The US Navy has taken delivery of the USS Zumwalt, its first full-electric power and propulsion ship.
GE Power Conversion was the designer and provider for the high-voltage system (HV), propulsion drivetrains consisting of multiphase converters, and Advanced Induction Motors (AIM) for the DDG 1000 class of cutting-edge destroyers.
GE said the electric propulsion solution delivers efficiency, cost-of-ownership reductions, and system redundancy for enhanced vessel safety. In addition, it allows for more flexible machinery layout and is configurable for containment and isolation.
Employing GE’s Integrated Power System (IPS), the DDG 1000 has the capacity to distribute electricity across the entire ship, allowing power delivery to be matched to operational requirements.
The drivetrain propelling the ship features four motors, two in tandem for each propeller (with electric power delivered by four, Rolls-Royce diesel turbine generators). GE VDM25000 power converters with three independent channels accompany each 15-phase AIM. Each motor drive train can operate on 5, 10, or 15 phases, which provides redundancy and is more economical when running at lower power.
GE says its propulsion solution is compact enough for combatant ships and powerful enough for an aircraft carrier. With 72MW of propulsion power, the Integrated Full Electric Propulsion (IFEP) system comprises all shipboard electrical power generation and propulsion including the propulsion motor, VDM25000 variable speed drives, switchboards, and HV equipment.
Offering improved efficiency, the electric drive eliminates the need for the driveshaft and reduction gears and brings benefits in acoustic signature reduction, an increase in available power for operational requirements and improvements in the quality of life for crew. The all-electric propulsion of Zumwalt also generates additional reserved power, allowing the integration of future high-energy defence systems and sensors.