Canadian Hybrid Research Vessel

By Keith Henderson at August 16, 2011 05:42
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Caption: Tsekola II under tow from the Institute of Ocean Studies to Victoria’s Ogden Point.
Image credit: University of Victoria

Further details on the research vessel project of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, have been released specifying the conversion of the former 1985 built coastguard vessel Tsekoa II. The vessel will be used to investigate changing coastal ecosystems, marine resources and continental shelf and slope dynamics.

The original hull of LOA 87 ft (26.7 m) and beam 24 ft (7.3 m) is to be lengthened by inserting a 32.5 ft (9.9 m) three deck mid section to provide space for the new duties of the vessel. After the insertion and stern modifications the new LOA will be 125 ft (38.2 m).


Caption: Drawing of the new hybrid research vessel after conversion.
Image credit: BMT Fleet Technology/University of Victoria

To lower emissions and enable acoustic measurements to be made unfettered by the existing conventional mechanical diesel engine arrangement, a new hybrid electric propulsion system is specified consisting of twin 200 kW electric azimuth thrusters plus a single 100 kW, 460 V AC, tunnel bow thruster. There is provision for joystick control of the propulsion system to improve manoeuverability and positioning control.

Electric power can be supplied by a variety of sources, controlled by a power management system. There is a 232 kWh lithium battery bank with a nominal voltage of 704 V DC. The batteries can be charged from a shore supply when alongside or using the onboard power supply from three low emission diesel gensets of 215 kW at 460 V AC 60 Hz. The three gensets will replace the original propulsions diesels located in the engine room. In addition, silent electric power is provided by a Ballard HD6 PEM, 150 kW 600 V DC fuel cell operating on hydrogen. The fuel cell and hydrogen storage will be located on the upper deck. The diesel generators will only be used when power demands are high during long distance cruising or submersible operations.

The new section will house a science laboratory on the upper deck. On the mid deck, the additional space will be used to provide extra cabin accommodation and a larger mess and galley for the eight scientists and eight crew members.

BMT Fleet Technology, of Ottawa, Canada is collaborating with the University of Victoria in the design of North America's first ever hybrid, electric research ship. Tactical Marine Solutions Ltd., BC, provide ship management services for the University and is responsible for the delivery of the converted ship. The refit is expected to take several months once the contract has been awarded.

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