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Optimized Energy-Efcient Drive System for Ship Propulsion

Carsten Heising, Volker Staudt and Andreas Steimel

Ruhr-University Bochum D-44780 Bochum Germany Tel.: +49 234 32 23890 Fax.: +49 234 32 14597 Email:,,
AbstractEfciency in the sense of energy saving is a main issue in ship propulsion. Optimization is achieved using an overall diesel-electric drive concept. Based on the main load, the overall structure of a Diesel-electric ship propulsion system is dimensioned. In total, gears between propellers and motors, induction motors and their inverters, two diesel engines with permanent-magnet synchronous generators, diode rectiers feeding the common DC link and a novel recongurable variablevoltage DC-link structure are chosen. Based on this layout, an inverter for the auxiliary supply and a battery for feeding the auxiliaries in harbour or driving the ship at low-speed manoeuvres are designed for optimal connection to the variablevoltage DC-link structure. As a result, the diesel engines can be operated always with optimal speed according to their shell curve. Load variations are adjusted to the dynamics of the diesel engines guaranteeing smooth operation without pressing. With the highly variable DC-link voltage, the motors and inverters can be operated in a most energy-efcient way by optimized eld-weakening of the induction motors. Efciency plots prove the concept.

is increased before giving a speed (and power) increase to the control of the induction motors for propulsion. In this way the diesel engines can adjust to the power demand more quickly and remain in low-wear high-efciency operation under all conditions. Such effects can only be reached by commonly controlling all components - separate control cannot reach such performance. C ONCEPT Fig. 1 shows an overview of the system including the key ratings of the components. Two propellers drive the ship. This supports on the one hand energy-saving operation and on the other hand increases fault tolerance. Planetary gear boxes are selected to match the speed of the induction motors to the load characteristics of the propellers, allowing for an optimal selection of the induction motors regarding size, weight and losses. The motors could also be housed in azimutal pod drives (thrusters). The motors are fed via shielded cables from 250kW IGBT inverters with output dv/dt lters with regard to EMC. For energy supply two diesel generators are selected. They feed into the DC link by diode bridge rectiers - the DC-link voltage is linked to the speed of the generators and, via their shell curve, also to power. Selecting two generators increases reliability and allows for a series connection of the rectiers, which leads to a very high variability of the DC-link voltage, again matching overall power demand. In this way energy saving operation of the inverters is reached easily. With regard to the overall control of this complex system the characteristics of the uid machines are of key importance: In case of uid machines (propellers pumping water), peak torque and peak power is needed in a very small speed region only; in general torque increases with the square, thus power with the cube of speed. At low speed only one of the diesel generators is active, feeding the DC link with comparatively low voltage. In the speed region above some 65 % of rated speed, corresponding to 50 % of rated power (including 50 kW constant auxiliary power), both diesel engines are active and connected in series. With series-connected diode rectiers, DC-link voltage is incrased until at rated power the rated DClink voltage (700 V in this example) is reached. Only now converter losses are at their maximum - but with high output power efciency is very good, anyhow.

I NTRODUCTION Combining the overall structure of a ship propulsion system and selecting an optimal conguration can save lots of energy by improving efciency. Moreover, noise and wear of components is reduced by avoiding undesirable operating condititons; zero-emission operation will be possible while manoeuvring in the harbour. A design of such complex ship propulsion system including a novel concept of a highly variable-voltage DC-link is discussed in the paper. Starting from the requirements of the main load, two 235-kW IGBT-inverter-fed induction motors for propulsion, the structure of a Diesel-electric ship propulsion system is dened and dimensioned. The new aspect of this systemlevel approach is the combined optimization of all components including their control with special regards to the demands of ship propulsion. While the main focus is on efciency, optimal fault tolerance and pollution-free maneuvring in harbours is reached, too. Central to the concept is a DC-voltage link as energy backbone which operates at highly variable voltage - which per se matches the demands for energy-saving operation optimally. In contrast, usual concepts use xed DC-link voltage, leading to higher losses in the inverters. A centralized management system is suggested to give command signals to the components of the power train in an optimal way: For example, speed set-point for the diesel engines

978-1-4244-9273-2/11/$26.00 2011 IEEE


Fig. 1.

Chosen drive schematic


Fig. 2.

Motor characteristics: Torque, voltage, current and slip frequency for (a) optimized stator ux and (b) constant stator ux

Fig. 3.

Motor characteristics: Input and mechanical power, efciency and cos for (a) optimized stator ux and (b) constant stator ux

Fig. 4.

Motor characteristics: Motor and inverter efciency for (a) optimized stator ux and (b) constant stator ux


At lower power losses are reduced considerably in comparison to constant-voltage DC-link operation. At lower speed, torque and power decrease rapidly. Field weakening now becomes essential to operate the induction machines always with that ux which reduces losses in the induction machines most. The DC-link voltage is proportional to the Diesel engine speed, depending on power, as PM synchronous generators are used. Such generators are known from recent diesel-electric tram-trains [1] and are very suitable for rough environmental conditions. When the point of 50 % rated power is reached, one generator is stopped. The selection of the diesel generator set which remains active can best be based on the accumulated runtime of each generator set - in this way both sets have, in total, equal wear. By means of the contactor group, the DC link is connected to the rectier of that Diesel-generator set which remains active. If only auxiliary power is needed near standstill, the DC-link voltage amounts to only 165 V, an idling speed of the diesel engine of about 45 % presumed (shell curve). Consequently, motor harmonic losses and inverter switching losses are utmost minimized. This operation is known in principle from Diesel-electric shunt locomotives [2] but the very special speed-power-characteristics of ship propulsion make the modied solution described here even more efcient. Fig. 2 shows the induction motor characteristics torque, voltage, current and slip frequency for optimized ux (goal: minimal stator current), left, varying between 0,12 and 0, 27 Wb, and for constant ux (equal to optimal ux 0, 27 Wb at full load), right. Fig. 3 gives the corresponding mechanical and electrical power, power factor and efciency and the ux RMS value, Fig. 4 nally the efciencies of motor and inverter for both ux regimes. The improvement in efciency at low speeds is striking. AUXILIARIES AND BATTERY Coupled to the DC-link and fed by the same Diesel generators ist a battery and an inverter to feed auxiliaries (e.g. lighting, climatisation, ...). The rated DC-link voltage of the auxiliary inverter is set to 350 V, matching operation with only one Diesel-generator set. As the DC-link voltage goes down to 165 V for energy-saving operation, the rating of the auxiliary inverter must be about 120 kVA. The ltered output voltage has to be stepped up by a factor of 4, to deliver 400 V AC at minimal Diesel engine speed. This is because the inverter output voltage is only U out = 0.78 0.85 UDCmin = 110 V at UDCmin = 165 V. The battery with a nominal voltage of 160 V is coupled via a two-quadrant IGBT converter of similar rating as the auxiliary inverter to the auxiliary DC link. It provides electric power in the harbour, not only for the mentioned lighting and climatisation, but for low-speed zero-emission manoeuvring without a Diesel engine running. FAULT- TOLERANT OPERATION The switchgear linking the diode rectiers and the inverters as well as the bus feeding the auxiliaries manages, on the

one hand, energy-saving operation. On the other hand, faulttolerant and low-wear operation is supported: The main DC bus can be fed by either of the diesel generator sets - and even from the battery. Feeding from battery can be used inside harbours or if both diesel generators should be in fault condition. No high speed is possible - but manoevering and slow cruising remain available. While in normal operation both induction machines are operated, under fault condition of one of the induction machines the ship can be driven with the other machine. In this way, high availability is guaranteed. OVERALL CONTROL SYSTEM The described advantages require an overall control system which manages all components optimally. In case of dieselengine power control even with pilot control mechanisms to avoid pressing. Zero-current switching of all contactors and the control of these contactors under normal and fault conditions also needs a centralized system. The selection of the needed diesel engines - with regard to power demand and total runtime - is also handled centrally. Field-weakening operation of the induction motors could be handled by each inverter control - or also by the overall control system. C ONCLUSION This paper illustrates how a Diesel-electric ship propulsion system can be dimensioned optimally by choosing the concept of inverter-fed three-phase drives, operated at a highly variable DC-link voltage. The specic dimensioning of the system components with special regard to their interaction allows a very energy-efcient operation. In case of diesel engines as prime movers, the speed of the engines is strictly governed by power demand, if minimum fuel consumption is the goal; additionally, load variations have to be adjusted to the dynamic capabilities of the engines, to avoid uneconomic and environmentally unwanted pressing. This can be performed straightforwardly by todays inverter control including an overall control system with dedicated pilot control mechanisms. Field-weakening operation of the induction drive motors is a key issue for minimal motor losses. Inverter losses are reduced by operation at low DC-link voltage under partial-load conditions. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Financially supported by the Ziel-2-Programm Wachstum f r Bochum (Growth for Bochum), project: Competence u Center Hydrodynamic Flow Machines at Ruhr-University Bochum. R EFERENCES
[1] K. Bader, Business experiences with diesel-electric dual-system-vehicles in urban work rules for trams and db-network, in ETG-Fachbericht 107, (ETG-Kongress), 2007. [2] A. Steimel, Electric Traction - Motive Power and Energy Supply. Muenchen: Oldenbourg Industrieverlag, 2008.