The start of this year marks an interesting time for us as a company with new projects, new software and new markets.
For me, personally, it marks about four months since I came to Norway, leaving my previous job working on diesel engine combustion and entering an economy thats pretty radically different to the one I left. It’s been a fairly regular topic of conversation once people find out my background – what on earth is there for me to do in a country where the zeitgeist is almost an evangelical crusade against the conventional internal combustion engine?
Any answer worth giving needs a fair bit of explanation. The ICE isnt dead just yet, but the writing is definitely on the wall in a way that seems much more solid than the predictions of some ten or fifteen years ago. As I’m sure a lot of readers know, Norway is the electric vehicle capital of the world. The proportion of Teslas, Nissan Leafs, VW e-Polos and BMW i series is immediately noticeable to a casual visitor and even more so to a guy who has lived here for a few months. New ferries and busses are almost exclusively being tendered for proposals with electric or fuel cell propulsion, with hybrid powertrains only under sufferance. But there is a fairly clear delineation in the marketplace between these e-boats of the future and the conventional diesel or bunker fuelled ships that have to stretch their legs.
However these too are not exempt from the march of progress, being subject to increasingly stringent emissions laws and relying on either new improved applications of old tricks to improve efficiency or entering new waters by shifting to engines capable of dual fuel usage. Its an interesting time to say the least.
The rise of electric vehicles means that engineering analysis is more critical now than ever before. On the whole, while battery technology is improving rapidly, the age old energy density question of hydrocarbon fuels vs batteries is still firmly sitting on the hydrocarbon side of the seesaw. Any vehicle or device design needs careful optimisation to squeeze the best performance out of the hardware it is fitted with.
We can offer a lot of services in this regard – CFD optimisation of hull forms and propellors; FEA studies of structural components to get the best performance for minimum weight and recommendations on composite choices to reduce structural weight still further.
Something that we’re adding to our line up in 2018 in the light of this rise of electrical and hybrid ship development are acausal 1D modelling capabilities to allow us to model complex systems in a way that is more flexible and rapid than traditional methods. From our own research and talking to clients, this type of modelling is something of a rarity in Norway, despite the advantages it shows in being able to model multiple physical domains (electrical, mechanical, thermal) and systems in a way that is both more detailed than a typical paper study exercise and flexible in terms of defining a crafts operational limits.
We’re also making some moves into robotics – yours truly attended a session at UiA at Grimstad earlier this month and managed to make an appearance in the GCENode newsletter – and continuing our excellent research and development partnerships with a number of university groups and private companies.
Talk to us today to see how we can help make 2018 your year.