Marine ElectronicsMonitoringSignol deepens its maritime credentials with successful tugboat trial

Signol deepens its maritime credentials with successful tugboat trial

Signol, a software company using behavioural science to cut fuel consumption, operating costs and emissions, has concluded its five-month pilot project with Young Brothers, the freight handling company that transports all ocean cargo between the Hawaiian Islands.

The project, the first of its kind onboard Tugboats, sought to leverage big data and behavioural science best practices to nudge Captains to save fuel, thus reducing operating costs and CO2 emissions. The five-month pilot ran from June to October 2022 and was partly sponsored by Elemental Excelerator, the Honolulu-based climate tech accelerator and investor. Enrolled Captains received personalised goals, motivational reports on their performance and impromptu notifications via email, as well as having access to the Signol web app, where they could review and reflect upon their own individual performance.

During the period Signol was in use, fuel consumption was reduced by 150 MT (39,000 gallons) compared to similar journeys made in the previous year – a significant reduction of approximately 5.45% – equivalent to avoiding the emission of 478 tonnes of CO2. The results were calculated by analysing specific weather-adjusted vessel performance, cargo weight and voyage route to reach a comparison of fuel consumption for each tug-voyage combination year-on-year. The vast majority of Captains involved in the trial improved their performance, with the most significant gains coming from those toward the bottom of the historic performance bell curve.

The trial highlights the versatility of Signol’s solutions across all segments of the maritime industry, having already proved commercially significant savings on tankers, bulkers and container ships.

Harriet Johnson, Head of Maritime at Signol, said: “As a former mariner myself, I recognise that the behaviour of sailors on board vessels is an important and often overlooked component of vessel performance. Vessel optimisation teams throughout the industry have rightly focussed initially on the performance of the steel through the water, yet can sometimes forget the importance of engaging with and motivating the crew to be proactive around efficiency and carbon emission reduction initiatives.  Signol offers a friendly, positive and engaging user experience unlike anything previously seen in the industry, which is why we are seeing significant fuel savings from re-energised and enthusiastic mariners.”

“Elemental has been delighted to support Signol’s work with Young Brothers. This partnership demonstrates the potential of Signol’s behavior change technology to support freight handlers around the world in their efforts to decarbonize shipping, as well as demonstrating how behavioral nudges and carbon reductions can also result in cost savings for the company,” says Gabriel Scheer, Director of Innovation, Mobility & Energy, Elemental Exceler​a​tor.

The results come as the sector strives to decarbonise in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s 2050 strategy; and once again establishes that behaviour change alone can lead to a material reduction in ships’ energy demand and carbon emissions, whilst also lowering operational costs.

About Signol 

Signol engages captains and crew with personalised performance feedback to motivate decision-making that reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Signol achieves this by deploying cutting-edge behaviour change techniques through a scalable communications platform.

‍By the end of 2022, Signol saved aviation and shipping customers $16 million in fuel costs and 60,000 mt of CO2 emissions. In shipping, Signol proved the potential impact of behavioural intervention by completing landmark trials with customers, including Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, saving millions of dollars in fuel costs and thousands of metric tonnes of CO2.

About Elemental Excelerator

Elemental Excelerator is a global nonprofit investor based in Honolulu, Hawaii, with offices in Palo Alto, California, focused on scaling climate solutions and social impact for all communities. Elemental fills two fundamental gaps to climate change: funding first-of-a-kind projects for climate technologies in frontline communities and embedding equity and access into climate solutions. It has deployed 115+ first-of-their-kind technology projects and invested in more than 150 startups in the energy, mobility, water, circular economy, and agriculture sectors. Those companies have raised over $7 billion in follow-on funding.

‍Elemental anchors itself at the intersection of climate impact and social justice – and works with entrepreneurs and community leaders to advance systemic change for a more just climate future.

About Young Brothers

Young Brothers, LLC is Hawai‘i’s trusted interisland freight company. Founded more than 120 years ago, Young Brothers is responsible for transporting 100% of all ocean cargo that originates and ends in Hawaiʻi and is the only water carrier to serve Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i. The publicly regulated company offers 12 weekly sailings between the ports of Nāwiliwili, Honolulu, Kaumalapau, Kaunakakai, Kahului, Kawaihae and Hilo. More than 380 highly skilled employees move what matters most to Hawai‘i using state-of-the-art shoreside equipment and a fleet of eight barges and eight tugboats, including four fuel-efficient Kāpena-class tugs. Young Brothers is an independently managed subsidiary of Foss and part of the Saltchuk family of companies.

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