Big Power for the Prince of Wales

By Eric Haun at November 10, 2015 16:15
Filed Under:

MT30 gas turbine lifted into the U.K. Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales (Photo: John Linton)

The U.K. Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers presently under construction are due to become the centerpiece of the nation’s defense force. Upon entering operation, each ship will essentially serve as floating four-acre military base capable of travelling up to 500 miles per day.

The second of the two QE Class ships, HMS Prince of Wales, now being built at Rosyth, has recently received its second gas turbine package, the first of which was installed in March. Each 120-metric-ton GTA package consists of a GE alternator coupled to a Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine contained within an enclosure, aptly called the gas turbine enclosure.

Operating an aircraft carrier obviously requires a lot of power. For installation aboard Prince of Wales, enter the Rolls-Royce MT30, dubbed “the world’s most power-dense marine gas turbine.”

Generating a whopping 36 megawatts each (around 50,000 horsepower apiece!), Prince of Wales’ two mighty MT30s combine to provide roughly two-thirds of the 109 megawatts required to power the 65,000-metric-ton behemoth. That’s enough energy to power a large town, as noted the shipbuilder.

More about the MT30: the gas turbine has been granted type approval from ABS and Lloyds and is DNV design assessed and can be configured for either mechanical or electrical drive and maintains operating efficiency down to 25 megawatts. And despite its immense power offering, Rolls-Royce said the MT30 is designed with 50-60 percent fewer parts than others in its class and meets all current and anticipated emissions legislation – without modification and using commercially available fuels.

Equipping Prince of Wales was no easy task, however. Installation involved lifting the MT30 gas turbine and associated ancillary equipment housed in a steel package (the aforementioned gas turbine enclosure) onto the ship structure. With the enclosure in place, the large alternator, which is driven by the gas turbine to produce electrical power, was then hoisted into place.

Once operational, the GTAs will supply HV power to the four propulsion motors as well as the 13 ship service transformers, which distribute LV power to the weapons systems, mission systems equipment and navigation systems, as well as power to run required hotel services.

Prince of Wales, along with HMS Queen Elizabeth, are being built and delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, which includes BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the U.K. Ministry of Defense.

Six Thrusters Installed in 52 Hours

By Eric Haun at August 19, 2015 10:05
Filed Under: Company News, Environmental, Offshore, Thrusters

With a threatening typhoon looming, a semisubmersible accommodation unit under construction at Chinese shipbuilder COSCO’s Qidong offshore-focused shipyard saw all six of its thrusters installed in record time.


According to the builder, the thrusters’ installation process was completed in a mere 52 hours, breaking COSCO’s previous record of 72 hours for offshore thruster installation.


The unit, being built for the Mexican buyer Cotemar, was towed to anchorage at 2 a.m. on July 3 after very thorough preparation, and by 11 a.m., the unit was ready for the first thruster to be installed.


Despite “huge and frequent waves” ahead of the imminent typhoon Chan-hom, COSCO said the installation team was able to install all six thrusters by 3 p.m. on July 5, smashing the 72-hour record set on its sister unit.


Following the thrusters’ installation was testing and verification of the unit’s service speed, DP3 dynamic positioning system and the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) during sea trials. In fact, the loading test on the first thruster was finished at 11 p.m. on July 5, just hours after completing installation.


Rolls-Royce's New PM Azimuth Thruster

By Eric Haun at June 26, 2015 15:37
Filed Under:

Photo: Rolls-Royce

New from Rolls-Royce: Permanent Magnet Azimuth Thruster


The most recent addition to Rolls-Royce’s marine thrusters range was unveiled at Nor-Shipping in Oslo earlier in June.


Powered by permanent magnet (PM) technology, the new azimuth thruster is Rolls-Royces’ latest development in PM technology, adding to a portfolio that already includes tunnel thrusters and a newly developed winch.


Each PM azimuth thruster comprises three main assemblies: the PM motor/propeller/nozzle underwater unit, the hull mounting system which includes the azimuth bearing and duplicate frequency controlled electric steering gear and the inboard power unit which feeds electric power to the thruster. The PM motor, meanwhile, consists of two main parts: a stator that carries a number of electrical coil windings, and a rotor fitted with a number of strong permanent magnets.


A rotating magnetic field is created by the stator which interacts with the fields of the permanent magnets on the rotor, which generates force to drag the rotor around, providing the mechanical power.


A sea trials program aboard Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) research ship RV Gunnerus in saw a pair of thrusters demonstrate efficiency savings of 7-13 percent, depending on ship speed, and in comparison to azimuth thrusters powered by a conventional diesel-electric system.


Helge Gjerde, Rolls-Royce, Senior Vice President for Propulsion - Commercial Marine, said sea trials results have exceeded expectations in terms of efficiency. “The sea trials are continuing,” Gjerde said, “but initial findings have significant implications for future ship sustainability in both the marine and offshore sectors, as PM thrusters become a valuable supplement to traditional thruster technology.”


According to Rolls-Royce, the new thruster offers more than improved fuel economy, with added benefits including reduced noise and vibration, more power through a propeller of the same diameter and scope to remove and maintain PM thrusters without the need for dry docking.


Rolls-Royce’s first commercial PM tunnel thruster is being operated by Norwegian offshore vessel operator Olympic Shipping. The tunnel thruster, now in use aboard the Olympic Octopus, a multifunctional anchor-handling vessel (AHTS) of Rolls-Royce UT 712 L design, has clocked up more than 4,000 trouble-free running hours, Rolls-Royce said.


US Offering $1mln for Tribes’ Diesel Upgrades

By Eric Haun at May 15, 2015 16:04
Filed Under: Diesel Engines, Engine overhauls, Environmental

In an effort to reduce emissions from older engines impacting air quality in tribal communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made available $1 million in grant funding for tribal applicants to carry out clean diesel projects.


Under this grant competition, part of the Diesel Emission Reduction (DERA) Program, EPA anticipates awarding up to five tribal assistance agreements between $30,000 and $800,000 each for projects aimed at reducing air pollutants from diesel exhaust such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM).


The EPA offered a tribes-only competition for clean diesel funding for the first time last year, awarding more than $925,000 to three North Puget Sound tribal communities in Washington State to help the Upper Skagit Tribe, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and the Lummi Nation replace older marine engines with newer, cleaner and more efficient ones.


“Puget Sound tribal communities depend on fishing, and this funding for cleaner marine engines results in tribal fleets that are better for the air and for the health of tribal communities,” said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10. “Funding through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act provides an important opportunity to leverage public and tribal funds for cleaner marine vessels.”


The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community received $792,000 to replace 12 older engines in its Swinomish Fishing Fleet with new, low-emission diesel engines. The project will further achieve emissions reduction from vessels using the shore power pedestals at the fisherman’s docks by allowing engines to be shut down while loading and unloading.


The Lummi Nation received $77,250 to reduce diesel pollution from two marine fishing fleet vessels that are used to harvest salmon, halibut, crab and shrimp. The Lummi Reservation is located in Whatcom County and is ranked among the 80th percentile of the worst counties in the United States for the number of people living in areas where cancer risk from Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) exceeds 1 in 10,000, for which diesel emissions is a high contributing factor. The average year of diesel engines in the Lummi fishing fleet is 1992.


The Upper Skagit Tribe received $55,890 to fund a marine engine repower project for its Fisheries Regulatory Compliance vessel used in the ports around Skagit, Island and Whatcom counties. Waterways immediately adjacent to the Skagit/Samish watersheds experience a disproportionate amount of air pollution from diesel fleets.


Though very efficient, diesel engines emit air pollutants linked to a range of health problems including asthma and other respiratory ailments, lung and heart disease, and even premature death, the EPA said.


Older engines have poor performance, low fuel-efficiency and high emissions. The EPA cites repowering marine vessels as one of the most efficient and cost-effective techniques for cleaner air and a healthier environment.


Grant funding is not exclusive to marine engine retrofits. Other eligible projects include heavy-duty diesel trucks, locomotives, energy production generators, buses and other diesel engines.


Grant proposals from tribal applicants are due by July 15, 2015, and can be submitted at

GE Marine Diesel Engine Certified EPA Tier 4

By Eric Haun at February 09, 2015 15:33
Filed Under: Diesel Engines, Environmental

Image: GE Marine

GE Marine’s 12V250 marine diesel engine received U.S. EPA Tier 4 Certification, meeting emissions requirements through non-Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology that requires no urea-based after-treatment.

GE said it is also working towards U.S. EPA Tier 4 and IMO Tier III Certification for additional models and families of its marine engines utilizing the same non-SCR technology, including its 16-cylinder V250 and six- and eight-cylinder L250 marine diesel engine models.

“Achieving this certification validates our unique ability to meet Tier 4 emissions requirements without the disadvantages of after-treatment,” said Afra Gerstenfeld, General Manager of GE Marine. “Our non-SCR solution provides substantial operational benefits over urea-based solutions for the workboat marketplace.”

GE commissioned Jensen Maritime to conduct a study to compare its U.S. EPA Tier 4 and IMO Tier III compliant in-engine, urea-free solution to a competitor’s solution that requires urea based after-treatment. According to the study’s findings, for operation on a typical line-haul tug, GE’s solution takes up about 25% of the engine room space required by the competitive solution, weighs about only 25% of the competitor’s solution, and does not require additional onboard equipment/storage for urea or dockside support infrastructure for urea storage and processing. 

EPA Releases ECA Penalty Policy

By Eric Haun at January 28, 2015 13:30
Filed Under:

EPA has released a penalty policy for ECA violations.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a penalty policy for violations of the sulfur in fuel standard and related provisions for ships.


The policy, which pursues violations of U.S. and international air pollution requirements by ships operating in the North American and U.S. Caribbean Sea Emissions Control Areas (ECA), applies to violations of new international standards for sulfur emissions from ships that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, and violations under the previous standards. 


The EPA said this policy is intended to deter potential violators, ensure that the EPA assesses fair and equitable penalties and allow for the swift resolution of claims arising from noncompliance, while enforcing marine emission standards to help prevent air pollution from harming public health.


“Air pollution from ships can have major impacts on air quality in American communities," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA stands ready to protect these communities and the companies that play by the rules by working with the Coast Guard to enforce air emissions standards for ships operating in U.S. waters.”


The new penalty policy can be found here:


Scania Sees Strong ’15 in North America

By trauthwein at January 28, 2015 12:05
Filed Under:

Mikael Lindner, President, Scania North America, sat with to reflect on the current and future direction of the power company’s marine business in North America.

As the marine market follows in step with other transport and industrial sectors to literally clean up its collective act, marine power providers are at the tip of the spear in the quest to make commercial marine operations more environmentally benign and in line with new regulations on emissions.
Broad-based global corporate power companies such as Scania boast an advantage in this regard, able to apply lessons learned from other industries and leverage a well-funded R&D budget to ensure its lines are modern, capable and ready.

“There is a buzz regarding Tier 4, even though it is still two to three years away,” said Lindner.  “I think we have a really good plan, and it is not rocket science by any means; you will likely need to have after-treatment in some form. As Scania is a global manufacturer of power for trucks, buses and many different markets, we have all of these technologies within our own company (to meet the strictest new emission regulations).”

Scania has been a face in the North American workboat market for several years now, entering a large and mature market with a history of providing power solutions across multiple industries globally. With a long-term plan to penetrate one of the world’s largest workboat markets, Scania’s patience is starting to pay dividends with steady growth in new installations and re-powers.

“Looking at North America, 2014 should be similar to 2013 in that we are on a constant growth pattern; 2013 was a record year for us, 2014 should be close and things look promising for 2015,” said Lindner. “Five or six year ago we started with our plan, and we’re starting to see this bear fruit now.”

According to Lindner, the success of the company in North America starts and ends with the quality of its engine family.

“We have a very solid line-up of products, a very solid platform, that we continuously work on developing further in terms of power and performance,” said Lindner.  We concluded the introduction of the current platform two to three years ago with the addition of the new 16 and we introduced our Tier III engine line-up last year. Many customers have installed this platform now, and they are proving themselves: that’s a big driver, the product is installed and proven.

“With our 16 you get power, performance and durability in a comparatively smaller and lighter package,” said Lindner. “The challenge is convincing the customer that they don’t need that much iron to power their vessel.”

This year was significant for Scania in North America as it continued to strengthen its dealership network and entered some new markets in Canada. “Canada, thanks to our distribution, is working well for us,” said Lindner.

Looking forward Lindner said a main focus now is the emission standards coming for ECA areas and IMO III. “After that, Tier 4 is the next big challenge,” said Lindner. “Without saying too much, the IMO III solution most likely will be a solution for Tier 4.”


 by Greg Trauthwein

Wärtsilä, MAN Diesel & Turbo Renew Emissions Reduction Research

By Eric Haun at September 24, 2014 15:08
Filed Under: New Technology, Research & Development

Conceived by two of the world’s leading engine manufacturing groups in 2002 and launched in 2004, Wärtsilä and MAN Diesel & Turbo’s HERCULES (High Efficiency Engine R&D on Combustion with Ultra Low Emissions for Ships) research and development project sought to develop new large engine technologies to increase marine engine efficiency primarily reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

Now, following three completed projects within this program from 2004-2014, the initiative will be renewed with the HERCULES-2 venture, pending approval under the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation.

According to Wärtsilä, the HERCULES-2 project aims to develop a fuel-flexible marine engine that is optimally adaptive to its operating environment. The work will focus on four areas of integrated research and development divided into Work Package Groups (WPG): WPG 1 – a fuel flexible engine; WPG II – new materials (for engine applications); WPG III – an adaptive powerplant for lifetime performance; and WPG IV – a near zero emissions engine.

The work aims to build upon and ultimately surpass the targets of the previous HERCULES projects by combining the latest technologies and integrated solutions, notably  including several full-scale prototypes and shipboard demonstrators that will speed the development of commercially available products.

The project will further accelerate the shipping industry’s transition to better fuel efficiency and a significantly reduced environmental footprint, while strengthening the position of the participating partners in the market place.

The cooperation between Wärtsilä and MAN Diesel & Turbo will also involve a number of other European companies, as well as universities and research institutions. The consortium is made up of 32 partners, of which 30% are industrial and 70% are universities and research institutes. The budget is divided between industry and the universities on a 63% - 37% basis, respectively.

JV Takes Control of Wärtsilä’s 2-stroke Business

By Eric Haun at July 24, 2014 13:55
Filed Under: Shipyards

Wärtsilä and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) have signed an agreement to establish a joint venture, which will take over Wärtsilä’s two-stroke engine business. Under the new agreement, CSSC will own 70% of the business through its affiliate CSSC Investment and Development Co. Ltd, while Wärtsilä will hold the remaining 30%.

The parties have agreed to transfer CSSC’s whole position as shareholder to a joint venture established by an entity connected with the Municipal Government of Shanghai and CSSC. The parties will cooperate in two-stroke engine technology, marketing, sales and service activities.

Responsibility for servicing Wärtsilä’s two-stroke engines will remain with Wärtsilä Services through its global network to support customers in a more dedicated and efficient way. The joint venture parties will support Wärtsilä Services by providing global ship owners with complete solutions of advanced two-stroke technologies.

The closing of the transaction is subject to the required regulatory approvals, which are expected during the first quarter of 2015. The value of the transaction is approximately $62 million, although the financial impact of the deal will be dependent on the timing of the closing and certain related mechanisms. Wärtsilä said the deal will have a positive effect on its continuing operations.

The joint venture will be domiciled in Switzerland, and the head office will remain at the present two-stroke engine headquarters in Winterthur. The current two-stroke engine business management team will remain in place.

The joint venture will assume ownership of Wärtsilä’s two-stroke engine technology, and will continue to develop and promote sales of the engine portfolio with the full support of both partners.

According to Wärtsilä, the partnership’s objective is to combine the strengths of the two partners. The participation of CSSC, the largest shipbuilding conglomerate in China, will accelerate the company’s growth in important Asian markets, while retaining its position as an international supplier to the global shipping industry, while the partnership will enhance the position of Wärtsilä’s two-stroke technology in the marine engine market, and will provide a strong base for future investments in leading two-stroke technology and customer support.

“We have enjoyed good cooperation with CSSC for many years, and we are convinced that by joining forces we can better serve the needs of our global customers. CSSC shares our vision for the future of the two-stroke marine engine market, and we feel that this agreement will benefit both parties as well as the entire shipping sector. By enhancing the sales volume of Wärtsilä’s two-stroke engines, product development can be accelerated and critical new engine solutions can be brought to the market much faster than earlier,” said Jaakko Eskola, Senior Executive Vice President, Ship Power, Wärtsilä Corporation.

“We are very pleased that this agreement has been made and we look forward to working closely with Wärtsilä in this joint venture project. Wärtsilä is a company that we admire as a technology leader, and as a supplier that has provided economic and environmental benefits to ship owners and operators through its high quality products,” said Wu Qiang, Vice President, CSSC.

Harnessing Wind Power for Auxiliary Propulsion

By Eric Haun at June 26, 2014 15:33
Filed Under: New Technology, Propulsion systems

Example of a bulk carrier with four Norsepower Rotor Sails on the port side


Finnish marine engineering company Norsepower Oy Ltd. announced this week that it will bring to the commercial maritime market an auxiliary wind propulsion solution aimed at maximizing cargo ship fuel efficiency, with first sea tests on a Finnish cargo ship slated to begin later this year.

Norsepower’s Rotor Sail Solution is an updated version of the Flettner rotor, a concept that dates back to Finnish engineer Sigurd Savonius in the early 1900s. The Flettner rotor gets its name from German engineer Anton Flettner, who was the first to build a ship which used spinning vertical cylinder rotor sails for propulsion.

Though the basis for this technology is not entirely new, Norsepower has improved upon the original concept with various improvements. Norsepower said its update uses improved technology, advanced materials and a leading-edge control system to allow the main engines to be throttled back when wind conditions are favorable, providing average fuel savings in the range of 5-30% and reduced emissions, while sustaining the power needed to maintain speed and voyage time.

The principle on which the Norsepower Rotor Sail operates is known as the Magnus Effect. When wind meets the spinning rotor sail, airflow is accelerated on one side of the rotor sail and is restricted on the opposite side. The resulting pressure difference creates a force that is perpendicular to the wind flow direction – a lift force. The circulatory flow, created here by the skin friction, is the same phenomenon that creates lift for an aircraft wing. The same principle applies to rotating spheres and cylinders.

The thrust induced by the Magnus Effect can be utilized in ship propulsion by placing a cylinder on the open deck of the vessel and by rotating it around its main, vertical axis. An electric drive system that is powered by the auxiliary grid in the vessel is used for rotation of the rotor sail. Norsepower claims that this solution has potential to be 10 times more efficient than a conventional sail because more lift is produced with a much smaller sail area.

The solution is mainly intended for use aboard tankers, bulk carriers and ro-ro vessels and can be installed on newbuilds or retrofitted to existing ships.

According to Tuomas Riski, CEO and partner of Norsepower Oy Ltd., there are presently more than 20,000 merchant vessels worldwide that are suitable for retrofit of the Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution and can benefit from its reduced fuel consumption.

Sea tests will begin later this year on Bore’s Finnish-flagged 9,700 dwt ro-ro ship M/V Estraden after the completion of land-based testing on an assembled prototype of the Norsepower Rotor Sail at the developer’s facility in Naantali, Finland.

“Norsepower aims at being the first company to have an industrially piloted and certified auxiliary wind propulsion product, which is delivered as a ready-made solution,” Riski explained. “The pilot project with Bore is a significant step on our path towards the market leadership of cargo vessel auxiliary wind propulsion systems.”

Håkan Modig, CEO of Bore Ltd. said, “Bore is in the forefront in using environmental and energy efficiency solutions for sustainable shipping. To pilot such a system on our vessel M/V Estraden is a natural step as we have supported the project from the start. Also, Bore is happy to encourage new entrepreneurs within this area in Finland and we are pleased to see that the project is ready for launch."

Essential parts of the Rotor Sail Solution include two or more rotor sail units installed on deck to deliver the forward thrust, wind and GPS sensors to provide the automation unit with real-time wind speed and direction information as well as ship speed and course data, control panel for the captain’s full control of the operation and performance of the Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution, an automation unit for optimized forward thrust of the rotor sails and a power supply from the grid of the vessel to the electric motors that power each rotor sail.

The required number of Norsepower Rotor Sails and the size of each sail are based on the size, speed and operating profile of each vessel. Norsepower Rotor Sails are available in three sizes with different heights of 18, 24 or 30 meters. The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is typically delivered as a full-service solution that includes both delivery and maintenance of the hardware and software components.

Norsepower said it has gathered nearly $3 million of funding since its establishment in 2012 for the development, testing and piloting of the Rotor Sail Solution. Main investors behind Norsepower are Lifeline Ventures Oy, Finnvera Oyj and Wate Oy; Norsepower is also funded by Tekes. Norsepower's website lists additional as partners ABB, Alandia Insurance, Beckhoff Automation GmbH, Bore, Elomatic, FY-Composites Oy, Lloyd's Register Group Ltd., LST Group, Paramet, SKF, SKS Group, Turku Repair Yard Ltd., VAF Instruments, Vaisala and VTT Technical Research Center.

 Operating principle of a Norsepower Rotor Sail


Magnus Effect

The Norsepower R&D site in Naantali, Finland


Layout of Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution on a generic Aframax-size tanker

All images courtesy Norsepower Oy Ltd.

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