First installation a success: GADCOOLER(TM) saves fuel and reduces emissions


The new GADCOOLER(TM) ship cooling technology provides major energy savings in generating ship cooling. Primarily intended for cruise ships and passenger ferries, the product is a smart solution to cut fuel costs. It uses existing onboard excess waste heat sources to provide chilled cooling water for the vessel’s air-conditioning needs, thus replacing the need to run onboard cooling compressors.

The Gadcooler has now been successfully tested onboard Eckerö Line’s cruise ferry m/s Finlandia over a period of two years. Although the need for cooling onboard passenger ferries in the Baltic is restricted to a few summer months, which even were comparatively very cold the last two years, the new cooling system installed has proven its good efficiency, saving, according to Eckerö Line, 140 tonnes in fuel and reducing emissions, such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Carbon dioxides have been reduced by 430 tonnes.

Rederi Ab Eckerö, the owner of m/s Finlandia, operated by Eckerö Line, is very satisfied with the pilot installation. The ferry operates between Helsinki and Tallinn with up to 2,000 passengers and 650 vehicles onboard. The technology worked efficiently, and without complications, during its two year long piloting period, the company announced in its recent press release on the subject.

The technology

In summertime and in tropical regions cooling is typically a major onboard consumer of fuel. On big cruise ships operating in tropical conditions cooling can consume as much as 10 MW of power. Normally cooling is provided by using fuel consuming cooling compressors.

Gadcooler utilizes existing excess heat sources, such as rest heat from the engine cooling water or heat from boilers, to provide chilled cooling water in a non-toxic absorption process, resembling the operational principles of gas refrigerators. Only a small amount of energy is needed for the transfer pumps resulting in fuel savings and also in less emissions. In the cooling process a non-toxic medium, lithium bromide, is used as medium.

The Gadcooler is practically maintenance-free and it is fitted with a smart control system which optimizes the cooling efficiency.

The Gadcooler Chiller units are provided with DNVGL type approval certification.

The prototype installation has a capacity of 500 kW. The Gadcooler is avalilable as one or several units up to 5,000 kW while still providing a practical system size for convenient installation. As an example, a 1,200 kW unit has a approximate physical size of 4.8m x 1.6m x 3m (lxwxh). A typical cruise ship installation could consist of two 1,500 kW units through which, typically, one chiller compressor could be shut-off thus saving fuel and compressor running-hours, also reducing service needs.

In addition to the cruise and ferry markets Gadcooler is now also offered for various types of cargo and work vessels through smaller down to 250 kW units.

The return on investment of the Gadcooler is short making it an obvious choice for shipowners when looking for further savings in operational costs.

Gadlab Engineering

The Gadcooler has been developed by Gadlab Engineering with patent pending. Gadlab Engineering provides the complete system including designing the connections with the existing onboard systems.

Gadlab Engineering Oy, based in Helsinki, Finland, is a privately owned company established in 2006. The staff, most of which are engineers, have decades of experience from designing for the maritime industry. The maritime engineering company designs and implements custom-made solutions for ships and floating structures. Vessels include icebreakers, cruise ships, road ferries, and also work with pipe laying vessels and windfarm construction. Clients include renowned shipowners, cruise ship and icebreaker constructing shipyards, and also maritime authorities. Typical tasks include hull classification, machinery space design, and HVAC design as well as various feasibility studies, on-site supervising, inspection, 3D-modelling, and mechanical engineering. The Gadcooler is the first own product developed by the company.

“We are very satisfied with the outcome of the first installation on board Eckerö Line’s cruise ferry. It is always tough for a shipowner to agree on installing a prototype. I want to thank Eckerö Line for the trust in Gadlab Engineering,” notes CTO Markus Nuotio. “The results were excellent considering that the system was needed over just a few months of the year. If the vessel would operate in the Mediterranean Sea or in tropical waters, the comparative savings could quadruple.”

He notes that shipowners and officers onboard are often worried about possible major difficulties in integrating new systems onboard. “I want to point out how problem-free this installation was and how easily and seamlessly it was integrated with the vessel’s systems and operations onboard. Its simplicity to operate also means it is instantly available whenever needed to save in cooling energy onboard. This is one major benefit of Gadcooler.” Another benefit he wants to point out, considering increasing environmental restrictions set on ship systems, is that the clean cooling medium of the Gadcooler is water.

“Gadlab Engineering currently also collaborates with Meyer Turku Oy aiming at introducing this technology on future cruise ships,” Paul Siljama, CEO at Gadlab Engineering, notes. In their ´Letter of Reference´ the R&D Department at Meyer Turku Oy states: ´We believe that Gadcooler technology has high potential to substantially improve future cruise ships’ overall efficiency. Gadcooler may become a standard solution commonly used for all newbuildings in the future.´