Both OMT and Accelleron have the same customer base, in the same industry, and together provide the two key systems adjacent to the engine, increasing the profile of both suppliers within the sector. “It gives the combined company two pillars in the industry instead of one. Being together also improves the way we can interact with customers and simplifies things for those customers.”
Klaus also sees a significant opportunity for OMT and Accelleron in developing a common pathway to further unlock the power of digitalization around the combustion engine.
“With a suitable sensor to detect the behavior and the operation of the fuel injector, you can collect a lot of information that you can use to analyze the combustion process and create predictions for fuel consumption.”
“Digital technology also makes it possible to detect malfunctions or wear-and-tear on individual injector needles, opening the door to condition-based maintenance. The ability to detect issues at a precise level, immediately – like, injector number two on cylinder five needs changing – would help improve engine performance and save ship owners considerable time and money.”
“Our team from OMT are already in conversations with the Accelleron Digital Technology team on various topics, for instance research on artificial intelligence. There is clear technical synergy and, in the future, we hope, a product synergy we can offer to customers.”
Future fuels need future injection
A key topic within the industry is the development and implementation of future alternative fuels to displace fossil fuels, and thus the shipping industry’s impact on the environment. For Klaus and OMT, this will mean significant changes.
“The fuel injection system is enormously affected by alternative fuels. Each of the potential fuels in play – be that ammonia, methanol or hydrogen – has very different combustion characteristics and energy density which affects the amount, the pressure and the timing of injection. And safety is a crucial concern. Some of these alternatives pose significant potential hazards for the crew, so double-walled pipes and walls are required, alongside additional sensors. They will each require completely redesigned fuel injection and supply systems.”
There’s also no clear winner yet among the alternatives in development. Shipowners may demand dual fuel solutions or wish to retrofit at a later stage as both the technology and the availability of fuels develops over time. “This is our main activity in R&D, right now: future fuels. We’re involved in several projects with customers and engine manufacturers, some of them at the prototype stage, others closer to product development.”
“It’s another good example of where OMT complements Accelleron: together as a group, our potential role in helping decarbonize the marine industry is enormous.”