Marine Diesel Test Engine Up & Running at MHI’s Nagasaki R&D Centre

By George Backwell at March 30, 2013 04:26
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One of the world’s largest four-cylinder two-stroke marine diesel test engines (the electronically-controlled 4UE-X3 with a bore diameter of 60 cm) has been installed and brought up to speed at MHI, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Nagasaki Research & Development Centre, where it thumps away producing data the Japanese marine engine manufacture needs to keep up with the leaders in a highly competitive business. MHI claims it is the only licensor among the top three in the world to carry out all of its own engine development, design and manufacturing. Marine Diesel Engine Test Plant MHI 4UE-X3: Photo courtesy of MHI Test Engine Features Main body structure: The main body (bed plate and column) uses a high rigidity, light-weight and simple single wall structure for simplicity of manufacture. The structure and thickness of the wall is optimized through FEM analysis using 3D modeling, etc. Combustion chambers: Bore cooled, high top land pistons are used to deal with the high h... [More]

Electric Boats, Hybrids to Benefit from Lithium Battery R&D

By George Backwell at January 15, 2012 02:24
Filed Under: Research & Development
Research and development applied to Lithium-ion batteries (increasingly used as 'energy storage banks' in hybrid marine powered propulsion systems in workboats and leisure craft due to their high energy density) has recently revealed ways to make these batteries safer, cheaper yet with better performance. The relevant research findings come from John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and from Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Lithium-ion Battery Bank: Photo US Federal Govt. Inexpensive Sensor Warns of Lithium-ion Battery FailureBattery malfunctions (and occasionally fires) occur in all Lithium-ion powered applications ranging in size from the cellphone right through to large hybrid or electrically powered plant and present a safety challenge to manufacturers. Typically such catastrophic failures result from ‘thermal runaway', which occurs when a cell in the battery reaches a critical temperature. Searching ... [More]

R&D Advances in Hydrogen Fuel Storage Technology Promise Green Benefits

By George Backwell at September 11, 2011 05:18
Filed Under: Research & Development
Hydrogen is an excellent, carbon free, water-bound (and  thus cheap) fuel-source easily convertible to electricity through fuel cells, ideal as a power source for workboats, barges and recreational craft. But storage of the gas is a problem.In gas form hydrogen has to be stored either at high pressure or else at a very low temperature. Researchers seek a more convenient, safer alternative storage solution for this ideal fuel; one, already proven effective, is to store the hydrogen in chemical form and two developments in the field are highlighted here. Experimental Barge Ross Barlow: Photo credit – Roger Kidd   Hydrogen-fuelled Barge Ross BarlowThree years’ development work on the canal longboat Ross Barlow by a team at UK’s University of Birmingham was recently spotlighted in news released by The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA – German acronym for ‘Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forsch... [More]

Yachts and Boats Set to Clean-up if EU Backed Project Pays Off

By George Backwell at July 09, 2011 22:28
Filed Under: Research & Development
Propulsion of yachts and boats up to 24 meters (78.7 ft) may be revolutionised if the outcome of the three-year €2 million European Union financed R&D project ‘High Efficiency Hybrid Drive Trains for Small and Medium-sized Marine Craft’ (project acronym – ‘HYMAR’) bears fruit. Reduction of GHG emissions from tens of thousands of small craft attracted the European Union’s support for the project.The R&D target is to come up with a fully integrated, computer controlled diesel-electric hybrid drive configuration that will take over the traditional role of the diesel engine as the direct drive of sailboats and small commercial vessels.At the centre of the system under development is a comprehensive Energy Management Module (EMM) to synchronise and control all the energy flows (generator, wind, trailing propellor, solar panels) in and out of a specially designed battery bank.   Malo 46 Test Boat Based at Kungsviken, Sweden: Photo HYM... [More]

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