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Tug Technology & Business

Keel coolers eliminate silt, sand and seawater

Mon 25 Jun 2018 by Martyn Wingrove

Keel coolers eliminate silt, sand and seawater
A Gridcooler was specifically engineered then installed on a tug in the US

RW Fernstrum & Co’s Gridcooler closed-circuit cooling system removes the need for an onboard heat exchanger, raw water pumps, strainers and seawater piping

RW Fernstrum & Co has adapted its range of engine cooling systems for workboats, including tugboats and pusher vessels. It supplies closed-circuit cooling systems for all types of vessels, eliminating the need for many other machinery elements in an engineroom.

Using a closed-circuit cooling systems saves space in a workboat for other operational equipment. It also minimises the risk of silt and sand from building up in the cooling circuit and protects the system from salt water corrosion.

RW Fernstrum & Co export sales manager Dale Gusick explained the benefits and application to Tug Technology & Business. He said its Gridcooler keel cooling system is engineered to meet the performance requirements of the vessel’s equipment and operating conditions.

“Sizing a keel cooler for a particular application is critical,” he said. “In the demanding world of tugs and shallow draft pushers, a properly sized Gridcooler keel cooler and/or WEKA Boxcooler will allow a vessel to reach its full working potential.”

Gridcooler is mounted externally on the vessel’s hull below the waterline. Engine coolant is circulated through the keel cooler, which transfers heat from the coolant before it returns to the engine.

“Keel cooling provides a zero-discharge solution eliminating the possibility of contaminants entering the seawater”

A closed-circuit cooling system has distinct advantages when compared to an open-circuit cooling system. It eliminates the need for an onboard heat exchanger, raw water pumps, strainers and seawater piping. It does not have the high maintenance associated with open circuit cooling systems, said Mr Gusick. The use of a keel cooler eliminates the need for seawater to enter the hull.

“From an environmentally friendly perspective, keel cooling provides a zero-discharge solution eliminating the possibility of contaminants entering the seawater,” he said.

Gridcooler keel cooler was originally developed for the US Navy’s landing craft during World War II. RW Fernstrum & Co has been engineering and manufacturing them for the commercial marine industry since 1949. Much has changed in its design as these have evolved over the years into a line of keel coolers that offer nearly limitless variations.

“We consider the design parameters of the vessel, the operating conditions, and equipment requirements”

“When a cooling system is engineered, we consider the design parameters of the vessel, the operating conditions and equipment requirements,” said Mr Gusick. Keel coolers are now primarily engineered to cool propulsion engines, auxiliary systems, bow thrusters and generator sets.

RW Fernstrum & Co president Sean Fernstrum said the company works with ship designers, builders and owners to meet the unique needs of each vessel. “The standard, off-the-shelf solutions are not always the best fit,” he said, adding that the company has the “ability to develop new solutions for vessels as their design evolves to meet changing environmental needs”.

RW Fernstrum & Co received certification ISO 9001:2015 from the International Organization for Standardization in May this year. This followed an audit conducted by Verisys Registrars, also in May. The scope of this registration included the engineering, design, manufacturing and sales of heat exchangers for marine and industrial applications.

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