A new online tool helps fishermen tap into how they can make their vessels more fuel efficient. It’s called the Fishing Vessel Energy Analysis Tool and it was grounds tested in longline, seine, gillnet, troll and pot fisheries.

“So, during the course of that fuel efficiency project, we went out on several dozen vessels and installed data loggers and strain gauges and measured all the different types of energy loads on the on the vessels. And so the purpose of the tool is to compile that information and put it in a format that that we hope will be useful to people.” 

Chandler Kemp is an energy consultant with Nunatak Energetics. For three years he partnered with industry stakeholders to design the user-friendly fuel tool. Just enter data about the boat, its fisheries and operating patterns and it gives estimates on what fractions of the fuel goes through the different loads.

“So for example, it will give an estimate of how much energy goes to refrigeration system versus propulsion versus electrical loads on the boat.”

Outputs include freezer and RSW systems, hydraulics and hybrid options. Kemp says a hybrid propulsion system can be a fuel saver in several fisheries.

 “Trolling and gill netting come to mind, when  there’s a large fraction of the time where the propulsion engine is doing very little work, you’re idling along at a low speed, maybe even deploying some drag bags to help slow down the boat. Or you’re maybe just drifting with the net. And in those cases, it can make sense to have potentially even a little electric secondary propulsion system. That would allow you to turn off that main engine during times when the load is really low.”

The Energy Analysis Tool is free online and it is loaded with short videos. Find it at the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation website, a project partner along with Sea Grant, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and Navis Energy.