Advantages of Electrical Propulsion In Merchant Vessels

Written by Ravi Kishore Komara

March 29, 2024

  • Instead of a large main engine, these ships have comparatively tiny electrical motors of the same output power or more, thus less space and weight which can be used for cargo carrying.
  • very less maintenance on electrical motors when compared to main diesel engines.
  • The bottom platform is almost empty without the main diesel engines. Thus, there is greater flexibility for locating machineries.
  • No scavenge space waste oil production, No cylinder oil, and main lube oil usage.
  • The ship can be constructed without any main engine sump space for lube oil and thus associated cofferdams.
  • No starting air pipelines and starting air compressors for the main engine.
  • No HFO/MDO purifiers will be running as in diesel ship and thus less maintenance and cost.
  • Sludge production is very minimal and condensate from the main engine, its associated tank can be neglected.
  • Easier watchkeeping as parameters are less to monitor in the absence of the main propulsion engine.
  • No vibrations & noise as compared to diesel engines.
  • The electrical motors can run even at 1 or 2 RPMs. Thus adding greater navigational advantages.
  • No limitations in several starts on diesel engines.
  • Departure or arrival port, notice time required is very less when compared to diesel engine-propelled ship.
  • Complex electrical, and electronic circuits and transformers for propulsion motors and speed control devices are required.
  • Sea water piping and cooling circuits are comparatively smaller.
  • Regular transfer of fuel is not required as the ship’s generator runs on gas.
  • The ship is generally classed as high voltage as the operating voltage may be of the order of 6600volts to 11KV.
  • Electrical motor starting problems are very less compared to diesel engine reversing and starting problems.
  • Electrical braking of the propulsion shaft is very much effective when compared to mechanical breaking in case of diesel engines.
  • The total operational cost of the ship is very less when compared to a diesel engine-propelled ship.

These are some of the operational advantages of an electrically propelled ship over a diesel engine-propelled ship. More of automation and engines which run on gas offer engineers a real peace of life onboard a ship.

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