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MARIN launches fi rst ‘Digital Twin’ to investigate reducing emissions

Guilhem Gaillarde,

The Netherlands Initiative for Changing Oceans (NICO) is a special oceanographic expedition launched by the Dutch Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ), with its flagship the RV Pelagia. The expedition is taking place over seven months and will cover different areas in the North Atlantic and the Caribbean.

More than 40 research questions from 20 universities and research institutes, including MARIN, have been integrated into the NICO programme: from seabed samples for climate research to viruses, from coral reefs to whales, from shipping noise nuisance to deep-sea mining and sustainable propulsion systems.

Radiated noise A propelled ship can suffer from cavitation and related radiated noise, which can have a negative effect on sea life. In order to prevent such nuisance, it is important to understand the phenomenon and the conditions in which it occurs. Therefore, MARIN has stepped on board to measure propeller-radiated noise.

Water quality plays a role in this issue and the fact that the RV Pelagia will sail in different environments, in terms of salinity, temperature, pressure, and depth will provide a unique set of data, which will give more insight into this topic.

Without emissions We are also measuring the way the ship is performing her mission - gathering data on her position, encountered waves and wind conditions, current, motions and fuel consumption. This data will be used to set up a ‘digital twin’ of the RV Pelagia that will take up the challenge to sail the same route but without emissions.

A digital twin using wind as its main propulsion was a natural candidate to be the first Digital TwinD. The mission will be

performed again at a later stage with another alternative engine, using H2 for example.

By combining onboard data and real missions to check the feasibility of alternative propulsion systems, shipowners will hopefully be more convinced that alternatives are possible and it will highlight where developments are needed to make it happen. Changing the way sea transport operates is crucial to avoid an irreversible change in our oceans!

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