Turbocharger Sustainable Airfilter: First Line of Defense

Turbo filter

One easy way to save fuel that not all cruise operators may be aware of is the air filtration on the air intake for the turbocharger, according to Drew Williamson, president and managing director of NorthWest Clean Air Company (NWCA), which provides custom-made air filters that come with a 10-year warranty.

“The maintenance of the turbochargers is very important,” said Williamson. “It is the air management system for the engines. The air from the engine room, which goes into the engines, comes from the outside and contains dust, oil vapors and salt particles.

“Dirty intake air filters will affect the air pressure, the effectiveness of the turbine or compressor and the charged air cooler. This in turn means increased fuel consumption.”

He cited a study by Wartsila that showed that a differential pressure increase alone led to significantly increased fuel consumption.

(A differential air pressure caused by a dirty air filer for a 12V46 engine increased the fuel consumption by 151.2 tons over 6,000 hours.)

Compared to standard blue polyester-like filter wraps coming in rolls that crew have to cut and fit to the air intake, NWCA’s filters come custom-fit to the silencer dimensions of the leading turbocharger manufactures such as ABB, MAN and Mitsubishi MET.

“Simplicity is the key word,” Williamson added. “Our one-piece custom-fit filters come with adjustable Velcro flaps and can be installed very easily, usually in less than one minute. It is also an easy refit.

“It so much easier compared to the time-consuming and labor-intensive work of cutting filter material to size from a roll and then try to fit. It can also be a dirty work as the old filter is dirty and oily, and then have to be offloaded as waste as well.”

The NWCA filters are made of four layers of woven polypropylene and is an electrostatic material. It has been heat treated and is preshrunk and can be washed a thousand times, according to Williamson.

He said that the NWCA Series 2 filters are designed to allow a lot more air through initially, while the electrostatic attracts particles, and as they begin to load up, it becomes a mechanical filter with the dust particles and oil embedded. Then the filters are cleaned and can be used again and again, he said, making it a sustainable product.

“We not only save fuel, we also save a lot of man hours, as well as being environmentally friendly.”

NWCA was established in 1993 after developing more cost effective and environmentally beneficial methods of filtering air onboard ships for HVAC and engine turbochargers.

The customer base is global including cruise lines, ferry companies, cargo ships and super yachts.

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