All industries are under pressure to reduce their carbon emissions and increase efficiency. A global push by governments to cut carbon has seen more, tighter regulations introduced to boost the move towards energy efficiency, especially as many will face fines if they miss their targets.
However, as the number of deepwater oil and gas operations increases and easily accessible resources become sparse, more offshore support vessels (OSVs) are needed. This in turn has prompted a surge in demand for ships that are energy and fuel efficient, well as being technologically up to date, operationally viable and compliant with regulations. Growth in efficient OSVs
ABB, a leader in power and automation technologies, recently claimed that the market for OSVs has grown exponentially in the last few years, while at the same time undergoing a shift from traditional driving forces to greener methods.
Now more and more ships are moving from diesel-mechanical propulsion to diesel-electric, dramatically reducing fuel consumption, emissions and providing users with the opportunity to embrace future energy sources.
"[This] has made electric propulsion the technology of choice for modern, eco-friendly OSVs," a report by the firm titled Electric propulsion, power and automation systems for advanced OSVs claimed.
It added that there is a significant variation in propulsion and thruster load profiles of OSVs that have electric propulsion, with fuel savings in these ships found to be anywhere between 15 per cent to 25 per cent over a full operational cycle. However, in DP modes this can increase to 50 per cent.
The firm explained that the electric propulsion saves fuel and emissions in two key ways compared to traditional diesel engines. The variable speed control of the propellers reduces no-load losses compared with traditional fixed speed, controllable pitch propellers and the use of several small constant speed engines and automatic start/stop technology means that only the engines needed are used. This gives a much better overall fuel economy than running one or two large engines below optimum levels.