A Canadian laker with an advanced Berg diesel electric drive train is already showing significant emissions reductions. Built by China’s Chengxi Shipyard for Canada Steamship Line (CSL) the 26,000 dwt self-unloader, M/V Nukumi arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in time to take up duties for the 2022 Great Lakes season. As we reported earlier, the vessel is a single point loader developed in collaboration with Windsor Salt to deliver de-icing salt from Mines Seleine on the Magdalens Islands for use on roads across Quebec and Newfoundland.
It is the first bulk carrier to feature direct drive electric — an integrated solution developed by Berg Propulsion to make high efficiency electric propulsion easier to adopt.
“Conventional electric propulsion systems feed power from the generator to the power distribution system, then on to the frequency controller and the electric motor before they reach the main propeller shaft via the reduction gear,” said Jonas Nyberg, managing director, West, at Berg Propulsion. “This can be overly complex and hard to maintain, while energy is lost at every step. The direct drive electric solution features electric motors that are integrated to directly drive the propeller shaft.”
The removal of gears allows for shorter shaft lines, fewer bearings and a smaller engine room footprint, while very high torque meant the same power could drive larger propellers, according to Nyberg.
“For Nukumi, the use of direct drive electric propulsion shows the value available when a shipowner, an equipment maker and a system integrator work together in the early ship design phase on prioritizing performance and sustainability,” says Nyberg. “This is a key reference for direct drive electric as a fuel efficient and easy to install technology which broadens the appeal of greener electric propulsion.”
Frederic Jauvin, vice-president, global technical services, CSL said that, compared to its predecessor, the ship’s combination of optimized hull form, electric propulsion technology and Tier III diesel-electric engines would cut greenhouse gases by 25 percent and other pollutants by 80 percent. The propulsion solution will also enhance maneuverability in the shallow Magdalen Island channel, he said.
“Nukumi charts new waters when it comes to safe, sustainable and efficient shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region,” said Jauvin. “Its efficiency and sustainability are truly exciting and Berg Propulsion’s integrated solution and its engineering partnership with Chengxi Shipyard has been key to securing all of the available performance enhancements.”
The performance and sustainability gains of electric propulsion are widely acknowledged, especially when ships demand variable load capabilities, but Berg believes the greater simplicity direct drive solutions bring to the marine market could prove decisive.
Berg says that energy savings compared to other electrical solutions can be in the excess of 5%, with equivalent fuel savings available. Additionally, direct drive electric is also “future-proofed” to accommodate alternative energy sources, using a DC hub — or “superdrive” — to draw on main engines or stored energy from zero emission batteries and fuel cells, as required.