Commercial shipping companies are looking beyond current conventional fuel sources and focusing liquid natural gas on hybrid electric propulsion in the future. It is expected that some of these technologies will eventually filter into the recreational boating side.
While diesel remains the dominant fuel for supplying propulsion and electricity for vessels in the near future, an article on the maritime-executive.com website, talked of progress already being made with alternative fuels.
Rolls-Royce launched new LNG burning engines and its ELegance pod drives last fall. The pod drives have a twin-tail design to improve efficiency. Click here to see a video of the drive.
On the electrical power side, Rolls Royce is launching a lithium-ion-based energy storage system for ships called SAVe Energy. The liquid-cooled modular battery system complies with international regulations for zero emission propulsion systems.
Becker Marine Systems is developing its COBRA maritime battery system, which is considered to be among the most compact in the industry. It can be reportedly used on any type of vessel as part of a hybrid propulsion or energy storage system. Becker Marine has been focused on improving efficiency and reducing emissions. The company developed the High Lift Flap Rudder and has a number of other designs including the Schilling Rudder patent.
For improved maneuverability around the docks, Schottel has launched a series of azimuth thrusters. The M-Series consists of three azimuth thruster sizes from 500 to 1,000 kilowatts with different gear modules and power sources. The company is also supplying its Rudder EcoPeller, an azimuth thruster for zero-emissions ferries.
Additionally, Caterpillar has released its latest generation of thrusters, the MTA v3. It has a hybrid interface that uses the ability to switch between mechanical and electric power.
For the future, commercial vessels are looking beyond the 2020 sulfur cap to further reduce emissions. Ferguson Marine Engineering is building the world’s first fuel-cell ferry that will use hydrogen harvested from renewable sources. The Hyseas III will operate around Scotland’s Orkney islands and will be delivered in 2020.