What are Hybrid Ships?

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  • Time of issue:2022-07-06
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(Summary description)The hybrid ship, as the word hybrid is defined, are vessels using two or more distinct types of power, using gas or diesel when surfaced and batteries as an electric source when submerged. 

What are Hybrid Ships?

(Summary description)The hybrid ship, as the word hybrid is defined, are vessels using two or more distinct types of power, using gas or diesel when surfaced and batteries as an electric source when submerged. 

  • Categories:Industry News
  • Author:
  • Origin:
  • Time of issue:2022-07-06
  • Views:0

The hybrid ship, as the word hybrid is defined, are vessels using two or more distinct types of power, using gas or diesel when surfaced and batteries as an electric source when submerged. 

These ships have different motors that work better at different speeds; the electric motor is more fuel-efficient at producing a torque (rotation) or turning power, and the combustion engine is fitter for maintaining high speed than an archetypal electric motor. 

While speeding up the yield of the ships switching from electric to combustion motor at the right time gives a win-win scenario (provide mutual benefit outcome from both sides) in terms of energy (fuel) efficiency.

Image: Hybrid dual fuel system

The amalgam of mechanical power from diesel engines and electrical power from electric motors provides vessels with a broad operational capability and minimizes environmental impacts.

Modern hybrid ship propulsion schemes also accommodate large towing kites (a system of propulsion that uses higher altitude winds at high velocity than traditional sails) manufactured by organizations such as SkySails. 

An optimal energy source:

Hybridization of ships allows us to use the most optimal energy source for the required task, giving us a range of benefits from less environmental emissions over noise reductions to reduced maintenance efforts. 


How do hybrid vessels work?

Hybrid vessels work using two or more energy sources (as described above). The main engines and generators are usually combined with integrated energy storage in the form of batteries or super-capacitors. The intention is to hybridize either the energy production ensuring generator optimization or to hybridize the machine consuming the energy to optimize its behavior.

Fundamentally, hybrid vessels use an engine incorporated with an electric battery network. These systems are replenished as the vessel travels and has additional energy, which is settled into battery packs. The batteries can then deliver extra power for peak shaving or completely run the vessel in lower power circumstances.

Electrical energy is used to run large electric motors attached to the propeller shafts. This scheme allows fuel-driven engines to run closer to the design point, resulting in fuel economy. Additional energy is stocked in batteries for delayed use, guaranteeing that fuel-driven engines see smooth operating curves. 

Royal Van der Leun develops hybrid solution:

Royal Van der Leun has formulated its own hybrid propulsion system, comprising fully automated and integrated PMS and AMCS. 

How battery storage is used in hybrid solutions:

Electrical power from electric motors surefire the ships a vast operational capability and minimizes environmental impacts. (As described above) this electric power is the byproduct of batteries which we use as a hybrid solution in a vessel.

Batteries can provide significant reductions in fuel cost, maintenance and emissions as well as improved responsiveness, regularity and safety.

Royal Van der Leun China has a strategic partnership with Van Alfen, we launched a proven technology to the marine industry to support our customers achieve emission free sailing.


Technological Advancements of Hybrid Ships

Nowadays we are seeing a new renaissance with small vessels for public transportations, yachts, fire fighting vessels etc using hybrid propulsion. As of 2022, there are 550 vessels with an average of 1.6 MWh of batteries. While in 2016 the average was 500 kWh.

Reference project of hybrid solutions from Royal Van der Leun

Dresden and Prague:

Dresden and Prague, two new-build plug-in hybrid firefighting ships, are manufactured by Damen Shipyards for Flotte Hamburg, an attendant of Hamburg Port Authority.

First hybrid vessels of Hamburg:

The first hybrid vessels of the Hamburg fleet were successfully put into operation in intimate cooperation with Damen Shipyards and the electrical and automation operation partner Royal Van der Leun after the full approval of the use of EST battery system ‘Green Orca 1050' on inland waterway vessels.

Image: the hybrid vessels of Dresden and Prague https://www.vanderleun.cn/news/Two-plug-in-hybrid-fire-fighting-vessels-are-in-operation!-95.html

Advantages of hybrid systems:

With hybrid outcomes, batteries and smaller diesel generators in an association can be used to deliver energy to the ship when it is idling, transiting, turning, initiating, or stopping. Main engines can be stopped.

Allowing fuel-driven engines to drive at their optimum, and having electronics take care of peak demand, implies that the need for engine-based spinning capability is gone. When you apply this strategy, you get more energy from the generators because they function at the optimum power point - and fewer of them are needed. 

Weight, money, and effort for installation, operation, and maintenance are saved. The ship power management system automatically continuously computes the optimum number of engine revolutions and defines the optimal combination of power sources for the whole system.

Due to the reduced number of running engines and generators, noise levels are minimized and fuel consumption is decreased. To top it off, wear on engines/generators is also lessened, hence the maintenance intervals would be extended, potentially by up to 50%. 

The advantages:

1. Enhanced ship performance

2. Decreased emissions

3. Reduce operating costs due to lower fuel consumption

4. Lower maintenance expenses relevant to engines

5. Lessen noise levels and vibrations on board - also decrease noise in the water

6. Enhance the long-term efficiency of the power supply system

7. Greater redundancy


The Future of Hybrid Vessels

Introducing energy storage to vessels has the potential to significantly reduce fuel consumption and lifetime cost. At the same time, it can have a substantially positive impact on the emission levels, ensuring that the targets set by the international community are reached.

Battery storage allows for optimal utilization of engines or generators according to their specifications, it removes the need for excess spinning capacity and over-dimensioning.

Battery storage as a backup function ensures that you will have alternative power sources available in case of a malfunction of the main engines. 

Looking for a hybrid solution? Get in touch with our team.


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