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Hybrid ship drives

Diesel or methanol generators with electric motors as a winning combination

Sustainability and the reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions are just two of several reasons why new ships are being equipped and existing ships retrofitted with environmentally friendly technologies. However, it is not only stricter environmental regulations, but also the cost factor that is fueling a turn away from diesel propulsion in shipping.

Diesel or methanol generators with electric motors are a winning combination and the perfect way to achieve greater environmental protection and fuel savings. When it comes to hybrid ship drives, Baumüller has tried-and-tested, efficient designs which meet the requirements posed by ships’ captains, shipping companies, and legislators in equal measure.

Baumüller is a partner for shipyards, system integrators and ship owners, as well as being an independent supplier of complete systems.

Ecological and fuel-efficient with hybrid drives

According to the principle of the hybrid drive system, diesel or methanol generators are cleverly combined with electric motors for maximum efficiency. Unlike drives, the generators are not exposed to power peaks and are thus always operated at optimum efficiency. This means that the generators can be smaller from the start.

The combination of generators and electric motors allows operators to save a considerable amount of fuel. Because less fuel has to be burned, the system emits fewer pollutants.

Maximum efficiency with the right hybrid mode

There are two basic principles to choose from when combining electric motors and generators to form an efficient and clean drive unit: parallel hybrid and serial hybrid. With a parallel hybrid ship drive, the electric motor and generator are connected synchronously and achieve full power together. With a hybrid drive designed in series, the electric motor has sole responsibility for propulsion. The combustion engine is then operated at a very high level of efficiency and drives the electric generator, which supplies the electric power.

 Schematic diagram of hybrid ship propulsionWith a hybrid drive designed in series, the electric motor has sole responsibility for propulsion. The combustion engine is then operated at a very high level of efficiency and drives the electric generator, which supplies the electric power.

The serial hybrid drive can be powered by one or more of the following generators as desired.

Possible generators:

  • Methanol, variable-speed
  • LNG
  • H2 burner
  • Fuel cell
  • Solar plants
  • Batteries
  • Skysails
  • Shore power

In principle, large ranges can be achieved with both types of hybrid drive by exploiting the advantages of electric drives and thereby overcoming the shortcomings of conventional combustion engines.

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Optimal maneuverability and significantly reduced noise levels

In addition to its environmental friendliness and the low fuel costs, a hybrid drive system offers yet another advantage: The ship’s maneuverability is significantly improved by the properties of the electric motors. The reason for this is that electric motors respond more immediately to adjustments in speed and torque, which also improves the responsiveness and thus the maneuverability of the ship.

A further advantage is that fewer diesel engines need to be used. This leads to a significantly lower noise level, with the running smoothness of the electric motors also making for a more pleasurable ride..

Integration of batteries as storage for additional energy supply

Batteries in the battery room for hybrid driveThe batteries are housed in a separate battery room and can be used to supply energy for both power peaks and fully electric navigation I Image: Irene NeumannExcess energy produced by the generators or returned to the system through feedback can be stored in batteries for greater sustainability instead of being lost as heat, as was previously the case. Power peaks required by the drive then do not have to be accessed via generators, but are rather absorbed with energy from the batteries.

This even allows ships to operate completely electrically for a certain amount of time in “green mode”. The batteries are housed in a separate battery room, where they are used as an additional energy supply.




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►Efficiency in sight! Hybrid or electric ship propulsion isn't rocket science – this is what you need to consider


Hybrid ferry Farge: Baumüller equips the drive system with the latest technology

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Engineering, hardware, service – everything from a single source

In addition to drives, the Baumüller Group also offers project planning expertise, control units, service concepts, and more, and is thus a long-term partner throughout the life cycle of marine propulsion systems.

Our complete package with partners includes:

  • Actual state measurement
  • Design
  • Offer with funding request
  • Conversion at shipyard
  • Commissioning
  • Funding verification by institute

Hybrid ship propulsion

For marine equipment, functional reliability and the availability of components are indispensable. Baumüller service experts have extensive expertise in the maintenance, repair, and retrofitting of electrical drive systems in the maritime sector.

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