Canada’s Polar Icebreaker program to get GE propulsion systems

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Davie, a Canadian builder of Polar and ice-capable ships, has formed a strategic partnership with General Electric (GE) for its Polar Icebreaker program, the flagship of Canada’s National Icebreaker Centre (NIC).

Canada’s current polar icebreakers are aging; CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is more than 60 years old and CCGS Terry Fox is fast approaching 40 years in service. NIC hopes that a new Polar class will enable Canada to maintain a continuous Arctic presence.

GE’s Power Conversion business will provide propulsion for the new vessels, with its ice-class range of Seajet systems suitable for Polar class notation, and available in a power range of 7.5MW to 15MW. The Seajet system houses an electric motor in a hull-mounted pod directly connected to the propellor, freeing up cargo and operational space in the ship. GE also claims that maneuverability and efficiency are greatly improved using the system, and total fuel consumption and exhaust emissions are reduced.

The 150m Polar will be accommodated in Davie’s 351m Champlain Dry Dock and the company states that an integrated build schedule will ensure it complements other programs such as the six Program class Icebreakers (PIBs) it is due to build.

James Davies, president and CEO, Davie Shipbuilding, commented, “We welcome GE to our Polar program. Their leading-edge propulsion system combined with decades of icebreaker experience and electric and power system capabilities are unsurpassed. Their inclusion also greatly strengthens Canada’s National Icebreaker Centre. Together, we can ensure the Polar is stimulating the post-pandemic economy and protecting Canada’s Arctic interests into the far future.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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