How is Power Generated and Supplied on a Ship?

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  • Time of issue:2022-04-03
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(Summary description)How is power generated and supplied on a ship? Power generation on ships uses a similar distribution scheme as power generation on shore.

How is Power Generated and Supplied on a Ship?

(Summary description)How is power generated and supplied on a ship? Power generation on ships uses a similar distribution scheme as power generation on shore.

  • Categories:Industry News
  • Author:
  • Origin:
  • Time of issue:2022-04-03
  • Views:0

There are more than 90,000 commercial ships on the world's oceans, providing supplies, food, and fuel around the world. In addition to these, there are also many military, entertainment, and other ships on the water. All of these boats need power to operate in the modern age, both to propel them and to operate everything onboard.


But how do they get this power, and how is it distributed? Read on for your guide to power generation on ships to learn everything you need to know!


How is Power Generation on Ships Achieved?

In almost all ships, an alternating current (AC) generator provides the primary power for the ship. Although there are other types of generators used in ships, such as direct current generators, they are much less common. Most ships use diesel to fuel their generators, although there are a few nuclear-powered military ships in operation as well.


At its most basic, the typical AC ship generator working principle is that a magnetic field is made to vary around a conductor. As it varies, the conductor produces a current, which then goes on to power the ship's electrical systems.


High voltage (HV) generators provide energy for large equipment like propulsion systems, air conditioning compressors and bow thrusters. They can also power other systems on the ship, such as lighting, heating, and energy for portable equipment.


Modern ship generators are almost all three-phase generators. This requires more voltage, but it can more power constantly. This is crucial when working on ships where space is valuable, and it's important to not lose power!


Most ships also have backup batteries or emergency generators in case their main generators go out. These can keep vital emergency systems working until the primary generators are brought back online. They'll typically provide less power than the primary generators, but still enough to help the ship function.


Electrical Distribution

Once the energy is produced, it's sent through the ship through its complex electrical system. A ship's electrical system is usually called a radial or branching system. This system provides the function of a ship's power distribution to help keep everything running.


Typically, the energy is first routed through the ship's main switchboard or electrical console desks. From there, cables take the energy to different sections of the ship. Those sections' distribution boards then send out the power to the final load consumers.


Some parts of a ship are considered essential services and are set up so they can quickly receive backup power if the primary power goes out. This way, the emergency generators or batteries aren't wasting power on nonessentials on the ship. You can look at the screen of our Power Management System to get an idea of how a ship provides power to its different services and sections.


High Voltage

Shipboard generators produce high voltage electricity to help reduce the size of the produced current. This reduces the necessary size of conductors and other equipment on the ship, which conserves space.


Because of the high voltage on many larger ships, particularly boats like cruise ships, transformers are used when passing the electricity down the line. These reduce the volts to low voltage levels for use in things like lighting.


Other times, transformers may work to increase the voltage for particular equipment. For example, large bow thruster motors often require more volts than the generator can provide. That's why a transformer can help bridge that voltage gap!


Learn More About Maritime Energy

Power generation on ships is a key aspect of maritime life, but there's so much more to learn! From the controls and navigation to the motors themselves, there are a lot of components that go into making a ship run.


So if you'd like to learn more about our products or services for your ship, contact us! We'd be happy to help provide you with any answers or supplies that we can.


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