. In order to accommodate several current projects requiring a combination of calculations and model testing, MARIN has recently invested in a large (4000 core) computer cluster. The combination of a CFD code and large computer cluster will see a new virtual CFD facility for the maritime sector take shape. This new facility will allow MARIN to continue to conduct the most complex and advanced CFD calculations and undoubtedly cross paths with Damen in the future as well.