cut fuel costs

5 ways to cut fuel costs and emissions

Two things are driving marine industry evolution: the need for fuel cost savings and climate controls.

With the drive to cut fuel costs, the use of alternative fuels and adoption of hybrid and electric vessels is becoming more common. And the global market requirements for more competitive and cost-effective transport solutions continue to spur on fuel cost savings.

Meanwhile, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) strategy about greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and national regulations are forcing shipowners and shipyards to pursue the proper path to reducing fuel consumption and getting closer and closer to emitting zero emissions.

At Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch, we are on a mission to help transform the marine industry to cut fuel costs and emissions by creating energy sustainably, containing energy effectively and consuming energy responsibly. Here are five technologies that our system integrator (SI) and OEM partners can use to do so:

  1. Permanent magnet (PM) shaft generators

Using PM shaft generators instead of conventional gensets in power productions benefits shipowners and operators of large merchant vessels. Our highly efficient technology reduces fuel costs and maintenance needs while increasing reliability and availability of additional operating modes, such as power take in (PTI) and power take home (PTH). This increases safety in case of main engine faults or failure to access zero-emission ports.

Since we delivered our first shaft generator five years ago, we’ve produced over 40 pieces, and business is only picking up. Right now, we have another 40 pieces of large PMM 1500 frame-size direct-drive shaft generators in the production pipeline, and we’re expecting further orders.

In September 2020, we successfully tested our first “generation 2” shaft generators in frame sizes 1000 and 1500. With major design changes and a more cost-efficient supply chain, the generation 2 model has proven to be very cost effective.

  1. Permanent magnet propulsion motors

PM propulsion motors provide a smooth, low-vibration and zero-emission propulsion solution. These direct-drive motors are way more compact, lightweight and efficient than conventional induction motors with a gearbox. We offer larger frame sizes in a similar topology as the bearing-less shaft generators where the electrical machine is assembled directly to the propulsion shaft without using integrated motor bearings. This simplifies the shaft line design and facilitates bearing maintenance.

  1. Marine drives

We have a broad range of marine drives, including standalone propulsion drives, DC-Hubs for DC distribution, hybrid vessels and zero-emission vessels. Our DC-Hubs, for example, provide seamless integration with all kinds of energy sources and loads. Our unique electronic DC breaker (EDCB) and electronic bus link (EBL) solutions increase selectivity and safety by delivering ultra-fast fault detection and disconnection abilities. EBL allows for a ring network configuration that provides unmatched redundancy for the DC-Hubs. These are core building elements in modern low-emission and fuel-efficient electric and hybrid vessels. We also provide shore-based components for battery charging.

  1. High-speed solid rotor machines for electric exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems

Our high-speed solid rotor machines (SRM) and drives can be applied in compact electric EGR systems. The electric EGR system is one of the available NOx reduction methods used in modern marine 2-stroke diesel engines. A major OEM supplier of these engines has selected our SRM technology specifically for marine applications.

  1. Test capabilities

Our large drive test center (LDTC) in Lappeenranta, Finland, and our participation in the Sustainable Energy Norwegian Catapult Center in Heiane, Norway, has significantly increased our capability to test even large marine machines with full power. With these unique test facilities, we have excellent capabilities to verify our new designs, achieve necessary marine certificates and ensure the quality of the deliveries to our customers.

The marine industry is an important application area for us. It also offers more possibilities for growth and versatile product offerings. Thanks to our technology and joint development and sales activities with our system integrator and OEM partners, we have successfully entered this market.

And we’re looking forward to growing this business further – together.

Miika Reinikka