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Baumüller intelligent power management system eliminates the need for redundancy and saves additional fuel

Diesel generators and electric motors are a successful combination to achieve more environmental protection and fuel savings. If the diesel-electric hybrid drive is then also controlled by an intelligent power management system, even the redundant system that is normally stipulated by law is no longer required.

Keeping the waterway on the Rhine between Xanten-Obermörmter and Kleve-Bimmen safe for inland waterway vessels is one of the main tasks of the Waterways and Shipping Authority Rhine (WSA Rhein) in the Emmerich suburb. In concrete terms, this means setting navigation signs both on the water and on land that ships can use to orient themselves. The ship’s day-to-day activities also include, for example, clearing flotsam from the river after stormy weather, removing obstacles from the waterway, and coordinating the handling of ship accidents.

In order to be able to continue to perform these tasks economically, the ship’s predecessor had to be replaced after 29 years of service. The VSS Grieth was replaced by an efficient and environmentally friendly ship with diesel-electric propulsion and an intelligent power management system developed by Baumüller.

Following a public call for tenders, the WSA commissioned the shipyard Schiffswerft Bolle in Derben to build the new VSS Emmerich traffic safety ship. The latter commissioned Zoller GmbH from Elmshorn with the complete electrotechnical equipment. While Zoller took charge of the on-board power supply, Baumüller Anlagen-Systemtechnik took over the complete engineering of the propulsion system in close cooperation with all its partners. The Baumüller subsidiary supplied the diesel-electric propulsion system, the control cabinets, and the software for the on-board energy management system.

The VSS Emmerich was developed with loving attention to detail. In addition to the expertise of the suppliers, a great deal of experience on the part of WSA Rhein and skipper Rex Herentrey went into the construction of the new ship. The ship therefore also serves as a prototype for further vessels of WSA Rhein.

Facts and figures about the VSS Emmerich:

  • Length: 33.25m
  • Width: 7.40m
  • Maximum speed: 18km/h in standing water
  • Engine power: 2 x 294kW
  • Drive and maneuvering: Two diesel-electric main drives and a bow thruster
  • Costs: 5.1 million
  • Year of construction: 2020

VSS Emmerich: Diesel-electric multi-purpose boat with intelligent power management system

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Greater efficiency through electrical propulsion with diesel generators

engine room of the VSS EmmerichThe engine room of the VSS Emmerich: The diesel engines merely act as electrical power generators and are operated at optimum efficiency. The ship is driven by two drive propellers set in motion by two electric motors

The VSS Emmerich features a diesel-electric propulsion system with an intelligent power management system. Two diesel generators with an output of 294 kW each provide the power for the two electric drive motors, the bow thruster, and the on-board electronics. The diesel engines merely act as generators in the VSS Emmerich’s propulsion system. The advantage: As such, they are no longer subject to power peaks as they would if they were used directly to propel the ship. As a result, the diesel engines are always operated with optimal efficiency and can be smaller right from the start. Since the diesel generators are only used for power generation, they can be located more freely in the vessel and do not have to be attached to the Schottel propulsion system. This freedom of location allows a space-saving configuration in the engine room and good weight distribution in the ship.

The traffic safety ship is powered by two drive propellers, which are in turn set in motion by two 210 kW electric motors.

The combination of diesel and electric motors offers a considerable fuel savings for the operator. And thanks to the ship’s lower fuel consumption, the system emits fewer pollutants than the drives of the ship’s purely diesel-powered predecessor model. The VSS Emmerich is the first diesel-electric traffic safety ship in the WSA Rhein fleet to meet the EU Stage 5 emissions standard in accordance with the NRMM (Non-Road Mobile Machinery) Regulation for inland waterway vessels.

Highly maneuverable and rotatable in place

In addition to lower emissions and fuel savings, the hybrid propulsion concept of the VSS Emmerich offers another advantage: its maneuverability. The two rudder propellers and the bow thruster are driven by electric motors. Unlike diesel engines, these have the property of responding immediately to speed and torque adjustments, which is in turn beneficial for casting off, docking, and maneuvering. As a result, the vessel can be easily moved in any direction and rotated in place. This is an important characteristic for the day-to-day work of the traffic safety ship, which, among other things, has to be mobile in a confined space when recovering obstructions to navigation from fairways and in groyne fields.

In addition, the smooth running of the electric motors reduces vibration and noise pollution, making working on the new ship much more pleasant for the crew.

direct drive by electric motors offers particularly good maneuverabilityHighly maneuverable: In addition to lower emissions and fuel savings, direct drive by electric motors also offers particularly good maneuverability

Intelligent power management system BAS-PCS: Approval with only one diesel generator

A technical highlight of the drive concept of the VSS Emmerich is its intelligent power management system BAS-PCS, which regulates the demand-compliant power output of the diesel generators. The software for this was specially programmed by Baumüller. This software can be used to adjust the speed of the engines in such a way that they generate the exact amount of energy required by the ship at a given time. This means, for example, that the vessel is only driven by one generator when traveling at moderate speed. If the ship needs to move faster or maneuver, the second generator is automatically switched on in a matter of seconds. The speed at which the software switches on the second engine renders it unnecessary for both engines to run continuously, thereby eliminating the need for a redundant system. Thanks to the smart power management system, the VSS Emmerich has received approval specifying that only one diesel generator is required to run during operation. This has resulted in further fuel savings. If maximum power should be required quickly in emergency situations, this is detected by the system and made available accordingly.

In addition, the power management system handles the synchronization with the shore power system when the ship is docked. This way, the ship is supplied with power by the shore power system and the diesel-powered power supply can be disconnected from the on-board electrical system. The system is designed in such a way that other energy sources, such as battery or fuel cell, can also be added.

A monitor on the control console clearly shows information about the current operating status of all drives. The skipper is thus always kept informed and additional energy and therefore fuel are saved by the system’s self-regulation.

Software automatically switches on the second motorIf the vessel needs to travel faster, the second generator (on the right) is automatically switched on in a matter of seconds. The speed at which the software switches on the second engine renders it unnecessary for both engines to run continuously, thereby eliminating the need for a redundant system

Conclusion: Expertise pays

Cutting costs, reducing emissions, and meeting new guidelines in ship propulsion: This is achieved with fully electric solutions or diesel-electric hybrid drives from Baumüller.

The VSS Emmerich benefited from the experience of the experts at Baumüller Anlagen-Systemtechnik both with propulsion systems for ships and with the programming of energy management systems for industrial systems and marine applications.

VSS Emmerich: Only one diesel generator required thanks to the intelligent power management system BAS-PCS

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