Research Papers: Polar and Arctic Engineering

A Finite Element Method-Based Potential Theory Approach for Optimal Ice Routing

[+] Author and Article Information
Henry Piehl

Department of Marine Technology,
Norwegian University of Science and
Technology, NTNU,
Trondheim 7491, Norway
e-mail: henry.piehl@ntnu.no

Aleksandar-Saša Milaković

Department of Marine Technology,
Norwegian University of Science and
Technology, NTNU,
Trondheim 7491, Norway

Sören Ehlers

Department of Ship Structural
Design and Analysis,
Hamburg University of Technology, TUHH,
Hamburg 21073, Germany

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Ocean, Offshore, and Arctic Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF OFFSHORE MECHANICS AND ARCTIC ENGINEERING. Manuscript received June 10, 2016; final manuscript received June 7, 2017; published online August 8, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Marcelo R. Martins.

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng 139(6), 061502 (Aug 08, 2017) (7 pages) Paper No: OMAE-16-1059; doi: 10.1115/1.4037141 History: Received June 10, 2016; Revised June 07, 2017

Shipping in ice-covered regions has gained high attention within recent years. Analogous to weather routing, the occurrence of ice in a seaway affects the selection of the optimal route with respect to the travel time or fuel consumption. The shorter, direct path between two points—which may lead through an ice-covered area—may require a reduction of speed and an increase in fuel consumption. A longer, indirect route, could be more efficient by avoiding the ice-covered region. Certain regions may have to be avoided completely, if the ice thickness exceeds the ice-capability of the ship. The objective of this study is to develop a computational method that combines coastline maps, route cost information (e.g., ice thickness), transport task, and ship properties to find the optimal route between port of departure, A, and port of destination, B. The development approach for this tool is to formulate the transport task in the form of a potential problem, solve this equation with a finite element method (FEM), and apply line integration and optimization to determine the best route. The functionality of the method is first evaluated with simple test problems and then applied to realistic transport scenarios.

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Fig. 1

Test case setup for routing around the island of Fehmarn

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Fig. 2

Finite element mesh around island of Fehmarn

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Fig. 4

FEM potential field solution

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Fig. 5

Gradient vector field

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Fig. 6

Magnitude of gradient vector field

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Fig. 7

Collection of initial routes computed from vector field

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Fig. 8

Relative route costs for possible paths through gradient vector field

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Fig. 9

Route-straightening procedure

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Fig. 10

Initial and improved northern route around the island if an ice field is present

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Fig. 11

Initial and improved southern route through the strait between island and mainland




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