Geologen – Pioneering the Way with Hybrid Technology

Last updated: 16 Feb 2024  |  318 Views  | 

Geologen – Pioneering the Way with Hybrid Technology

An Innovative Drivetrain
The vessel features an innovative hybrid drivetrain that combines Yanmar engines with electrics and a controllable pitch propeller. Gisle Johnsen, General Manager of Martec AS, Kewatec Aluboats Norwegian subsidiary, explains, “The brief from the client was to devise a propulsion system with very low vibrations and noise because of all the sensitive scientific instruments on-board.”
These instruments include two multi-beam echo sounders, a sub-bottom profiler, and seismic technology for geological examination up to depths of 1,300 meters. Additionally, there is a remotely operated vehicle that is deployed from an A-frame crane on the deck.

Johnsen continues, “I believe the propulsion system is the first hybrid system consisting of Yanmar IMO Tier III engines in combination with a controllable pitch propeller and an electric motor PTI (power take in) mounted on the gearbox. What’s more, the propeller tunnel design integrated in the hull is unique.”

The construction process began with a 3D model that underwent rigorous testing using computational fluid dynamics. Once the model was refined to meet the designer's expectations, the physical ship was built, and sea trials commenced.
Johnsen highlights, “The system was tested properly according to the yard and a regulation SAT (sea acceptance test) program, including a 4-hour 100% load test. The tests were successful, everything worked according to plan and no additional adjustments or adaptations were necessary. It just goes to show that with proper planning, modelling and virtual testing you can get a vessel right first time.”

Yanmar Engines with Electric Motors - The Right Power Combination

The drive train comprises two 670kW Yanmar 6AYEM-GTWS marine diesel engines and a combined 200kW of electric motors, propelling the vessel at a top speed of 20 knots. In electric-only mode, Geologen can cruise at 5 knots for up to 4 hours.

“We chose Yanmar because the company has such a good reputation, and we know these units have low vibrations, low emissions and the ability to deliver a complete IMO Tier III package. This is a hybrid system of course, which does present challenges. For example, batteries are heavy which can affect fuel consumption in diesel-only mode, and the fire protection regulations mean we have to have a cooling system in place for the batteries. However, we consider this ship a great success, and we’re having a lot of interest in hybrid systems from our government clientele,” says Johnsen.

Harnessing the Benefits of Hybrid Solutions
In practical terms, Geologen utilizes the diesel system for transit to and from research sites, switching to electric drive during research operations to minimize vibration for more accurate survey work. Alongside the onboard instruments, the vessel features a dry laboratory, a wet laboratory, and essential amenities such as a galley and crew cabins.

Geologen stands as a remarkable testament to the possibilities that hybrid technology offers, combining reliable power and environmental responsibility in a versatile working vessel.


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