How to make fuel savings with little effort

Fuel economy is an evergreen topic, and everyone is chasing the perfect formula for bringing down fuel consumption. Many aspects affect the fuel economy, and you can initiate a lot of initiatives to save fuel – one of them is eco-driving and energy monitoring. Blueflow is an energy management system that among other things, promotes eco-driving by giving you instant feedback on your navigation.

We’ve talked with Kim Sjögren, captain at the Swedish shipowner Styrsöbolaget and one of the most experienced captains in eco-driving to learn about his experiences and to ask him about his tips on how to save fuel with Blueflow.

Learning by doing and immediate results

With more than 15 years of experience at sea and a background as AB and captain on both bunker vessels and different types of passenger ferries, Kim is a well-versed mariner. He is an eco-driving pioneer and has more than eight years of experience with Blueflow. He is also responsible for educating his colleagues at Styrsöbolaget in eco-driving, including Blueflow, so he knows the system and its features very well. 

Back in 2011, Kim’s vessel was the first to have Blueflow installed and his colleagues at Styrsöbolaget, and he learned the system by doing. “As we were the first to work with Blueflow, no one had any expectations for us, and we could make our own experiences. Every day we shared our findings, and after a while, we had made significant progress”, Kim concludes. In the years that followed, the system was installed on almost all of Styrsöbolaget’s 18 vessels – an investment has led to 20-25% fuel savings over the last nine years for the Swedish shipowner.

“The best thing about Blueflow is that you don’t have to dig deep to make results: You get instant feedback, and you can see the result of your work by watching the fuel consumption on the screen”, Kim concludes. 

Some captains are reluctant to have Blueflow installed onboard as they feel the shipowner is monitoring them. We asked Kim what he thinks of the fact that the office has access to his results. “Honestly, I never think about it, and having Blueflow installed helps me perform better”, Kim says.  


Everyone can save fuel – with only little effort

According to Kim, almost anyone can optimise fuel economy, and he also states that it can be done with only a few adjustments. “Using Blueflow is just like driving a car – you need to find your way. Blueflow instantly shows how your way of manoeuvring affects fuel consumption, and you can correct your behaviour in favour of fuel economy immediately”, says Kim.

Time schedules are often tight and cannot be exceeded but even small adjustments like lowering the speed, change acceleration pattern, rerouting and docking behaviour etc., make major impact on fuel consumption and even small changes can have a positive effect on the fuel economy without influencing the schedule negatively.

It might seem a little far-fetched, but Kim knows what he is talking about as he has achieved significant savings himself. Besides, he has trained several captains in using the system, and he has seen the results of even small adjustments in manoeuvering. A couple of years ago he went to Sydney to train the captains from Harbour City Ferries in using Blueflow, and although 90% of the captains were convinced that they could not lower the fuel consumption any further without jeopardising the tight time schedules, the results were uncontradictable. Some of the captains made small adjustments such as lowering the revolutions which led to a barely noticeable lower speed during the crossings. They also made small changes to acceleration speed and then docking. These adjustments had a significant impact on fuel consumption. It also opened up their way of thinking and led to fuel savings of up to 50%. 

“I believe that whether you succeed with Blueflow or not is up to you and your attitude towards the system. The system is easy to use, and you get instant feedback on your effort. Most captains are convinced when they see the results”, Kim states.