South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries aims to maximize the efficiency of Very Large Containerships (VLCSs) by simplifying the power system.
HHI and Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) have been awarded Approval in Principle (AIP) for a new multi-grid power system design system for 15,000-TEU containerships.
The technology breaks down the VLCS power system into two separate types of power loads: “essential loads,” required to operate the ship. and “service loads,” needed to keep the intermodal reefers at proper temperatures among other things.
For conventional container ships, onboard electrical equipment is typically powered at a low voltage level – 440V or less. As container ships have become larger, however, the total amount of electricity required has grown, calling for 6.6kV or higher-voltage power systems onboard. As a result, installation of up to eight large-capacity transformers to convert high voltages into low voltages has become inevitable.
The new HHI approach uses multi-grid power systems to lower the capacity of each system, allowing low-voltage power distribution to replace the existing high-voltage power distribution. No voltage conversion means there is no requirement for the large transformers weighing up to 64 tons in aggregate that would otherwise be loaded onto the ship, allowing for an extra loader capacity of 60 FEU thanks to better space utilization.
The financial benefit offered by the elimination of voltage conversion is a savings of about $320,000 per vessel.
Further, says HHI, the flexibility in the amount of power supplied in alignment with the quantity of the containerized cargo drives up the energy efficiency of the ship, removing the unnecessary energy consumptionof conventional power systems.
“With this technology, we have applied for 12 patents at home and have also filed for an overseas patent in the EU, Canada, China and Japan,” said an official of HHI Group. “We will continuously work on the research and development towards better ship efficiency for other types of vessels as well, aiming for enhanced customer satisfaction.”