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Marine hybrid propulsion techniques incorporate battery power with combustion engines to enhance engine performance while diminishing emissions. The flexibility offered by hybrid propulsion systems is supremely ideal for ships allowing long-running hours with diversified power demands.
Moreover, the hybrid system derives mechanical power from the electrical and diesel engines, thus supporting vessels’ extensive operational efficiency. Numerous conglomerates in the industry come up with innovative solutions for electric and battery hybrid propulsion in marine applications. For example, MAN Energy Solutions SE, a major producer of marine propulsion systems and large-bore diesel engines based in Germany, and Aspin Kemp & Associates (AKA), a system producer and integrator, together launched solutions for battery and electric hybrid propulsion.
Through the energy management system (EMS), the hybrid propulsion systems will enable a sufficient energy supply, hence augmenting high-performance and ensuring safety & reliability during operations. Several other companies are integrating new-fangled technologies in their propulsion systems to gain a competitive edge. Below mentioned are some of the top companies operating in the market of marine hybrid propulsion systems.
1. ABB Ltd:
a Swedish–Swiss company based in Switzerland. The company offers countless solutions, including robotics, process automation, electrification, and discrete & automation. ABB has operations in more than 100 countries with essential products ranging from control technologies, advanced services, turbocharging & marine, and measurement & analytics. In March 2021, the Casco Bay Lines selected ABB’s hybrid power, propulsion, and shore charging system for its new 50m ferry. The hybrid-electric propulsion solution will allow the ferry to operate in battery-powered and diesel-electric modes with low emissions.
2. BAE Systems PLC:
Based in London, England, BAE provides electronic systems, cyber & intelligence, platforms & services, air and maritime to the aerospace, defense, and marine industry. The company is currently concentrating on green technology for cargo vessels. For instance, BAE Systems PLC bagged a contract from Naval architectural consultancy Chartwell Marine to offer its electric hybrid power and propulsion system for a new maritime research vessel at the University of Vermont (UVM).
3. Caterpillar Inc:
The world’s biggest construction equipment producer based in the US. The company also develops diesel and natural gas engines, mining equipment, and diesel-electric locomotives for industries. In June 2020, Gula Skrinet signed a partnership agreement with Caterpillar Luxembourg SARL, a division of Caterpillar Inc., to obtain Caterpillar Propulsion and its subsidiaries.
4. General Electric Company (GE):
Based in Boston, an international company with a diversified portfolio, including aircraft engines, household appliances, medical imaging, power generation, and power generation. The company delivers its products and services to healthcare, aviation, additive manufacturing, venture capital, and the digital industry. In November 2020, General Electric Company signed USD 40 million worth of contracts to deliver power and propulsion systems for two National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMVs).
5. MAN Energy Solutions SE:
A Germany-based company and an owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Group. The company is an inventor of large engine turbomachinery solutions for the marine, energy, and oil and gas process industries. The company provides tailor-made solutions and innovative components such as main engines, GenSets, switchboards, converters, electric motors, energy storage systems, gearboxes, and propellers. In February 2021, Man energy solution launched its MAN 175D Hybrid-Propulsion system, selected by Abeking & Rasmussen.
6. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd:
An international leading industrial group utilizing cutting-edge technology with profound experience to deliver integrated solutions for a carbon-neutral world, thus improving quality of life. In 2020, The company invested USD 1.35 billion in research and development activities to reinforce its position and develop low-emission engines.
7. Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc:
One of the major technological companies. Rolls-Royce operates in three business units, involving civil aerospace, power systems, defense, and ITP aero. The company also offers a marine hybrid propulsion system under the power system segment. It accounted for 28% of the total revenue under the power systems business segment. The revenue was obtained from marine engines, marine propulsion systems, ship automation systems, and services for yachts, ferries (also high-speed), supply ships, and governmental vessels. In January 2021, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc supplied two MTU 16V 4000 M55RN gas engines to Sembcorp Marine Integrated Yard to develop the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-hybrid-powered tugboat.
8. SCHOTTEL GmbH:
A renowned group of companies specializes in the design, development, and sale of propulsion and steering systems for ships and offshore applications. The company participates in research & development to optimize existing products, implement innovative solutions, and improve efficiency and reliability of products. In February 2021, SCHOTTEL released advanced propulsion units for nine more Russian cargo vessels. Each vessel is equipped with two rudder propellers, type SRP 340.
9. Siemens AG:
A major engineering and manufacturing establishment focusing on electrification, automation, and digitalization. Siemens AG develops mega yachts, container vessels, cruise liners, ferries, offshore vessels, unique vessels, naval surface vessels, and submarines. In December 2020, Siemens AG received a contract from Cochin Shipyard to deliver advanced hybrid marine propulsion solutions for 23 electric boats.
10. Torqeedo GmbH:
An international producer of electric mobility for the marine industry. The company offers electric and hybrid drives from 0.5 to 100 kW for commercial applications with complete system integration for maximum efficiency. In March 2021, Torqeedo GmbH and Poseidon signed an agreement for a fully electric, steerable thruster system designed to provide up to 65 kW of emission-free power and directional thrust. The system is exemplary for maneuvering on Europe's inland waterways. Poseidon’s thruster is combined into Torqeedo's ultra-powerful and highly efficient Deep Blue drive.
11. Wartsila Corporation:
A trailblazer in intelligent technologies for the marine and energy sectors. The company indulges its resources in marine power, marine system, Voyage, energy, and portfolio business. The company produces propulsion systems, integrated powertrain systems, and engines with high reliability and safety. In February 2021, the company announced a hybrid propulsion system for a RORO ferry, which will be used by the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
COVID-19: Declined Maritime Trade and Operations May Strongly Disrupt the Shipping Industry
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the shipping industry is facing immense threats. According to the Willis Towers Watson 2020 survey, ship orders in China and South Korea have decreased by up to 50 percent. Owing to the stagnation of major ports' trade activities and container service delays, the reduction in maritime trading affected foreign supply chains. Financial difficulties are becoming more prevalent during the pandemic.
Written by Aman