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Case Study

A Short Vessel History

The Point Sur’s keel was laid in 1981 by Atlantic Marine Inc. in Florida. Born as the research vessel Cape Florida, she was originally operated by the University of Miami on the East and Gulf coasts. Realizing that there was a need for the vessel’s talents on the West Coast, the National Science Foundation transferred her to Monterey Bay, California where she has since operated for the past 30 years. During this time, the Point Sur’s role has been to act as a platform for countless scientists to discover the mysteries of the sea. Her screws have also turned to the farthest reaches of the Aleutian Islands and recently, 8,200 miles to Antarctica. Marine biology, chemical oceanography, geology, and meteorology are just some of the areas in which she has helped to contribute to the greater knowledge of our oceans. According to Chief Engineer Barrett Carpenter, the Point Sur is a resolute vessel with an equally determined and hardworking crew.

“FloScan fuel computers were installed on the Point Sur’s main engines for two reasons; to reduce its impact on the ocean environment and because the vessel is federally owned and funded through taxpayer dollars, so consuming less fuel helps to conserve valuable government resources.”
—Barrett Carpenter
Chief Engineer, R/V Point Sur

Current Mission And Status

As this case study was being developed, the Point Sur was returning to her home port at Moss Landing, California after a five month scientific deployment to Antarctica. While there she operated out of Palmer Station and carried scientists who were studying geological formations, tracking whales, and diving for marine organisms. The information for this case study was developed while the Point Sur was still in transit heading north from Antarctica making stops for additional science operations including seismology off the coast of Chile, and chemical oceanography in the Sea of Cortez.

Photo Courtesy of Scott Hansen

Reason For Installing FloScan Fuel Monitoring System On Vessel

“Ecology and efficiency are top priorities within the UNOLS fleet of research vessels,” said Chief Engineer Barrett Carpenter “Therefore reducing human influence on the marine ecosystem is extremely important to Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and we are constantly looking for methods to more accurately monitor the Point Sur’s fuel use. FloScan fuel computers were installed on the Point Sur’s main engines for two reasons: to reduce its impact on the ocean environment and because the vessel is federally owned and funded through taxpayer dollars, so consuming less fuel helps to conserve valuable government resources.“

FloScan Equipment Installed

In 2009 the R/V Point Sur was equipped with two FloScan Series 8600 fuel computers, one on each of its D379B Caterpillar main engines. Included in the systems are supply and return sensors with pulsation dampers which achieve flow rate repeatability to 0.5%.

Experience With The System Since Installation

“We have had positive results after installing FloScan fuel computers on the Point Sur in two key ways,” Carpenter reported. “First, we have seen a reduction in the amount of fuel consumed because of changes in the way we

 
 
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