Page 19: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (May 2022)
Green Ship Technologies
Eye on the Navy
Electrif cation: T e power behind ‘future-proof ng’
By Edward Lundquist here’s an “electri? cation of the seas” happening for have to know what that future technology is. You just have to navies around the world. know that it will have an electrical interface,” said Smith.
Whether it’s to achieve greater military capabili- Another trend is static energy storage, like batteries and ca-
T ties, operational economics and ef? ciencies or to be pacitors, that deliver improved power density.
better stewards of the environment. “Even in a combat situation at high speed, power can be
There’s a trend moving from direct mechanical drives to- diverted momentarily from propulsion to charge up energy wards more ? exible electrical propulsion systems. Ships can weapons such as lasers, without slowing down,” Smith said. still have the same propellers and engines, but they now have “We can have a battery bank with a capacitor bank on top for a much more ? exible power system architecture that bene? ts short-term pulses, such as launching a plane from an EMALS design, operations and sustainment. catapult. If you’ve got electric grid and lose a prime mover, the “With an electric propulsion system, we can connect to the batteries can provide power to the grid for a while until you can same gas turbine or diesel. Any prime mover can run any load, restart an engine.” whether it’s for propulsion, the ship’s electric power distribu- Awiszus said GE’s new composite enclosure module for the tion system, or sensors or weapons,” said George Awiszus, di- LM 2500 provides about 6,000 lbs. in weight savings per gas rector of military marine marketing and business development turbine package. “It’s half the weight of the steel enclosures. with GE’s Marine Solutions in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s cooler to the touch—25 to 50 degrees cooler--and its quiet-
For naval applications, this trend favors larger ships as op- er. So it’s better for the Sailors in the engine room, and reduces posed to corvettes or patrol boats, because destroyers and the ships acoustic signature providing a tactical advantage.” aircraft carriers have bigger electrical loads and the need for Awiszus said the future will bring simpler power systems. immediate power to apply to directed energy weapons, or elec- “We’ll see more power-dense solutions with fewer moving tro-magnetic catapults and weapons elevators. parts. Instead of 20 parts, there will be 10 parts, or just ? ve.
Ships such as the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) class of guided Our ultimate goal is a single machine with nothing else--no missile destroyers and the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Eliza- converters, dynamic braking, resistors, or ? lters. The machine beth class of aircraft carriers are examples of ships using gas will directly connect to the grid--nothing else needed.” turbines and integrated electric propulsion instead of dedicated Awiszus said electri? cation offers the maximum ? exibility propulsion prime movers coupled directly to the shaft with for any of the future generating, weapons or sensor technologies large reduction gears. that will come along. “It really does give you ‘future proo? ng.’
The DDG 1000s, for example, have higher voltage electri- You don’t have to worry about what it might look like. There cal systems compared to USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) surface could be 50 things in the pipeline, and only ? ve might make it combatants. through to the ? nal stage, but they’ll all be electric.” “It’s still electricity, but at higher scales,” Awiszus said.
According to Nick Smith, executive tech- nology leader with GE Power Conversion in Rugby, UK, it’s the electrical grid in the middle that offers the ? exibility. “You can change prime movers as the technology ad- vances, upgrade sensors or add new weapons.
Once you have established the grid in the cen- ter, you can innovate at both ends.” “We can adapt all of the current prime movers and energy sources to the grid. To- day we can install an LM-2500 gas turbine on the grid. But in the future, when we have fuel cells and other green technologies, which will be electric, and they will connect. You don’t
Photo courtesy GE www.marinelink.com 19
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