Objectives of the service
Profumo proposes novel weather-based services for the navigation with the aim of granting fuel saving, pollution reduction (as required by recent regulations)and improving safety for passengers, crew, cargo and ships’ structures.
Reduce FUEL consumption and environmental POLLUTION
Many studies show that typically the impact of meteo-marine factors (wind, waves, currents) in not calm weather conditions can be quantified as around 12% of the overall propulsion energy (i.e. fuel) consumption.
Improve SAFETY of navigation
The context of Profumo services includes the reduction of meteomarine conditions impact on navigation safety through the provision of ship-specific weather routing, aimed at both the prevention of sea accidents and associated costs, and the optimisation of fuel consumption with associated environmental benefits.
Cooperative data gathering for high definition weather products
Sea surface is scarcely covered by land-station-like meteo observations.
Profumo considers vessels as a moving and distributed meteo network of weather stations. Profumo proposes a collaborative model: end-users cooperate to the Profumo services providing their own geo-referenced Meteo-marine measures gathered from common on-board sensors (pre-installed meteo and GNSS stations).
If properly used, more data means more reliability!
Weather models can produce good nowcasts and forecasts only if “fed” with a good and proper amount of actual measured data. On sea, and mostly offshore, meteorological observations are extremely sparse: Profumo uses vessels as moving weather stations, which continuously provide this precious information.
Innovative data processing
The meteorological data from vessels are not-certified measurements, i.e. from standard reference stations, so they are unusable as-is in the models. Therefore, a specific data processing merges and extracts proper information as input for the high resolution numerical weather models.
Users and their needs
Professional users represent the key community for the service provision and the core of the cooperative schema for the meteorological data collection.
The objective of Profumo is in fact the provision of weather-based services to maritime community.
Profumo services are aimed – broadly – at two objectives:
- Improved safety of navigation and
- Fuel consumption/pollution reduction.
Although the first objective is of outmost importance and can constitute per se a remarkable success, it is clearly the second objective that represents a business opportunity, being more perceived by the end user community as a strong value added in economic terms.
Profumo services address commercial and recreational vessels in Mediterranean Sea at first instance, extending Profumo services, as second step, to the European side of the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic.
Service/ system concept
A novel concept on weather routing
Profumo combines innovative components.
Collaborative data from private ships and boats is a precious source of information for the meteo-marine monitoring and is profitable for the middle/short weather forecast and routing. The specially developed data processing and fusion “merges and cleans” measurements extracting proper information for the assimilation into high resolution nowcasting and forecasting models.
The innovation also resides in the route calculation algorithm: DIJK (is the contraction of Dijkstra, an algorithm conceived by Edsger Wybe Dijkstra).
DIJK is based on a new generation of shortest path searching algorithm on an almost continuous domain, working with any kind of cost function. Instead of evaluating a limited set of rigidly defined routes connecting two given points (departure and arrival ports), DIJK dynamically built up the optimized route choosing it from a virtually infinite set of possibilities. The complexity of the conditioning phenomena (meteo conditions, navigation setting, ship response, etc.) is managed upstream and it is used to draw the optimised route. This process is conceived to operate continuously, answering in nearly real-time to any request of route optimisation. DIJK takes into account possible voyage constrains such as speed limitations, time scheduling and eventually comfort and loading conditions.
Space Added Value
Profumo services involve the use of three space assets, which are fundamental for the success of the services: Satellite navigation, Satellite communications, Earth Observation.
Satellite navigation constitutes the obvious prerequisite for the provision of weather routing services, which are intrinsically location basedThey also are used for measuring tropospheric parameters of meteorological interest. Satellite communication is the transmission mean for the delivery of services and the transmission of meteo data in sea areas not covered by other transmission channels. If needed, it can be also used for sending the geo-referenced meteo-measurements from the cooperative users to the service centre.
The Skylink is in charge of the communication of data from ground to board and reverse. SkyLink analyses the received data and according to several delta and rules, SkyLink implements a protocol for the compression and optimization of data. Skylink is produced by ESNAH young dynamic Belgian company. Skylink it has been developed in the frame of ESA IAP project SkyLiberty.
Finally, Earth Observation data from satellites are intrinsically used within the standard meteo services, which provide the starting point (global forecasts) for the targeted services. They are also useful for improving local model performances.
Following the 3-month pilot, the results obtained have proven the achievement of the project goals. A fuel saving of 2.74% while using the suggested route has validated the proposed algorithm. The potentials for economic and ecological benefits of the system has been demonstrated. Considering the room for improvement for further fuel savings when constraints such as travel corridors and short distances are removed, Profumo has the capacity for growth and provide even further savings. Furthermore, the services availability during the pilot had a up-time of more than 90%, which has proven the robustness and the operability of the system. The system is being updated to allow for a successful future commercialisation.