Hybrid Powertrain Design for Naval and Commercial Ocean-Going Vessels

B. Gully, August 2012 (Citation)


The need for a reduced dependence on fossil fuels is motivated by a wide range of factors: from increasing fuel costs, to national security implications of supply, to rising concern for environmental impact. Although much focus is given to terrestrial systems, over 90% of the world’s freight is transported by ship. Likewise, naval warfighting systems are critical in supporting U.S. national interests abroad. Yet the vast majority of these vessels rely on fossil fuels for operation. The results of this thesis illustrate a common theme that hybrid mechanical-electrical marine propulsion systems produce substantially better fuel efficiency than other technologies that are typically emphasized to reduce fuel consumption. Naval and commercial powertrains in the 60-70 MW range are shown to benefit substantially from the utilization of mechanical drive for high speed propulsion; complemented by an efficient electric drive system for low speed operations. This hybrid architecture proves to be able to best meet the wide range of performance requirements for each of these systems, while also being the most easily integrated technology option. Naval analyses evaluate powertrain options for the DDG-51 Flight III. Simulation results using actual operational profile data show a CODLAG system produces a net fuel savings of up to 12% more than a comparable all-electric system, corresponding to a savings of 37% relative the existing DDG-51 powertrain. These results prove that a mechanical linkage for the main propulsion engine greatly reduces fuel consumption and that for power generation systems requiring redundancy, diesel generators represent a vastly superior option to gas turbines. For the commercial application it is shown that an augmented PTO/PTI hybrid system can better reduce cruise fuel consumption than modern sail systems, while also producing significant benefit with regard to CO2 emissions. In addition, using such a shaft mounted hybrid system for low speed electric drive in ports reduces NOx emissions by 29-43%, while CO is reduced 57-66% and PM may be reduced up to 25%, depending on the specific operating mode. As an added benefit, fuel consumption rates under these conditions are reduced 20-29%.


Ben Gully, Mechanical Engineering, August 2012, “Hybrid Powertrain Design for Naval and Commercial Ocean-Going Vessels.” PhD diss., University of Texas at Austin.