Imtech Marine & Offshore, specialist in diesel electrical propulsion
Imtech N.V. uses innovative technology to contribute to a sustainable and liveable society, with particular emphasis on energy and environment. Imtech Marine & Offshore (IM&O) is focussing on these spearheads in particular with diesel electrical propulsion. It is a more environmentally friendly manner of propulsion that also offers operational and cost advantages.
Diesel electrical propulsion good for environment and efficiency
‘Diesel electrical propulsion achieves two goals in one go’, according to Adrie Smits, Manager Electrical Systems IM&O. ‘The client benefits from less fuel and maintenance and the environment benefits from less emissions and noise.’ ‘Interest in the development of ‘green vessels’ is huge in the maritime market’, adds Cor van Miltenburg, BU-Director Special Vessels & Offshore. ‘This is reflected in the soaring demand for diesel electrical ships in all segments of the market.’
‘The idea of the ‘all electric ship’ is that all systems work on electricity (in stead of hydraulic, pneumatic or diesel driven), including the screw or thruster propulsion. Diesel engines generate the electricity, which explains the term diesel electrical. The advantage is more freedom in design since the diesel generator sets are compact and can be placed anywhere in the ship. Smaller technical areas allow more stowage space or space for huts in the case of cruise ships. That means more revenues for the owner’, says Smits. ‘The ‘all electric ship’ principle results in more efficient energy conversion. You can transport more cargo or passengers with the same amount of fuel. That is better for the environment. Moreover, on an ‘all electric ship’ you can lower the total amount of power installed since the different forms of energy are not all required at the same time. A ship that is sailing doesn’t need unloading capacity. The result is fuel reduction and therefore energy friendly.’
Less noise and vibration
The electrical propulsion application is much quieter and vibrates less. This has advantages for the ship owner. This reduced noise production was of overriding importance for F.T. Everard & Sons in whose tankers we installed electro-technical equipment. The tankers can now unload everywhere, even close to residential areas. That was unthinkable with conventional tankers due to noise pollution.’
Diesel electrical propulsion plays an important role in the offshore business with respect to steering and operating accuracy. ‘Diesel electrical propulsion often goes hand-in-hand with dynamic positioning’, explains Smits. ‘Deep sea pipe-layers for example can remain in exactly the right location using this advanced propulsion and satellite navigation. We previously equipped the motor vessels Audacia and Sapura 3000 and are currently working on the new Allseas vessel Pieter Schelte.’ Other examples are the Relume van Menas, the semi-submersible vessels Fjord and Fjell from Fairstar and the Inland Ro-Ro transport ships for the Airbus A380 parts.
You can drive different types of screws with diesel electrical propulsion. ‘Depending on the functionality of the ship, we choose between a fixed screw, a thruster or a podded drive system (POD), in consultation with the naval architect and the customer. We are involved therefore at the beginning of the design stage’, says Van Miltenburg. ‘In this way we can carry out a cost-benefit analysis together with the client. What are the advantages with respect to energy and environment and what does this demand with respect to investment? And what are the operational advantages for the client, whereby he will eventually benefit from these innovative technical solutions? In short, diesel electrical propulsion offers advantages for the environment and the client’s wallet.’
Projects including diesel electrical propulsion
IM&O can see the orders for diesel electrical propulsion growing. Contract have recently been signed for a number of new vessels. On these ships IM&O will supply not only the diesel electrical propulsion but also the electro-technical equipment, the energy generation and distribution, the navigation and communication equipment and the vessel management, including dynamic positioning.
A 5,000 ton crane vessel owned by Nordic Heavy Lift that is being built at the Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore.
Jason 18 and 35
Two construction vessels with a 3,000 ton crane, owned by the Sea Trucks Group. Also suitable for deep sea pipe-laying.
Seismographic vessel for Fugro
Sister company, HDW-Hagenuk Schiffstechnik, won the contract for a seismographic vessel at the German Fassmerwerf. Fugro will use this vessel to investigate the seabed and for this reason the propulsion must meet high demands with respect to noise and vibration.
Multi-purpose vessel GSP Titan
IM&O is working on a multi-purpose vessel for Upetrom. The ship can lay deep-sea pipes, has a 3,000 ton crane and a ‘moonpool’, on which a drilling rig can be placed. The vessel is multi-usable for the offshore industry.
Fall pipe rock dumping vessel for DEME
Tideway, the offshore group within Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering (DEME) from Belgium has commissioned a fall pipe rock dumping vessel, which is being built in Singapore. The ship is equipped to dump stones very accurately on pipes laid on the seabed for firm anchorage.