Breakthrough technology – integrated electric propulsors

To break through the increasing regulations and competition in the modern seafaring vessel market – be it ferries, tugboats or icebreakers – it’s no longer enough to do with what you’ve done in the past for newbuilds. Shipowners striving for growth need technology that can enable their vessels to pollute less while improve overall performance and save costs. Now, there’s an answer − an electric propulsion system with a permanent magnet (PM) machine.

Like everything else, the shipping industry has changed radically over the past few years. More stringent environmental regulations, a more pressing competitive landscape, new technologies – all of these have defined new needs, values and goals.

What we’re seeing today is a cry from shipowners to adapt to these new conditions by implementing effective measures to improve overall ship efficiency and comply with the latest emissions standards.

Electric propulsion with unrivaled advantages

Luckily, many options exist. And electric propulsion systems are one viable way to reach higher efficiency. A recent breakthrough in propulsion system technology now enables shipowners to get an unrivaled set of advantages, including efficiency, flexibility, reliability and – best of all – profitability.

The main idea behind the latest joint innovation by Steerprop and The Switch is a counter-rotating propulsor (CRP) integrated with a permanent magnet (PM) machine.

Based on a unique dual-end design, the counter-rotating propulsion solution consists of two propellers placed on the same propulsor. This novel design has already been recognized worldwide for being the most efficient way to create thrust. The integrated PM machine completes the solution.

The smart combination of two cutting-edge technologies brings additional advantages, taking electric propulsion to an entirely new level.

High efficiency brings multimillion savings

The new propulsion system layout enables exceptional hydrodynamics and, therefore, a very low blade loading. This significantly improves efficiency.

Compared to traditional machines, a PM machine offers up to 10% extra efficiency, depending on the load. When it’s integrated it into the propulsion system, transforming the electrical energy into mechanical power is more efficient.

The higher efficiency of the two main technologies also attributes to their more compact and lightweight design. This not only saves space but also prevents excess heat. As a result, shipowners get a solution with 10−20% lower fuel consumption.

Flexible to adapt to any changes

Because a compact PM machine is at the core of the solution, it gives the new-generation electric propulsor unrivaled flexibility.

With high efficiency throughout the entire speed range, the vessel is always ready for any changes in operational profiles. It adapts to them easily, without losing efficiency.

Reliable like no other

When it comes to system reliability, it is hard to find any other that require so little effort or maintenance needs.

No sensitive components are located under the water, so all electrical equipment is easily accessible and serviceable. In fact, regular service − every 5 years − is only required for oil and seals. The major overhaul is needed only every 15+ years, depending on the condition.

More stable and reliable operation also comes as a result of the excellent symmetry. Power from the PM machine is distributed between the two propellers – and not just one.

It is also possible to have late-stage delivery of the complete solution, reducing any equipment damage risks.

Profitable investment

Like any other equipment onboard, an electric propulsor is a capital expenditure. However, this one also has a high return on investment.

All the propulsor’s advanced characteristics enable a ship to be more profitable. First, by bringing fuels and maintenance savings that were previously unattainable. And then, by allowing them to be in operation and generating profit longer.

Will this electric propulsion system make it into your ship? What we know for sure is that the value of integrated technology is worth consideration – just by doing the simple math.

Now, this is your opportunity to break through with breakthrough technology.