Page 50: of Marine News Magazine (July 2019)
Thrustmaster Invests in the Future
For over 35 years, Houston-based Thrustmaster of Texas quired, the headache of urea after treatment, and the cost has been a manufacturer of thrusters and waterjets. Over increase for tier 4 engines. Alternatively, Thrustmaster’s time, their business plan has shown that continuous in- electric podded thrusters and hybrid propulsion systems vestment in knowledge and innovation has been the key to coupled together can offer a very intriguing new approach their continuing success. This business philosophy has led to the inland markets for both ferries and towboats.
Thrustmaster to purchase the patents for an electric pod- The installation of three or four Tier III engines instead ded thruster and designs for hybrid propulsion systems. of two higher horsepower Tier IV engines allows operation
This newly acquired technology includes T-Pod – an with only one or two of these smaller engines running dur- electric podded thruster from the Netherlands (Blue ing loitering and periods of reduced power demand. The
Thruster) and the ICON DP (dynamic positioning) sys- engines are running at relatively high load, ef? ciently, and tem from Rolls Royce. The electric podded thrusters will clean, rather than slugging along below their design load be applied for the inland markets for a more ef? cient and at low fuel ef? ciency while expelling carbon deposits and robust hybrid or diesel electric package. Thrustmaster pur- half burnt diesel fuel. With Thrustmaster’s hybrid propul- chased the T-Pod technology in order to deliver a more sion system, multiple smaller Tier 3 gensets are used with complete, ef? cient, and versatile hybrid and diesel electric a power management system to drive the electric thrusters. propulsion system package. Thrustmaster reports several The use of Thrustmaster’s electric podded thruster pro- projects in the works for both domestic and international vides the additional bene? ts through its patented unique
Customers for ferries and tugs but has not yet to date sold design using a permanent magnet motor located directly a complete package as yet. behind the propeller in a pod housing.
This interest in hybrid and diesel electric systems, ac- The thruster permanent magnet motor directly drives cording to Thrustmaster, is based in part in the challenges the propeller without the use of gear sets. This results in for industry in implementing Tier 4 requirements. These the most ef? cient thruster (there are no gear sets as are issues include signi? cant weight and volume increases for found in a traditional Z-drive and so it is more ef? cient the engine, the selective catalytic reduction technology re- and has less vibration), a quieter thruster (the motor is lo- cated directly behind the propeller in a pod housing in the water, rather than in the vessel as with traditional Z-drives) and increased space and weight savings in the vessel (the motor is located in the water in a pod housing rather than in the vessel and the thruster lacks the heavy gear and bear- ing sets of traditional L and Z drives). Permanent magnet motor developments have led to more compact designs with higher ef? ciency over all motor speeds. Permanent magnet technology consumes less fuel, is lighter weight, lower volume, and higher ef? ciency.
This innovative diesel electric with electric podded thruster package will be soon be offered in Thrustmaster’s patented portable dynamic positioning package. This would consist of
Thrustmaster’s electric podded thruster in a portable outboard con? guration similar to what Thrustmaster has produced for the past 35 years in its hydraulic podded con? guration.
A modular containerized diesel electric power unit would power the electric podded thruster and a portable DP control van out? tted with Thrustmaster’s DP Icon control system (Thrustmaster recently purchased the IP of Rolls Royce’s DP product) Thrustmaster would complete the package.
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