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Operational Consideration in

Electrical Power Plant

• State common parameters of AC electrical
supply onboard
• Describe how the power is distributed to
consumers using line diagram (incorporate
shore supply and emergency source of power)
• Describe the insulated neutral system and why
it is preferred
• Auxiliary services ranging from ER pumps and fans,
deck winches & windlasses to general lighting,
catering & AC
• Electrical power – used to drive most of these
• Electrical power system - designed to provide secured
supplies with adequate built-in protection for both
equipment & operating personnel
• General scheme - nearly common to all ships
• To distribute generated electricity to where it is
• Can be classified as one of following:-
– Main switchboards
– Emergency switchboards
– Section boards - supplied directly/via transformers etc
– Distribution boards
• Metal-clad, dead front switchboards are mandatory
for AC systems
Distribution system
• Main board - built in 2 sections which can operate
independently in case one section damaged
• One side carries port & fwd motors (group motor
starter) while other section carried stbd & aft motors
• Central section used for control the main generators
• Switchgear cubicles on generator panel sides used for
essential services, flanked by group motor starter
• Separate section will controls 3-phase 220V &
lighting services
Distribution system (cont/…)
• 440V/220V lighting transformers may mounted inside main
swbd cubicle, or free-standing behind it
• Main generator supply cables connected directly to their CB
• Short copper bars, then connected to three bus bars which
run through switchboard length
• Busbars - may seen if rear door are opened, in special
enclosed bus-bar duct
• Swbd contain frequency meters, synchroscopes, wattmeters,
voltage and current transformers, ammeter switches, voltage
regulations & means for adjusting prime movers speed
Shore supply
• Required during deadship - dry-docking for major overhaul
• Log of supply kWh meter taken for costing purposes
• Suitable connection box to accept shore supply cable -
accommodation entrance or emergency generator room
• Connection box - suitable terminals including earthing
terminal, dedicated CB, switch & fuses - protect cable linking
to main switchboard
• Plate giving details of ship’s electrical system (voltage and
frequency) & method for connecting must provided
• For AC supply, phase sequence indicator is fitted - indicate
correct supply phase sequence - usually lamp
Shore supply (cont/…)
• It is not normal practice to parallel shore supply with
ship’s generators
• Therefore, ship’s generators must disconnected
before shore supply resume connection – interlocked
• Shore supply may also connected directly to
emergency board - ‘back feeds’ to main switchboard
• When phase sequence indicator indicate reverse
sequence, simply interchanging any two leads to
remedy this fault
• Incorrect phase sequence cause motors to run in
reverse direction
Effect of higher voltage
• Contribute to sparking condition
• Current drawn proportional to terminal voltage
• Cause excessive starting current
• Motor overheat due to high current
• Motor accelerates fast and may overload the
Effect of lower voltage
• Motor draw more current to keep same power output
• Starting torque V², thus to 72.5%
• Take longer period to build up speed
• High reactance motor will stalled
• Overheating will occur
• Motor may stall & burn due to overheating – 49x full
load heating
• Star delta starter line voltage 58%
Effect of higher frequency

• Motor run 20% faster, increase overall speed

• Overload, overheated & overstress driven
• Power produced (speed)³
• Supply will reduce stator flux
• Affect starting torque
• Centrifugal load will rise by 73 %
Effect of lower frequency
• Stator flux increases
• Magnetising current will increase
• Motor runs slower & hot
• Speed reduced to 17%
• Overheating will take place
• Remedy is to slightly lower the voltage
Emergency power supply
Emergency power supply
• Provided, in event of emergency (blackout etc), supply still available for
emergency lighting, alarms, communications, watertight doors & other
essential services - to maintain safety & safe evacuation
• Source - generator, batteries or both
• Self-contained & independent from other ER power supply
• Emergency generator must have ICE as prime mover with own FO
supply tank, starting equipment & switchboard
• Must initiated following a total electrical power failure
• Emergency batteries - ‘switch in’ immediately after power failure
• Emergency generators - hand cranked, but automatically started by air /
battery possible - ensure immediate run-up
• Power rating - determined by size & ship role
• Small vessels - few kW sufficient for emergency lighting
• Larger & complicated vessels - may require hundreds of kW for
emergency lighting, chronological restarting & fire fighting supply
• Connected to own emergency swbd - located in compartment above
water line
• Normal operation - emergency board supplied from main board via
• Impossible to synchronise with main generators due to interlocks –
newer design permit short period of synchronising
• Starting automatically - initiated by relay which monitors normal main
• Falling mains frequency / voltage causes ‘start-up’ relay to operate
generator starting equipment
• Arrangement for starting – electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic
• Regular tests - power loss simulation will triggers start sequence
• Detailed regulations - 1972 SOLAS Convention, IEE Regulations for
Electrical and Electronic Equipment of Ships, regulations from
Classification Societies (LR, ABS, DNV etc) and etc
Insulated neutral system

Insulated system - totally electrically

insulated from earth (ship’s hull)
Earthed neutral system

Earthed system has one pole or

neutral point connected to earth
• Shipboard systems - insulated from earth (ship's hull)
• Shore system - earthed to the ground
• HV systems (>1000V) - earthed to ship's hull via
neutral earthing resistor (NER) or high impedance
transformer to limit earth fault current
• Priority for shipboard - maintain electrical supply to
essential equipment in event of single earth fault
• Priority ashore - immediate isolation earth-faulted
3 basic circuit faults

An open-circuit fault is due A short-circuit fault is due

to a break in the conductor, to a double break in the
as at A, so that current insulation, as at C,
cannot flow allowing both conductors
to be connected so that a
An earth fault is due to a break very large current by-
in the insulation, as at B, passes or "short-circuits"
allowing the conductor to touch the load.
the hull or an earthed metal
The preferred system??
• If earth fault occurs on insulated pole of ‘EARTHED
DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM’ - equivalent to ‘short
circuit’ fault
• Large earth fault current would immediately ‘blow’
the fuse in line conductor
• Faulted electrical equipment immediately isolated
from supply & rendered SAFE, but loss of equipment
• Could create hazardous situation if equipment was
The preferred system??
The preferred system??
• If earth fault ‘A’ occurs on one line of ‘INSULATED
DISTRIBUTOIN SYSTEM’ - not trip any protective gear &
system resume function normally
• Thus, equipment still operates
• If earth fault ‘B’ developed on another line, 2 earth faults
would equivalent to a short-circuit fault & initated protective
• An insulated distribution system requires TWO earth faults on
TWO different lines to cause an earth fault current.
• An earthed distribution system requires only ONE earth fault
on the LINE conductor to create an earth fault current.
• Therefore an insulated system is more effective than an
earthed system - maintain supply continuity to equipment, thus
being adopted for most marine electrical systems
High voltage system
• Shipboard HV systems - ‘earthed’ via resistor
connecting generator neutrals to earth
• Earthing resistor with ohmic value - chosen to limit
maximum earth fault current < generator full load
• Neutral Earthing Resistor (NER) - assembled with
metallic plates in air – due to single earth fault will
cause circuit disconnected by its protection device
The preferred system??