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How Hybrid Solutions Are Reducing The Environmental Impact Of The Marine Industry

  • by: Guy Ellis
  • On: 9, Aug 2018
2 min read

With an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic littering the ocean, Marine Sustainability is top of the industry’s agenda.

Here’s how marine technology is driving high performance and environmental benefits in yacht racing around the world:

To face the challenge of meeting environmental standards, Marine manufacturers are fast developing Hybrid Ship Propulsion technologies. Challenged with maintaining propulsion efficiency and ship performance whilst reducing environmental impact, this well-balanced and tailor-made propulsion system is aiming to provide a smart solution to increasingly strict emissions regulations.

How does a Hybrid Propulsion System Work?

Mechanical and electric power work together to optimise the propulsion efficiency with a flexible power demand. The combination of diesel engines and electrical motors delivers propulsion power, which assures the ship an efficient operational capability and provides the right amount of power to the propeller in each operation mode.

If diesel engines are designed according to their maximum power demand, hybrid propulsion systems offer different operation modes from slow speed operation up to boosting. A tanker or cargo vessel is designed to spend most hours in operation profile and a hybrid propulsion plant is better prepared for changes in operation during the vessel’s trip or even the vessel’s lifetime.

The Advantages of a Hybrid Propulsion System

  • Hybrid Propulsion Systems offer an optimal overall plant operational capability with fast system responses and a high plant flexibility
  • The propulsion system is more reliable because the propeller can be driven by the diesel engine and/or by the electric motor
  • In hybrid mode the diesel engine and the propeller can operate with different combinations whilst the network frequency and voltage remain fixed and stable
  • The possibility of operating engines at their optimal level with minimal specific fuel and oil consumption reduces plant operating costs
  • Fuel oil consumption and fuel-related emissions like CO2 are reduced. Further pollutants are also reduced by a drop in incomplete combustion occurrences in low-loaded engines
  • Engines run for fewer hours per year, dramatically reducing required maintenance.

Hybrid Propulsion Systems: The New Norm for Marine?

Marine experts are confident in the future of Hybrid Propulsion Systems. Despite the need to train yacht crew to operate a new system, industry leaders see only benefits. For big tankers crossing the ocean, batteries are not yet at optimum levels, but could be a part of the Hybrid Propulsion System in a near future.

The growth in hybrids will also depend on the development of the necessary infrastructure. A plug-in ship, for example, needs somewhere to recharge, much like an electric car. Whilst there’s still a way to go, Hybrid Propulsion Systems are set to generate more and more intrigue, with the potential to transform the face and impact of the global Marine industry.

Learn more about plastic pollution in the ocean

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