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Published on November 12th, 2020 | by Jo Borrás

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Volvo Penta To Embrace Electrification In New Pilot Program

November 12th, 2020 by  


In a world’s first, Volvo Penta will be using hybrid electric technology to power a pair of crew transfer vessels (CTVs) for Ørsted, one of the largest operators of offshore wind turbines. Built in collaboration with the experts at Danfoss Editron and set to launch in Q2 of 2021, the pilot program will be a proof-of-concept for an innovative combination of both the electric Volvo Penta drive units, state-of-the-art gensets, and advanced vessel management systems.

Image courtesy Volvo Penta

We talk a lot about Volvo on these digital pages, and with good reason. Perhaps more than any other company (including the “red pill” guys over at Tesla), Volvo Cars has taken action to combat climate change, committing early on to reducing emissions when it moved away from 5-, 6-, and 8-cylinder engines to a universal 2.0L 4-cylinder, then committed to a fully electrified version of every new model launched after 2019. Volvo’s trucking and construction equipment arms are similarly going all-electric, too. Going further back, Volvo invented the technology behind the Lambda O2 sensor that is at the heart of modern emissions control technology — and, frankly, what other carmaker even offers a vegan car interior?

I genuinely don’t know. If there is another carmaker, let us know about it in the comments.

Back to the story, though. Danfoss’ expertise in marine electrification systems and in-house designed electric propulsion motors and generators have been mated, in this application, to two (out of four) of the drives in a “standard” Volvo Penta IPS QUAD set-up. The other two (again, of four) legs of the IPS QUAD system are powered by Volvo Penta D13 diesel engines. A stout battery pack will also be installed to support peak-shaving strategies — reducing the maximum loads placed on the diesel engines — and to allow the vessels to operate in fully electric mode at low speed, even after long periods at a standstill. Like, oh, I don’t know, if your boat is hanging around near an offshore turbine for a few hours.

Image courtesy Volvo Penta

The stated goal of both Volvo Penta and Danfoss Editron is the creation of an advanced hybrid solution that has maximum uptime, efficiency, and maneuverability. Erno Tenhunen, the Marine Director at Danfoss Editron, believes that, “this project will open the market for more hybrid [crew vessels]. Previously, the size of electric motors and components were too big for CTVs. Our compact and lightweight technology has overcome this issue and solved the challenges faced by vessel designers, shipyards, and end customers. Our system, in combination with Volvo Penta’s compact drivelines and gensets, makes installation easy, even in a limited space.”

Assuming all goes well and the ships prove themselves over next summer’s maintenance season, Volvo Penta and Danfoss expect more commercial sales of their new hybrid marine propulsion system to oil rigs and other offshore wind farm companies to begin late in 2021. You can check out the official press release — a joint effort from Penta and Danfoss — below, then let us know what you think of this new hybrid drive system in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Volvo Penta uses pilot technology in one of the UK’s first hybrid crew transfer vessels

In close collaboration with electrification experts, Danfoss Editron, Volvo Penta is powering two hybrid vessels using pilot technology. Set to be launched in summer 2021 these vessels are an innovative combination of integrated electric Volvo Penta Inboard Performance Systems (IPS), state-of-the-art gensets, and advanced vessel management systems.

In spring 2020 the Volvo Penta team took on a new and exciting pilot project for longtime customer and Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS) user, MHO&Co. This Danish operator’s mission was to create two hybrid crew transfer vessels (CTVs) for operator Ørsted – one of the world’s biggest wind farm operators. Combining the best-in-class propulsion – Volvo Penta IPS – and Danfoss Editron’s expertise in marine electrification systems and in-house designed electric propulsion motors and generators, the companies are working on creating an advanced hybrid solution that has maximum uptime, efficiency, and maneuverability.

“At Volvo Penta, we are always striving for innovative and sustainable solutions to customers’ challenges,” says Peter Granqvist, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Penta. “One of the best ways to advance our technology is to take on these bold projects and work collaboratively with other technology leaders. This project is teaching us a lot about experimental technical solutions, and we are excited to see the outcomes and learn more. As a pilot project, this system is not immediately for sale.”

The 35-m (112-ft) CTVs – designed by MHO&Co in cooperation with Incat Crowther in the UK and Australia and built by Afai Southern Shipyard in China – is a global collaboration. Both vessels will be capable of carrying 24 crew and fitted with a large lounge area and eight cabins. The CTVs will serve Ørsted’s Hornsea Two offshore wind farm, which will be from 56 Nm (89 km) to 65 Nm (120 km) off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea. We expect it to enter operation in 2021.

Gensets
Volvo Penta marine gensets will help power these vessels – the electric propulsion power for the driveline will come from five variable speed Volvo D8 gensets. The use of variable speed gensets combined with the selectable multi-genset option has major environmental advantages and will ensure high availability resulting in extremely low downtime. Additionally, the smaller D8 units allow for future technologies by replacing one (or more) D8 with fuel-cells or similar when technology allows.

Electric IPS: a unique hybrid system
Volvo Penta IPS is already a revolutionary technology in the marine industry, but now the company is driving that technology forward into a new chapter – electric IPS. Building on the trusted innovation, Volvo Penta has worked closely with Danfoss Editron to create the breakthrough serial hybrid system. The system consists of Volvo Penta IPS QUAD set-up, where two of the four legs are powered by Volvo Penta D13 diesel propulsion engines and two legs are powered by Danfoss Editron’s electric machines, which are in turn powered by five Volvo Penta D8 variable speed gensets. Additionally, a battery pack will be installed to support peak-shaving and to allow the vessels to operate in fully electric mode at low speed, and during long stationary periods.

Erno Tenhunen, Marine Director, Danfoss Editron said: “This project will open the market for more hybrid CTVs. Previously, the size of electric motors and components were too big for CTVs. Our compact and lightweight technology has overcome this issue and solved the challenges faced by vessel designers, shipyards, and end customers. Our system, in combination with Volvo Penta’s compact drivelines and gensets, makes installation easy, even in a limited space. Plus it allows flexibility on system concepts and machinery room design.”

Both CTVs will be capable of operating in either fully electric or hybrid mode. When cruising to windfarms all four Volvo Penta IPS can be powered, two mechanically and two electrically. In harbor or at the wind farm there is the option to run the vessels with either battery to the electrical Volvo Penta IPS legs or any combination of 1-5 gensets, depending on weather conditions. It is estimated that this choice of operation is set to save about 127 metric tons of CO2 compared to traditional diesel-powered vessels.

Intelligent communication
From the bridge, these vessels act as a Volvo Penta IPS QUAD with hybrid options, assisted by the Danfoss Editron Control System (ECS). The vessels are commanded by Volvo Penta controls and the EVC system (Electronic Vessel Control System), which communicates to the D8 gensets as well as the Danfoss Editron ECS. The ECS calls off genset power and/or battery power automatically, or when ordered from the captain’s HMI-display.

“Our many years of working in the offshore wind industry, coupled with Incat Crowther’s expertise, have brought the design of these vessels to life,” says Mik Henriksen, founder of MHO&Co. “However, the technological developments behind these vessels have been a learning process for all involved. As a company we have been a longtime user of Volvo Penta IPS – and have always been fans of the superior propulsion, thrust, and maneuverability of the system. To be able to take this trusted technology to the next level and go electric is a big win for us in terms of future opportunities.”

Source | Images: Volvo Penta
 


 


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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.



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