Lowering Fuel Costs
Fuel costs are often a significant part of operation overhead, depending on the fishery and equipment needs. Understanding ways to lower fuel consumption can be as effective as installing a new engine.
Alaska Sea Grant has created publications on fuel efficiency and understanding other energy systems on your vessel.
Alaska Sea Grant's Fishing Vessel Energy Audits page features an interactive Excel spreadsheet for analyzing your vessel's energy output and consumption. The Vessel Fuel Efficiency Resources webpage provides ideas and information on fuel and energy efficiency research. A helpful publication based on this work describes how you can use an energy audit to lower fuel costs and increase efficiency.
Another resource to consider when thinking about improving fuel consumption is the State of Alaska's lending program for engine fuel efficiency upgrades for qualifying Alaska residents.
For more ideas on improving fishing vessel fuel efficiency through operational changes and new technologies, listen the podcast (below) from an online class sponsored by Alaska Sea Grant.
This document summarizes methods for reducing fuel consumption and saving money, based on published studies and experiences of commercial fishing vessel operators.
On the fuel saving checklist are slowing down, keeping the bottom smooth and clean, reducing weight, watching the exhaust, checking propeller and steering, using Internet and AIS to monitor conditions, minimizing travel, keeping boat records and working with wind, tides and currents. Combining these small changes can result in significant improvement in fuel efficiency.
In this podcast, Glenn Haight is joined by Greg Fisk, Fisk Consulting, Juneau, AK, for a discussion of lowering vessel fuel costs, from operations to technology advances. (1 hour 26 minutes)
Fishing vessel energy audits have resulted in useful hints to reduce overall operation costs. The authors report initial outcomes of a State of Alaska-funded project showing vessel owners how much energy each vessel system and its operations consume, including propulsion, electrical, hydraulics, and refrigeration.
Based on audits, engineers recommend several energy conservation measures (ECMs) such as slowing down, “right sizing” generators, turning off electrical devices when not needed, declutching hydraulics when not in use, and purchasing premium efficiency compressors. Vessel owners are invited to use energy calculation software tools and participate in audits.