Electric marine propulsion specialist Torqeedo and thruster manufacturer Poseidon have jointly developed a fully electric, steerable thruster system designed to provide up to 65kW of emission-free power and directional thrust, targeting applications on Europe’s inland waterways.
Poseidon’s thruster has been integrated into one of Torqeedo’s Deep Blue drives. The thruster delivers continuous power of 50kW and peak power of 65kW and can rotate up to 360°. The companies note that two drives are a typical configuration for the average 80 to 200-passenger vessel, but up to four may be installed.
The system is powered by Deep Blue lithium-ion batteries with a battery bank capacity of 80kWh to 1MWh. These high-capacity batteries, with technology from BMWi, meet IEC 62619 and IEC 62620 requirements, making them suitable for use in inland vessels according to ES-TRIN (European Standard laying down Technical Requirements for Inland Navigation vessels) requirements. A DNV-GL type-approved battery variant is also available for offshore applications. The electrohydraulic steering system was developed by FS Schiffstechnik in Duisburg, Germany, an established supplier of electrical and hydraulic systems for commercial shipping for over 25 years.
The first project utilizing the Deep Blue thruster is already underway. Ostseestaal subsidiary Ampereship is building an ES-TRIN-certified solar-electric passenger ferry that will travel between the mainland town of Kamp and the island of Usedom in northern Germany. The sun-powered 14.65m-long ferry can transport up to 20 people and 15 bicycles per trip at a cruising speed of 8km/h, with a maximum speed of 14km/h. The new ferry is scheduled to start operations in August 2021.
“There are many commercial applications that can be electrified very economically. Our focus is to keep the total cost of ownership low by offering a solution on a system level, including design-in, service, maintenance and remote diagnostics. This makes electrification as easy and safe as possible for the shipyard and the fleet operator,” explained Phillip Goethe, director of project sales at Torqeedo.
According to Marwin Fernhout, sales engineer at Poseidon Propulsion, “The gearwheels are Klingelnberg spiral bevel gears for low noise levels, and the aluminum propeller is a highly skewed, five-blade unit for optimum performance. Using these and commercial parameters to design the unit, combined with the seawater-resistant (hard) anodized high-tensile aluminum, a lightweight and professional azimuth thruster is created.”
The companies suggest that electrification of vessels in inner-city waterways with Deep Blue can be accomplished very cost-effectively because speeds are often limited and the vessels are typically in use for 8-14 hours per day, which leaves plenty of time for overnight charging. Axel Büchling, manager of project sales for Torqeedo, concluded, “The technology is ready. Up to 200kW propulsive power is enough to operate most inland passenger vessels. The modular system design allows the operator to use the same parts and components in different vessels, and all components can be monitored and serviced remotely. That is a big advantage.”