Control system designed for hybrid ships

25 Aug 2014
Wärtsilä's test facility, where full scale testing of the LLH integrated with a Wärtsilä distribution system, has been carried out

Wärtsilä's test facility, where full scale testing of the LLH integrated with a Wärtsilä distribution system, has been carried out

Wärtsilä is launching a hybrid control system, designed to combine different power sources with energy storage devices resulting in fuel savings and lower emissions.

The Low Loss Hybrid (LLH) system is claimed to offer annual fuel savings of up to 15%, depending on the type and configuration of the engine and mission profile, and to ensure a substantial reduction in exhaust gas emissions.

According to Wärtsilä, the overall control system is the key element in the total control and stability of a ship's electrical system and the energy flows. The LLH system is integrated with the inverter control units, and is designed to interface with the conventional onboard power management system. The total energy storage system is approved according to the new DNV class rules for battery power. The LLH is aimed at a variety of market segments, including offshore vessels, tugs, ferries and coastal vessels, both newbuildings and upgrades to existing installations.

The company points out that a key feature of the LLH is its ability to reduce transient engine loads that cause increased fuel consumption and added emissions. Furthermore, by increasing power redundancy, the system allows the engine to operate closer to its optimum design point where it has highest efficiency and least emissions. Reduced maintenance and increased system performance through rapid response from the energy storage system are among other claimed benefits.

"Fuel efficiency and a reduced environmental footprint are central to the current and future needs of the entire marine sector. The Wärtsilä low loss hybrid system supports both of these aims and is an important enabler for energy and cost efficient shipping," said Juhani Hupli, vice president, electrical and automation, Wärtsilä Ship Power.

The system has been tested onboard the Viking Lady PSV, which is equipped with both battery back and fuel cell alongside its dual fuel gas-diesel generators. According to Wärtsilä,  a comprehensive measurement programme monitored transit mode in heavy weather conditions, critical operations, and standby mode, and confirmed actual fuel savings of 15%. For this particular vessel, such savings would, said the company, give an estimated payback time of less than four years. Emission reductions were also substantial, with local emissions in harbour virtually eliminated.

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