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Passenger Ship Technology

Passenger Ship Technology

Propulsion: ‘The future is electric’

Thu 30 Mar 2017 by Rebecca Moore

Propulsion: ‘The future is electric’
All American Marine is constructing a new hybrid electric passenger vessel

Electric hybrid propulsion is quickly gaining momentum in the passenger shipping industry, especially with the announcement of Hurtigruten’s world-first hybrid electric cruise ships

Electric propulsion is one of the buzzwords in passenger shipping right now. Indeed, Hurtigruten chief executive Daniel Skjeldam emphasised the importance of electric propulsion, especially for expedition cruising, at the recent Seatrade Cruise Global in the USA.

He told delegates at a panel discussion on expedition cruising: “The future is electric.”

Hurtigruten is, of course, building two hybrid battery expedition cruise ships at Kleven Verft in Norway. Rolls-Royce is providing new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology for them.

Rolls-Royce designed Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen will incorporate, in addition to the hybrid power solution, the latest automation and control systems including the Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge, the first delivery of two Azipull propellers using permanent magnet technology, two large tunnel thrusters, stabilisers, four Bergen B33:45 engines, winches, and power electric systems.

Mr Skjeldam said: “We think we will take the technology and the industry forward. They will be the most technologically advanced ships that are out there. The expedition industry needs to develop away from using 50-60 year old ships and find new technology that really reduces emissions. That is one of the most important things, when we sail in the most sensitive areas in the world.

“They are the most innovative and sustainable ships out there, taking what has been learned from battery ferries in Scandinavia and putting it into these vessels.”

He said that they were putting aside extra space in the world-first hybrid expedition cruise ships in order to be able to install even more battery packs, as the technology becomes more available. Mr Skjeldam said: “This technology is going forward very fast.”

Another hybrid battery passenger vessel contract has been confirmed as US shipyard All American Marine (AAM) recently inked a deal for the construction of a new hybrid electric passenger vessel to be delivered to Red and White Fleet of San Francisco.

The contract for the new 600-passenger aluminium monohull was signed at the Passenger Vessel Association’s annual convention at MariTrends. Red and White Fleet will receive its new craft in late spring 2018.

The new vessel, to be christened Enhydra, will be the first aluminium hulled, lithium-ion battery-electric hybrid vessel built from the keel up under United States Coast Guard subchapter-K passenger vessel regulations and the latest guidelines for structural fire protection, AAM said in a statement.

AAM partnered with BAE Systems to design and integrate the complete battery-electric hybrid system. BAE Systems will supply its HybriDrive propulsion system that includes a generator, a control system, and an AC electric traction motor. The generator will mount to a variable speed Cummins QSL9 diesel engine delivering 410 mhp at 2,100 rpm. The motor generator offers diesel-electric operation of the AC traction motor which is coupled directly to the propulsion shaft. AAM said that with this configuration, torque is immediately available for the propeller and the speed can be controlled precisely without the need for a reduction gear.

The hybrid system will also use battery power from two 80 kWh lithium-ion battery packs. The batteries will come from Corvus Energy and are supplied under their next generation Orca ESS energy storage system line. The BAE HybridDrive system can automatically use full electric battery operation at slower speeds and when manoeuvring in and out of the harbour. At higher speeds, the generator will automatically engage and augment the additional power demands of the traction motor.

Red and White Fleet’s vice president of operations Joe Burgard, said: “We see the propulsion configuration on Enhydra as phase one in our move toward the full electrification of our fleet. Stay tuned for phase two.”

Meanwhile, Fjord1 has struck a contract with Norwegian Electric Systems for hybrid-electric systems for three new ferries being built by Havyard Ship Technology.

Two of the ferries will operate the route between Brekstad and Valset and one ferry between Sandvikvåg and Husavik. The Norwegian Public Road Administration’s strict emissions requirements for these two ferry routes have resulted in an electrical propulsion system using chargeable lithium-ion batteries. The ferries are being designed by Multi Maritime.

Norwegian Electric Systems’ DC system ensures the safe charging and discharging of the batteries. It includes the Odin’s Eye solution, which Norwegian Electric Systems says is “an ultra-fast acting safety solution which is incredibly flexible, too. It provides for future upgrades of the vessels, such as larger battery capacity or higher charging power from shore.”


“We have had good and close contact with Fjord1, Havyard and Multi Maritime during this preliminary process,” said Norwegian Electric Systems vice president for sales Stein Ruben Larsen.


Norwegian Electric Systems will deliver a complete integrated DC grid system consisting of:

  • the Quest Energy Storage System (batteries)
  • DC switchboards
  • generators
  • transformers
  • switchboards, 230 VAC
  • quadro drive low loss DC/AC and AC/DC
  • Odins Eye, EMS and IAS
  • project management
  • calculations and engineering
  • commissioning and sea trials.



Viking Line to use wind electric propulsion


Viking Line has struck an agreement with Norsepower to install its auxiliary wing propulsion Rotor Sail solution on board liquefied natural gas (LNG) dual-fuelled Viking Grace.


The addition of Norsepower’s technology will slash carbon emissions by approximately 900 tonnes annually – the equivalent of cutting 300 tonnes of LNG fuel per year, Norsepower said in a statement.

Preparations for the retrofit are underway, with the installation scheduled to take place during the second quarter of 2018. Viking Grace is set to be retrofitted with one medium-sized Norsepower Rotor Sail unit that is 24m in height and 4m in diameter, making it the first-ever global LNG-wind electric propulsion hybrid ship.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail solution is a modernised version of the Flettner rotor – a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. “The solution is fully automated and senses whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel savings. At this point the rotors start automatically, optimising crew time and resource,” said Norsepower.

Viking Line marine operations and newbuildings senior vice president Ulf Hagström said: “As an organisation that strives to ensure that our fleet operates in an environmentally friendly and economical way, we are proud to be partnering with Norsepower. Our cruise vessel is the first to use a combination of alternative clean fuels, modern rotor sails, electric propulsion, and a hydrodynamically optimised hull. We believe in the Rotor Sail solution technology’s ability to enhance our ship’s performance by enabling significant reductions in fuel burn and costs, as well as carbon emissions.”

Commenting on the deal, Norsepower chief executive Tuomas Riski said: “This project marks the first modern auxiliary wind propulsion technology installation on board a cruiseferry.”
To date, independent data analysis indicates that up to 20 per cent fuel savings per year can be achieved on routes with favourable wind flows, sufficient-sized rotor sails, and appropriate service speed, said Norsepower



Big data boost for propulsion


ABB is deepening its analytical and predictive approach to vessel maintenance with the latest upgrade of its Remote Diagnostic Services (RDS), it announced at Seatrade Cruise Global in March.


The upgraded software functionalities will give more power and transparency to the shoreside operations of shipowners, while ABB has stepped up its proactive monitoring of the data and predictive analytics. The enhancement of ABB’s digital services comes after an internal study found that existing remote monitoring of machinery reduced maintenance costs by 50 per cent.


ABB is aiding the development of the shoreside operations of shipping companies by giving the opportunity to replicate ABB’s Integrated Operations Centers in their own operational centres. The latest version of RDS software allows shipping companies to deploy their own analytics, or those from a third party where applicable, with greater ease. ABB has further developed its dedicated hardware for monitoring large and small rotating machinery with tight integration to the RDS software. The graphical user interface has also been improved to increase user experience and to give identical views of the detailed data both on board and on shore.


To further leverage the data received from vessels, the ABB Digital Service team has been strengthened with more data scientists and architects to promote the search for insight into the health of the monitored assets. The ABB software used as part of the RDS combines the capabilities of dedicated onboard software with a full analytics engine on shore. Thanks to this modularity and capability, the software can now run the same analytics on board as on shore.


ABB is also launching the new mobile application that will allow the user to monitor the health status of connected marine machinery, starting with Azipod propulsion.



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