30th Propulsion & Emissions Conference 2008 Radisson SAS Hotel, Sweden, Gothenburg on 21-22 May 2008.

A Survey of Concepts for Electric Propulsion in Conventional and Ice Breaking OSVs
Alf Kåre Ådnanes, Dr. Ing., MScEE ABB AS, Business Unit Marine, P.O. Box 94, NO-1375 Billingstad, Norway

ABSTRACT The use of electric propulsion in both open water and ice breaking OSVs has become a marine industry standard for a wide range of applications, and is increasing to new applications and into more geographical regions. The technologies develop continuously, and today there are several approaches to reach the "optimal design" that reduces fuel consumption and environmental footprint, simplifies design and construction with better utilization of the on-board space, and creates a better working environment for the crew. This paper presents the various concepts at the market, and summarizes their technical characteristics and limitations. It is aimed to give yards, designers, and ship owner necessary technical information in order to make a proper selection of system topology within the specifics of a vessel design. Important aspects regarding operational safety and availability of the propulsion and station keeping plant is also discussed. INTRODUCTION Since mid 1990’s, OSVs have been equipped with electric propulsion, Fig. 1, where the main propulsors and station keeping thrusters have been driven by variable speed electric motor drives, being supplied from the common ship electric power plant with constant frequency and voltage. Thrusters and propulsors are normally of fixed pitch propeller design (FPP) that reduces the mechanical complexity of the units, and the electric power is normally supplied from fixed speed combustion engines; diesel, gas, or dual fuel. During this period, there has been a continuous development of solutions for the electric power plant for vessels with electric propulsion. The development can be considered as an incremental evolution of concepts, where the building blocks of the electric plant is adapted from the general industry applications, which has a far bigger volume of installations than the marine applications and to a large extent gives the premises for basic technology developments. Even though the suppliers of electric power and propulsion plants utilize building blocks that are based on principally the same fundamental concepts, there is a range of different configurations and preferences in the market. As the technical arguments for the concept appears to be biased and naturally to some extent influenced by a driving force to pursue a sales, it is necessary for ship owners, yards, and designers to be able to evaluate and compare this information to make the decision. As the author represents one of the vendors, this paper should not be considered to be an objective and neutral assessment of competing concepts; however, it is the aim of the author to give a unified description of the most applied concepts. Further, it is the author’s objective that decisions shall be made on understanding of the characteristics and resulting effects of the technology, rather than the technology itself. The author has based his information on own and public available information, and hence, actual solutions may deviate from what has been assumed in this paper. It is therefore necessary to supplement the information herein with the detailed information in each project and from each supplier.

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and continuous improvements. The advantages of e. 440V. 60Hz 99kVA 99kVA M 230V Bow Thruster M Bow Thruster 230V Distribution M Thruster M Main Propulsor M Azimuth Thruster M Main Propulsor M Thruster Port Side propulsion and shaft gen. Understanding the needs and requirements of the users requires a continuous cooperation in the global maritime network. In evaluation of concepts. The driving forces for technology development and assessment should be based on the effects and results of the technologies. lower emissions Improved working environment for the crew Low maintenance costs Availability to maintenance during the life cycle of the ship Availability to maintenance in the region of operation. as well as essential for the continuous improvement of the vessel’s earnings and safety. Fig. the following criterion will be important for the comparison of products. and electric propulsion concept for OSV. an efficiency improvement in one component may make no sense if it requires a non-optimal operation of the prime movers in order to function as intended.g. although their weighting and importance may vary over time and between various applications: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Cost efficient building and installation Flexibility in design that improves ship utilization High safety for crew High safety for operations Continuous availability to propulsion and station keeping systems Reduced fuel consumption Reduced impact on the external environment. Generally. it may be painful if that particular technology is obsolete and unavailable after few years. 2 of 19 . working with technology gives the daily bread and butter. The “optimal” solution today does not necessarily meet the new requirements in the future. Stbd Side propulsion and shaft gen. Utilizing fast changing technologies to obtain some improvement is normal in consumer industry.Aux gen. often world-wide Spare parts availability Remote and on-board support Minimizing constraints of operations leading to non-optimal performance Reduce negative consequences for other equipment High ice braking and ice management performance for ice breakers Technology can never become the goal itself. systems. researchers. the overall performance and characteristics should be assessed rather than the individual component. Emgc’y gen. but in a life cycle assessment of a vessel. but those who are leading in technology development and capable to utilize this competence in a sustainable and commercially viable context should be better fit to meet today’s and future’s solutions that meet the users changing demands. THE IMPORTANCE OF TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT For many engineers. and developers. 1: Conventional direct mechanical propulsion. and services. Technology development is both challenging and interesting for those involved.

depending on configuration for reducing the harmonic distortion of currents flowing into the network and voltage adjustment where applicable. For the power level needed for OSV propulsion. taking care of the control functions as well as monitoring and protection of the VSD. The VSD consists of: • Electric motor. consisting typically of a motor controller and an application controller for the propulsion / thruster control. the dynamic performance of propulsors and thrusters for OSV is much lower than what the modern VSD may perform. • Frequency converter. The voltage source inverter consists of a rectifier.propulsor and auxiliaries Propulsion Controller Motor Controller Measurement and control signals Rectifier DC Link Inverter MOTOR Supply voltage: Fixed AC voltage Fixed frequency Constant DC voltage Variable AC voltage and frequency Fig. the Voltage Source Inverter (VSI). DC drives. is the dominating topology of frequency converters and used by most suppliers to this market. A new method of vector control that was based on stator flux oriented control and direct torque control of the motor was developed around 1990 /2/. Therefore. with a robust algorithm that gives high controllability and efficiency with much less sensitivity to variations in motor parameters than the traditional field oriented control. The motor controller technology has developed from the scalar U/f control system used since the earliest variable speed AC drives.VARIABLE SPEED DRIVES FOR ELECTRIC PROPULSION The variable speed drive (VSD) for propulsors and thrusters is one of the most essential components in a power plant for electric propulsion. a DC link with voltage smoothing capacitors. • A control system. The introduction of field oriented control significantly improved performance and efficiency of the VSD. • Optionally line filters or transformers. but also synchronous motors for the high power range. 2: The basic modules for a Voltage Source Inverter (VSI). 3 of 19 . and was first introduced in large scale commercial drives production in the early 90’s by ABB under the name of DTC™.automation systems . External interfaces . however. normally asynchronous (induction) motors. converting the fixed voltage and frequency of the network to a variable voltage and frequency needed to adjust the speed of the electric motor. such as permanent magnet motors and DC motors. Other types of motors used in special applications. with exception of the need for fast black-out prevention where each fraction of a second is essential. Fig. 2. this paper only considers the VSI in various configurations. Field oriented control of AC motors was developed already in the 60’s /1/ but did not establish as an industrial standard before in the mid 80’s when digital controllers with sufficient capacity and speed became commercially accepted. The DC link may where required be equipped with a breaking chopper to dissipate wind-milling power from the propeller in rapid speed variations or in crash stop conditions of the vessel. and an inverter unit as the main components. Current Source Inverters (CSI) and Cycloconverters are rarely used and being phased out from new buildings of OSVs. As will be discussed later.remote control . DTC enables ultra fast control of the torque of the motors. the control method was still sensitive to the motor parameters and time variations.

system voltages up to 690V between the phases. the semiconductors will only operate in the active mode in the transition between being fully off (closed) state and fully on (open) state in order to minimize the power losses. with integrated IGBT switches and freewheeling diodes. and (d) press pack GCT/IGCT. IGBT Low voltage IGBT High voltage GCT/IGCT High voltage (a) (b) (c) (d) Fig. Each module may consist of several IGBT switching components.3kV and 6-6. and a highly reliable component itself. However. Power semiconductors are made for low voltage applications. (b) low voltage IGBT module. IGBT in press pack are available from several makers. 3: (a) The development of power semiconductor switches /3/. although some makers have eveluated them stable enough to be used in variable speed drives for ship applications. This new component is called GCT (Gate Controlled Thyristor). there is a difficulty . together with free-wheeling diodes for reverse currents through the switching elements.with conventional press-packs . and for high voltage applications. i. with less power consumption. The IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) is the dominating power semiconductor for low voltage applications and being used by all major suppliers of frequency converters. As the IGBT requires a simpler gate control device.The key component in the frequency converter is the power semiconductor. Thyristors are only applied in special cases e. In high voltage converters these are used as discrete switching elements with one silicon wafer being installed in press pack (hockey-puck) housing. The IGCT is optimized for low conduction losses. in contrast to the GTO. the upper switching frequency is only limited by operating thermal losses and the system's ability to remove this heat. They are pressed with a relatively high force onto heat-sinks which also serve as electrical contacts to the power terminals. Hence. the GTO (Gate Turn Off) thyristor was for long times used as switching component. In VSI frequency converters.g. Since IGBTs are made with multiple parallel chips. >1000V system voltage. IGCT (Integrated GCT). All ABB IGCTs are press-pack devices. a large effort has been made to make them available for high voltage.6kV line-line voltages for high voltage frequency converters. Its typical turn-on/off switching frequency is in the range of 500 hertz. in parallel or separately controlled. Because of the high power. It only requires an external power supply and its control functions are conveniently accessed through optical fiber connections. the components used are either passive components (diodes) or active switching components. as shown in Fig. and hence not only increase the overall reliability but also reduce the power losses in the overall system. Today. 4 of 19 . The GTO is of a robust design. a further development of the GTO was made by ABB during the 90’s where the basic concept of the GTO was improved to reduce the need for auxiliary components. and when integrated with its gate control system. The first IGBTs were of module design. in configurations where it is a need to control the DC link voltage or for soft charging of the DC link. and these auxiliary components got quite high stresses from the switching of the GTO. The IGCT's turn-on/off control unit is an integral element of the component. (c) press pack high voltage IGBT. 3(b). although it required a number of auxiliary components to achieve the robustness in operation. and were not considered reliable enough for demanding propulsion applications. a difficulty which increases with the number of devices in a stack. including ABB /4/.e. and in some cases for regeneration of power. and mainly used in power transmission and static converters.in assuring uniform pressure on all chips. The low voltage IGBT is normally mounted in compound modules. typical voltage levels are 3-3. For high voltage frequency converters. Depending on configuration.

with a full bridge passive rectifier – or several in parallel if necessary to achieve the desired power level. a 690V supply gives approximately 930V DC link voltage at full load. 5 of 19 . and in complex systems with many drives and a range of operating conditions. The AC supply voltage is rectified to form a DC voltage. • 12. reducing the benefit of avoiding losses in the drive transformer. The THDu will also here normally be within the 5% limit. since the rectifier consists of switching devices. especially where the load characteristics requires regenerative braking to such an extent that it makes it beneficial to use this energy by feeding it back to the network. the transformer will be larger and more expensive than a 3-winding transformer of equivalent rating. the cost of the frequency converter increases. the worst case conditions will lead to a THDu in the range of 6-8%. i. The Q24-pulse rectifier utilizes the same rectifier topology as the 12-pulse rectifier. For most cases. Certain constraints in operation may be necessary in order to guarantee this. Hence. the current can be shaped similarly to the motor current and with much lower distortion than the currents of a diode rectifier. a partial cancellation of the largest harmonic components will occur. or two paralleled 3-winding transformers. but since the supply voltages are phase shifted through the supply transformers. 5 shows the most common configurations for low voltage VSI frequency converters. but will hardly have any impact on the distortion at the main switchboard. however. Normally. but with only three paralleled 6-pulse rectifiers and a 4-winding transformer. resulting in a voltage distortion THDu of more than 10%. At ideal conditions. one should note that there are ample of harmonic voltages from the switching.e. each supplied from phase shifted voltages through one 5-winding transformer. This configuration will normally always give distortion under the 5% limit. the Q24-pulse configuration is regarded to be a cost efficient way to meet class requirements for most OSVs. The rectifier may be of different types. the total prize and size is at the same order due to a complex transformer design. however. Even though the classical harmonic filters then can be avoided without use of drive transformers.and quasi 24-pulse configurations looks similar with two paralleled diode rectifiers. depending on the requirements for each installations and makers’ preference. As the switching elements are more costly than diode rectifiers. • Active rectifiers with switching elements have for some time been applied in demanding industrial applications.35 times supply line voltage at full load. depending on voltage drop and commutation impedance in the supply. also the size and price of this may increase. There is limited experience by use of active rectifiers in weak electric power systems as found on vessels.Fig. the harmonic distortion will be equivalent to a 24-pulse configuration. • 24-pulse configurations consists of four paralleled 6-pulse rectifiers. which is above the limit of most of classification societies without using harmonic filters. size and weight is minimized. it is challenging to perform a complete system analysis of any modes and configurations in order to detect and avoid possible resonance effects from the numerous combination of paralleled HF filters. without constraints in operation. and depending on the rating of the diode rectifiers. but the quasi-24 pulse (Q24) VSD transformers are made in pairs of two and two with 15 deg phase shift between the two in each pair. The 18-pulse configuration utilizes the same concept. 12pulse configuration may meet the requirements to voltage distortion by class. Under other conditions. 18-pulse rectifiers are therefore rarely in use today. the resulting distortion at the main switchboard is reduced. However. the regenerative energy is normally negligible in a fuel and cost of energy assessment. however. and its losses will also be higher. Depending on load conditions in the prospected operation profile and system parameters. The main switchboard must hence be designed to tolerate a high level of voltage and current distortion. • 6-pulse diode rectifier is the simplest design. However. In order to achieve the limit as specified in IEC and which most classification society now has adapted of 5%. of approximately 1. with high frequencies and with a high level of electromagnetic noise that must be filtered with high frequency (HF) filters. The 6-pulse rectifier does not need any supply transformer unless necessary to adapt the voltage. and the harmonic distortion will in most installations be under the 5% THDu limit in any practical operation mode. and be documented accordingly as specified in class rules. comparing to the 24-pulse topology. A harmonic filter at the distribution switchboard will reduce the distortion at this voltage level and below. the harmonic distortion from the line currents is high – in the order of 2525% THDi. For propulsors and thrusters. harmonic filtering or clean power supply is necessary. where the loads of the VSDs in each pair are equal.

at the middle of the negative and positive DC bus voltage. regenerative voltage is seldom of a concern. the so called neutral point. reducing its availability and reliability. Clamping diodes ensures that each of the switching elements never will be exposed to higher than half of the DC link voltage. For thrusters and Azimuthing propulsors. 5. the converters will normally be equipped with a third voltage level. there are certain conditions where the propeller wind-milling effect may create reverse power. Torque >0 Quadrant I Motoring Speed>0. The inverter module is normally a full bridge IGBT inverter in low voltage VSIs. and maximum voltage availability of power semiconductors. see Fig 4. there are different ways to achieve this. 4: Regenerative power from the propeller may occur when reversal of speed (RPM) is used in crash stop or equivalent to crash stop maneuvering. Torque <0 R Fig. the power will be absorbed by the DC link causing voltage rise of the capacitors unless the power can be fed into the supply network by an active or regenerative rectifier. in order to smooth the DC link voltage to reduce the voltage ripple from the rectifier to an acceptable level for the output stage of the frequency converter. By increasing the number of series connected switching elements. with 6 IGBT switching elements each with an anti-parallel freewheeling diode for reversing the currents through the switches. and therefore this configuration is called “three level. the high voltage VSI frequency converter normally consists of series connected semiconductors. the harmonic distortion in the load currents and consequentially the torque ripple will be reduced. If regenerative power is expected from the load. such as field oriented control with PWM or hysteresis control. High voltage frequency converters. e. 6 for the rectifier and inverter. where the ripple current can be further reduced and lower voltage switching elements may be used. The penalty is then the higher number of components in the system. as shown in Fig. the number of switching combinations also increases – and with a specific maximum switching frequency of the components. Fig. The switching elements in each of the three legs of the inverter must operate in inverse mode. In order to reduce the voltage over each component. Depending on the control scheme. Some suppliers use this concept to design multilevel inverter topologies. The objective of controlling the IGBTs is to feed a voltage vector to the stator winding that forces the currents and flux in the machine towards the targeted amplitude and phase angle. in crash stop conditions of shaft propellers. In shaft line propulsion. consists of a DC capacitor.The DC link. Torque Quadrant II Braking Speed<0. and direct torque control. Braking resistors may then be used to dissipate the regenerated energy.g. Because of the higher system voltage. Torque <0 Quadrant IV Braking Speed>0. e.3kV system voltage. and to filter the high frequency distortion from the switching elements in the inverter and avoid that these are injected to the supply network. or in Azimuthing propulsors where crash stop or equivalent to crash stop maneuvering is made by reversal of the propeller RPM. utilizes the same principles as the low voltage VSI frequency converters. neutral point clamped (NPC) inverter topology”. Fig 5. Torque >0 Quadrants I and III – Positive Power: Bollard pull Free sailing Crash stop Speed (RPM) Quadrants II and IV – Negative Power: Speed Quadrant III Motoring Speed<0. which normally is insignificant from an energy consumption perspective in electric propulsion. as one may restrict these loads to only operate in motoring mode. 6 of 19 . for 3-3.g. such as with shaft line propellers. or dissipated in a load resistor bank. where one IGBT always is controlled off to avoid short circuiting the DC link. The characteristics of these methods will be discussed later.

passive diode rectifier DC Link Inverter 12-pulse. passive diode rectifier 20 electrical degrees phase shifted voltages Full bridge IGBT inverter 15 electrical degrees phase shifted voltages DC link with braking chopper and resistor Active rectifier with IGBTs R Fig. two level VSI frequency converters.Rectifier 6-pulse. 5: Description of basic modules for typical low voltage. passive diode rectifier 30 electrical degrees phase shifted voltages DC link with smoothing capacitor 18-pulse. 7 of 19 . passive diode rectifier 24-pulse.

passive diode rectifier DC Link Inverter DC link with smoothing capacitor 12-pulse. 6: Description of basic modules for typical high voltage. passive diode rectifier 15 electrical degrees phase shifted voltages DC link with braking resistors R Active rectifier with IGCT R Fig. 8 of 19 .Rectifier 6-pulse. passive diode rectifier 30 electrical degrees phase shifted voltages Neutral point clamped IGCT inverter 24-pulse. three-level neutral point clamped VSI frequency converters.

normally synchronous motors with wound field windings and brushless excitation are used. rotor resistance and leakage inductance.0 6. becomes excessive and impractical for cost efficient use. which is represented by the reactive power of the motor. with the stator resistance and leakage inductance. For special applications. This shows a one phase model of the induction motor. From this model. the VSI concept is today the preferred solution within the constraints of its ratings and applications. or the frequency converters should be of high voltage topology. Fig. for the OSV applications. two low voltage motor drives can be used in twin or tandem configurations. 9. and the magnetizing inductance for air gap flux. For other industrial applications.9 U (kV) Motor Power 16’000 10’000 9’000 6’000 5’000 2’000 315 VSI: Voltage Source Inverters with PWM or DTC CSI: Current Source Inverters with Thyristors Cyclo: Direct Converter with Thyristors Motor Voltage LV MV Fig. The map is indicative. For higher power levels. 8b when controlling the speed of the motor.4 3. permanent magnet AC motors. This motor can simplified.8 2. 7: ABB drive technology map (indicative – check with ABB for details). For marine applications. The power range of most of the OSV propulsors and thrusters is covered by the induction motor. 7 shows the drive technology map for ABB. This limit is based on the constraints of motor design and construction. and was utilized in scalar control. these concepts are very rarely used today since the VSI frequency converters covers any application needs. and for illustration only.0 1.5 1. Single inverter. 8. The magnetizing resistor represents the magnetizing losses in the stator and rotor magnetic steel. MOTOR CONTROL METHODS Any motor control method is based on the principle of controlling the motor torque based on a model of the motor. and stationary be modeled by the equivalent diagram shown in Fig. it can be derived that the voltages and frequency should vary as shown in Fig. For the OSV applications. This relation has been known since the origin of the variable speed control.5-5MW as a practical limit. Induction motors are simple of construction and rugged in design. normally induction (asynchronous) motors are applied. For higher power levels.5 6. Fig. and offer more technical advantages than the alternative VSD concepts. of the induction motor before more modern concepts was developed.3 4. and even DC motors are applied.P (kW) 40’000 30’000 27’000 CSI Cycloconverters VSI IGCT VSI IGBT 690 1. However. where the air gap of the motor becomes so large that the amount of magnetically stored energy. Cycloconverter and CSI (Current Source Inverter) topologies may be used. 9 of 19 . low voltage VSI frequency converters are available up to approximately 4. and are normally used for power levels up to 5-10MW depending on motor RPM. or for special customer demands.

Also. /2/. giving a poor dynamic control of the motor. The principle was to decouple stator current into a magnetizing component. and this enabled control methods that were comparable to DC motor control. Instead of referring the model to the rotor flux vector.limit U/f ratio f f0 5 10 15 20 Inverter PWM M T Fig. and since the dynamics of the motor is neglected. and a rotor current component and control each of these quantities in a synchronous rotating frame. 10. and has been applied by ABB since the beginning of the 90’s . DC Link RPM Setpoint + Ramp . The Direct Torque Control (DTC).limit U PID controller Ramp . This resulted in a very robust algorithm.Rs Ls * L* r Rr / s Lm Is Vs Rm Ir Im Torque producing current (Rotor current) Re Ir Im Is ⎛ T ⎞ 2 2 Is = Im + I r2 = I m +⎜ ⎜ Ir × T ⎟ ⎟ N ⎠ ⎝ 2 Constant torque region Field weakening region Im Maximum stator current boundary Maximum torque boundary Flux (Φ) producing current (Magnetization current. and torque characteristics in variable speed drive applications. which is time variant and since it cannot be directly measured. the field oriented control suffered from two major weaknesses: • The motor model is very depending on the rotor time constant. 8: (a) Simplified equivalent diagram and vector diagram for induction motor. and the speed and dynamics of the outer loop control is limited by the bandwidth of the two current control loops. not sensitive to the highly variable rotor time constant. The new control algorithms were called field oriented control. flux. During the 80’s. 11. they did not become commercially available until the mid 80’s. significant information is disregarded. or rotor flux oriented control. 10 of 19 . Fig. During the 60’s. instead of controlling the two decoupled current components. Im) Magnetic flux Pitching moment limitation Stator voltage Stator frequency RPM (a) (b) Fig. another approach to modeling and control was introduced. and (b) the corresponding voltage. Fig. was the first large scale industrial use of this control method. 9: Principle sketch of a scalar controlled VSD with induction motor. frequency. advanced algorithms for directly controlling the switching pattern of the inverter of the VSI were developed. the motor variables were now referred to stator flux. significant improvements in the motor modeling and control of induction motor was achieved. high speed ASICS in combination with fast signal processors. /X/. made possible only by using dedicated. As these control methods required digital controllers for optimal performance. and with ultra fast dynamic response. oriented along the vector of the rotor flux. it must be continuously estimated in order to obtain satisfactory performance and efficiency of the converter. The scalar control of the induction motor is based on the stationary motor model. Still. • The field oriented controller requires a closed loop control of the two current components. only limited by the current rise time of the stator windings.

Fig. it is also applied in synchronous and permanent magnet motors. However. 12.limit Flux ref PID controller Torque ref Direct torque and flux hysteresis control Inverter Optimal switching logics Flux controller M Torque act RPM act Flux act Motor model Fig. For VSD in propulsion and thruster applications. the dynamic performance of the modern frequency converters is much faster than needed for normal speed control. • Power efficiency: The minimization of power losses in the motor is based on a precise control of the magnetization and torque producing currents. 11: Direct Torque Control (DTC) of induction motors minimizes at each sampling the deviation between desired and actual flux and torque in the motor. • Out of water effects: When thrusters and propulsors are running at high load in rough weather conditions. This can only be achieved with the fastest dynamic performance in order to avoid load shedding. after a fault in the power generation system. 10: Field oriented. Typically.limit PID controller + - PID controller e-jθ f0 5 10 15 20 2 PWM Inverter Flux controller + - PID controller 3 M T e jθ 2 3 Motor model Parameters Parameter adaption Fig. 11 of 19 . and to avoid excessive load variations in the prime movers. Errors in the model may give unnecessary high losses in the motor. air suction and out of water effects lead to sudden loss of load torque with a high risk for tripping by over speed if the dynamics of the controller is not fast enough to avoid runaway. • Black-out prevention: In order to avoid black-out by power phase back of the VSD. DC Link RPM Setpoint + Ramp . there are certain concerns that needs fast acting and precise control algorithms to be solved.DC Link RPM Setpoint + Ramp . Here shown induction motor. or rotor flux oriented control of induction motors. the speed regulation must be slowed down by use of speed ramps in order to not overload the mechanical systems in the thruster and propulsor power transmission. the load power of the propulsors and thrusters should be reduced within 300-500 ms.

where the set-point from the remote control system is regarded as an RPM set-point. (b) in time frame.7 Speed (RPM) Control rp m Torque Control Power Control Max torque limit Max power limit Torque Control Power Control RPM Control 0. load variations at the propeller will instantly result in torque and hence power variations at the shaft. and power control of a propulsor or thruster. and result in frequency variations and possible dynamic overload of the prime mover if the load variations are high. which is controlled to follow the set-point only.01 sec 100% 200% 300% VSI Drives FPP load red Load x MCR PROPULSOR OR THRUSTER Fig. and the motor’s own electrical dynamics. the load torque variations will not be reflected in the torque produced by the VSD.2 0. This is primarily a problem of concern for ice breaking OSVs. As seen in Fig.4 0. 13. by interpreting the remote control signal as directly being the torque reference to the torque controller of the VSD. 13. controlling the torque to keep the shaft power equal to the remote set-point. (a) in RPM-torque frame. amplified by the motor control algorithm. 12: Black-out prevention algorithms requires very fast dynamic response of the VSD controller for thrusters and propulsors. torque control. RPM control. However. 12 of 19 . Then. as shown in Figs. Since a closed loop RPM control uses the PID controller to minimize the deviation between reference speed and actual speed. torque control. and load control times. 300-500 ms is normally regarded as maximum response time for the complete load reduction loop including detection. 9-11.5 0. PROPULSION CONTROL METHODS The essence of any motor control is to achieve a good torque control of the motor drive.1 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 0 2 4 6 8 10 0 2 4 6 8 10 load to rqu e el torque po w er RPM (a) (b) Fig. and power control have all been applied in various applications. Their differences can be observed by the characteristic behaviors in Fig.HARDWIRED & SAFETY SYSTEM REMOTE I/O CABINET 10 sec 1 sec 0. one could also use other approaches to control the propeller. transmission. Torque Propeller load torque 0. When torque control is achieved. and even to use the set-point as a power command to the VSD. where load variations are sudden and may be very high.1 sec Risk for Blackout Fixed speed CPP load red DP power limitation PMS load reduction DIESEL GENERATOR COMMUNICATION NETWORK FREQUENCY CONVERTER MAIN CONTROLLER COMMUNICATION NETWORK OPERATOR WORKSTATION COMMUNICATION NETWORK 0. since the load power is proportional to load torque and RPM. and the most normal for variable speed control. the motor controller can be regarded as a torque amplifier with a time lag.6 0. and the time lag is depending on the applied motor control algorithms.3 0. 13: Characteristics of RPM (speed) control. it is easy to adapt the motor drive to various types of outer control algorithms. this may give large variations in the propeller RPM and will therefore also give power variations at the shaft and hence in the power plant. but also for ships operating in high waves the load may vary quite significantly.REMOTE I/O CABINET ENGINE SAFETY & SWITCHBOARD/ CONTROL SYSTEM INTERFACE GENERATOR PANEL ENGINE CONTROL . is to create a closed loop speed (RPM) control of the propulsor or thruster drives. These power variations will immediately be reflected on the power taken from the power plant. If using the remote set-point as a torque reference.

power control is a necessity. however. Torque control is rarely used today. as speed (RPM) and power control are better alternatives for the various operational modes. there has not been reported any successful use of such control schemes in DP systems. e. RPM control gives some faster dynamic performance. For ice braking vessels. and the slower response of the VSD drive in power control mode may be one explanation to this. it is beyond the scope of this paper to describe all these in details. the speed is decreasing. Power = Torque x (2 x π x RPM/60). when the propeller hits ice blocks. since the loads of the propeller may vary excessively and very fast. showing that the load power is constant when operating in power control mode. Note that it is necessary to include additional control and monitoring functions to achieve safe and reliable control of the propulsors and thrusters in all operating modes. 13 of 19 . Power control is based on a control algorithm where the remote set-point is regarded to be the commanded power (kW) set-point to the propeller. Research has shown that the use of power control may also give significant achievements in power stability of the network and reduction in load variations for the prime movers in station keeping conditions. Fig. Any load variations will be counteracted by keeping the motor shaft power constant. which is a real logged characteristics of a propulsion drive system in heavy seas and during course changes where the load varies significantly – without causing load power variations of the prime movers. and is normally used in operation modes with lower load on the propellers. 14: Logging from sea trial. as seen in Fig. The torque increases inverse proportionally to speed in order to keep constant power. such as free sailing and transit modes. 14. At this point the ship is turning and due to increased propeller load. Power control is found advantageous at high propeller loads in most ship applications. Until today. and the load power of the prime movers will therefore be minimized.The speed is not constant in Power Mode. 13. even though the load torque may change significantly by effects from waves and course changes. The power control works well within the constraints and limitations of the components in the VSD. such as maneuvering mode and station keeping. and the VSD controller will then control the load torque to produce a power to the motor shaft which equals this set-point. and at high dynamic requirements.g. as shown in Fig.

Propulsion transformers are large and heavy equipment. e. which may cause deterioration of the fuel economy of the prime movers and limitations of operational windows for the vessel. but it is not necessarily straight forward and must be discussed with. counteracting at least partly the benefits of the transformer-less design. the basic topologies for the VSD are relatively similar among the various suppliers to the application of electrical propulsion. a retractable thruster can be considered as available for the DP capability after a single fault. The configurations in Fig. and give additional losses that to some extent will counteract the benefits of avoiding the losses in the drives transformer. Also the dual feeding of active rectifiers must be rated 2x100% if full load capability shall be obtained after a worst case fatal fault of one switchboard section. but not without other penalties. one of the main technical differences are related to how these products are put together in a system configuration for electric power generation. 14 of 19 . if the result is that e.SYSTEM CONFIGURATIONS As previously shown. that in the configurations of Fig. Note. as well as the power losses in the rectifier. there are also other complicating effects for such designs. there may be several variants for optimization to the actual requirements for each vessel. there are no thrusters with change-over feeder from the two switchboards or switchboard sections. However. Each vessel may have its own specific requirements. In addition to the rating. This fault tolerance may be achieved. the best solution can be applied. The different solutions have different characteristics. whether space is a scarce resource or not in the design. The main challenge in system design is to meet the class requirements and ship specific requirements at a minimum total cost including equipment and installation costs. Dual feeding through diode rectifiers normally will lead to a 2x100% rating of the rectifiers. and approved by class in each case. and likewise for the critical signal interfaces to the power management system and other automation systems. From a ship application perspective. unless significant restrictions and constraints of operations shall be applied. Fig. as also all auxiliary and control voltages must be tolerant and continuously available after a fault on any of the main switchboard. The 6-pulse and Q12-pulse solutions normally will require some kind of harmonic filter installations. as the rectifier loads are given mainly by the total load and the difference of the supply voltages. Change-over supply is often used in OSVs for retractable Azimuthing thrusters in order to be able to provide power to this even with a fatal failure of one of the main switchboards. and the 6-pulse. or flow through the two primary sides of the distribution transformers. and the complexity of the installation as each of the rectifiers requires a HF harmonic filter that introduces resonance modes of the installations that should not be excited by the switching frequency of the rectifier. active rectifier. there exists no one “ideal” design for all vessels. 15. For the configurations in Fig. The use of change-over circuits is an issue for discussion with class. Several system configurations are applied. and only when considering the requirements and limitations for a vessel design. distribution.g. it may be worth the efforts. For each main configuration. and propulsion / station keeping. 16 shows typical solutions for such change-over arrangements for different frequency converter topologies. Hence. and with a best possible life cycle economy. class does not necessarily allows thrusters with change-over to constitute a part of the station keeping capability after a single failure. Even a small difference in voltage supply is a source for large unbalance in the rectifier loads. 16 (b) and (c) this is necessary to avoid paralleling of the bus tie or transfer feeder via the thruster cables. Also. Although class rules allows for changeover supply. 15. the size and costs of the frequency converter itself will increase. and the Q12-pulse with phase shifted main voltages are examples on “transformer-less” solutions. The Q12-pulse solution in particular depends on a complex main switchboard with two feeders to each frequency converter for balanced loads that is a necessity for maximum performance.g. Each feeder will carry a 6-pulse current that to some extent will enter the respective generators on the switchboard. 16 (a) and (d) could meet the requirement for continuous availability provided that each branch of the rectifier parts is rated appropriately. of which the most common ones are shown in Fig. The active rectifiers increase the number of active components in the installation. if the power source must be automatically or manually reconnected after the failure.

6.and quasi 24-pulse • 3-winding transformers.G G G G 690V FC FC FC FC 440V M M M M 440V 6-pulse: • No drive transformers • Harmonic filters needed to get THD<5% • Weight: Low • Footprint: Low • Operational constraints: Medium • Total efficiency: Approx: 90-91% 12. 690V Main SWBD voltage is shown. oversized distribution transformers for power transfer • Weight: Medium • Footprint: Medium • Operational constraints: High • Total efficiency: Approx: 90% included harmonic losses in generators and distribution transformer 24-pulse: • 5-winding transformers (or 2 x 3-winding) • No harmonic filters • Weight: High • Footprint: High • Operational constraints: Low • Total efficiency: Approx: 90% Active rectifiers: • No drive transformers • High frequency input filters for harmonics • Weight: Low • Footprint: Medium • Operational constraints: Low / Medium • Total efficiency: Approx: 90-91% 690V: Main switchboard voltage 440V: Main distribution voltage G: Generator M: Motor (Propulsors and thrusters) FC: Frequency Converter AR: Active Rectifier DC/AC: Inverter G G G G 690V 440V FC FC FC FC 440V M G 690V M G M G M G 690V 440V M M 440V M M G G G G 690V 440V FC FC FC FC 440V M M M M G G G G 690V AR DC/AC AR DC/AC AR DC/AC AR DC/AC 440V M M M M 440V Glossary: Fig. not Q24 • Weight: High • Footprint: High • Operational constraints: Low/medium • Total efficiency: Approx: 90% Quasi 12-pulse with phase shifted mains voltages /5/: • No drive transformers. e. 15: Alternative system configurations with main characteristics. 15 of 19 .6kV is used when generator capacity typically exceeds about 10MW. phase shift for Q24 • Harmonic filters for 12-pulse.g. high voltage.

16 of 19 . For the type of converters that have the highest level of distortion in the currents. The non-sinusoidal currents into the rectifier consist of a fundamental voltage. A harmonic filter can be applied. the change-over circuits must be equipped with isolating switches also at the load end of the feeding cables (e). even though being fed by sinusoidal voltages. Fig. passive filters are more commonly applied. 16: (a)-(d) Alternative for thrusters with change-over from two switchboard sections. such as ABS. typically those with 6-pulse. but for the sensitive equipment only. the active filters measures the distorted load currents. American Bureau of Shipping: When the limit of the applicable regulation will be exceeded with the decided frequency converter and system configuration also after optimizing the design of the generators and transformers in the plant.AR INV AR INV M FC FC M M 6-pulse 12. 12-pulse. while the active rectifier is designed to draw sinusoidal currents from the network. and a series of harmonic components with a wide content of frequencies which depends on the rectifier type and system configuration. especially since they can be used at lower voltage levels in the distribution system to filter the voltage distortion not necessarily in the complete installation. due to their lower costs. 18. it is normally a matter of economy to select which solution to apply. Fig. the level of harmonic distortion in the currents may lead to voltage distortion above the class limits. 17 and active filters. and Q12-pulse rectifiers. passive LC filters (alternatively damped LCR). There are two main different types for harmonic filters. For ship applications. HARMONIC FILTERNING AND CLEAN POWER SUPPLIES Frequency converters are inherently non-linear components due to the switching characteristics of the rectifier components. However. and cancels the harmonic components of the VSD by injecting harmonic current with 180 deg phase shift to the power plant. that in DP3 applications. similarly to the active rectifier in frequency converters. a topology with switching elements like IGBT for low voltage systems. meaning that they do not draw sinusoidal currents from the network. Most class societies now have adapted the IEC 60092-101 requirement. Active filters are. Note./ Q24-pulse M 24-pulse Active rectifier DP 3 Change-over (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Fig. Both methods are efficient filters. there are still several ways to manage the harmonic distortion level.

Therefore. π . f . an extensive system analysis must be made to ensure that such parallel resonances that always will exist. Some filters need one or more periods to calculate the harmonic components that shall be compensated. however. ig i1 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 69 71 73 75 77 79 81 83 85 87 G i2 ig = i1+i2 i1 Nonlinear load i2 Active filter M Fig. right: a two stage filter. Lg Resulting Resulting 11 13 23 25 f / f1 5 11 13 23 25 f / f1 Fig. here for filtering 5th and 11th harmonic components. un-damped Z(ω) Two stage passive LC filter. when including harmonic passive filters. left: one stage for filtering of one (5th) harmonic frequency. un-damped Z(ω) Lg L Lg L L C C C Aggregated Generator / motor model First order undamped LC filter Aggregated Generator / motor model First order 11th harm undamped LC filter First order 5th harm undamped LC filter Frequency scan: Z Filter Frequency scan: Z Filter Generator 2 . but also parallel resonances that may cause excessive distortion globally or locally in the installation if they are excited by harmonic currents. Lg Generator 2 . 18: An active rectifier can measure the non-linear current and compensate “instantaneous” its harmonic distortion.One stage passive LC filter. 17: Passive LC filters. f . they also need HF harmonic filters in their feeders to avoid high frequency harmonics and common mode noise to distort the network. as for the active rectifiers. must be done with care as it introduces not only the desired series resonance to achieve low impedance current paths for the harmonic currents of concern. Active filters are less vulnerable to such. as done with passive filters. π . Introducing capacitive components in an inherent inductive network. 89 1 3 5 7 9 17 of 19 . are not excited.

the mirror image configuration. engineered solutions. The active power load sharing is either passive by droop control (Fig. with larger frequency variations for load changes. and should then also be redundant in accordance with the redundancy requirements of the class notation. where the propulsion load may vary much in DP operations and in heavy sea conditions. 18 of 19 . load sharing is an important function. Static frequency converter. with a second control system in hot stand-by to take over after failure of the duty controls. as long as functionality and fault integrity is met. isochronous load sharing is often used in OSVs. a PMS is also required by class. POWER PLANT CONTROL. Therefore. as shown in Fig. by communication between the governor controllers to enable a regulation towards the average load of the generator sets. with less and simpler functionalities than the more advanced. special considerations on the fault tolerance to avoid single point of failure is then required. As a general comment. however. the clean power supplies are less used today when class rules normally requires the general power distribution system to fulfill stringent requirements to harmonic distortion. Both configurations fulfil the class requirements. Related to the design of the electric power plant. For DP vessels with class 2 or 3 notations. Static frequency converter with battery back-up (UPS) Earlier. 20) or active isochronous. and the duty-standby system – where one PMS control system controls the complete plant. Both active power (kW) loads and reactive power (kVAr) loads shall be equally shared between paralleled generator sets. However. it was quite common to install clean power supply. where the PMS configuration reflects the power system design with one control system responsible to interface and control each of the redundancy segregated parts of the power system. 19: Clean power supplies. this may cause problems for synchronization of new generators to the system and increase the risk for excessive frequency variations and entering into undesired load reduction conditions. ACTIVE AND REACTIVE LOAD SHARING Vessels with electric propulsion will normally have a relatively advanced power management system (PMS) to ensure optimal operation and reliable access to propulsion power. Passive load sharing has the benefit of not having a common communication line. 19. the frequency adjustment is slower. which is class requirements for a range of navigation and control equipment.”Dirty side” M G ”Clean side” Rectifier (AC to DC) Inverter (DC to AC) Rectifier (AC to DC) Inverter (DC to AC) Fig. the more standard off the shelf systems tend to be of the dutystandby design. There are basically two types of PMS configurations applied to OSVs. with less risk for common failures in the system compared to the isochronous load sharing. from top: Rotating motor-generator set. With exception of the UPS supply. where the distorted network was decoupled from the supply to sensitive equipment by use of either rotating or static converters. Especially for OSVs. according to class. unlike what was common practice only a few years ago.

REFERENCES 1.5% Paralleling .ncsu. 211-218.edu/selected%20presentations/Electric-power%202005-Talk. CONCLUDING REMARKS In design of the electric plant for OSVs with electric propulsion. even though the composition of systems and preferences in design may differ to some extent – often depending on the maker’s available technologies. Use of cross compensation. ETZ Arch. Munaf Rahimo.5% Nominal Voltage Generator 1 Equal droop Generator 2 -2. it is the author’s opinion that rather than preferring a specific technology above another. performance. Eric Carroll. v7 i7. this is not necessarily the case.akerkvaerner. This paper has presented the most commonly applied solutions in electric propulsion with the objective to give the decision makers background information to better understand the concepts and to make the most beneficial selection for the specific vessel’s requirements. and active equalization of reactive loads are available technologies in voltage regulators.Frequency / RPM Reference RPM +2. Daniel Schneider. does normally not give voltage variations that are large enough to create problems for synchronization and protection of the plant. Fig. Evgeny Tsyplakov. droop control mode.com/Internet/IndustriesAndServices/OilAndGas/PowerandAutomation/AKPASElectri cPropulsion. 20 (b). Switzerland.spec.Equal magnetization . Blaschke..*.htm 19 of 19 . 5. pp.c.Active load sharing -2. Semiconductors. In order to understand and assess the technical argumentation for the different solutions. Seattle October 3-7. "Das Verfahren der Feldorientierung zur Regelung der Asynchronmaschine" [The Field Orientation Method for Controlling an Asynchronous Machine]. ABB Switzerland Ltd.5% Paralleling .Equal fuel supply .pdf 4. and life cycle economy should be considered. Depenbrock. however. CH-5600 Lenzburg. Simon Eicher. Siemens Forschungs und Entwicklungsberichten [Siemens research and development reports] 1972. machines. showing load sharing of two paralleled generator sets. but only exceptionally used in ship applications since such solutions requires common signal interfacing and hence inherently increase the risk for single point failures without otherwise contributing to a more safe and reliable system. 4. the important issues of the effects of the technology on safety. 2. However. IAS 2004. M.5kV Press Pack IGBT Designed for Ruggedness and Reliability. 184 et seq.5% Nominal RPM Line-voltage Engine 1 Equal droop Engine 2 Reference Voltage +2. 3. Arnost Kopta. Presentation: http://www. Direct self control for high dynamics performance of inverter feed a.Reactive load sharing 100% 100% Active Power Load Reactive Power Load (a) (b) Fig 20: Droop control of (a) governor and (b) automatic voltage regulator. Most vendors utilize similar basic components and solutions. it may appear that there are large variations in the basic technologies being offered by the different makers.Product information: http://www. The same principles apply also for the sharing of reactive power among the paralleled generators.F. Ulrich Schlapbach.

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