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New battery technology enables hybrid solutions even for large vessels

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Hybrid drives will strongly increase in the next few years
Large marine vessels cannot have utilised electric batteries in the past to the same extent as smaller ones due to inadequate battery power. A Finnish technology company Protacon will supply to Rauma Marine Constructions a solution with its total propulsion power exceeding 3MW. The solution suits all large-scale vessels. With the propulsion system rebuild, the marine research vessel Aranda will become the first vessel implemented in Finland utilising the new battery technology.
Aranda is an ice strengthened research vessel suitable for multidisciplinary marine research all year round. The ship-owner, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), wanted to replace the vessel’s diesel propulsion system with a hybrid drive. After the renovation, the vessel can be driven by electricity produced by a generator connected to a diesel engine and electricity received from a powerful battery unit. By reducing the use of diesel engines with batteries, it is possible to significantly reduce sulphur emissions. A hybrid solution also reduces noise transmitted to sea. In turn, noise reduction facilitates research of marine organisms.
In Aranda’s rebuild, Protacon will cooperate with Rauma Marine Constructions as a technology partner. The delivery to Aranda includes the main distribution board, liquid-cooled electric drives, propulsion engines and a propulsion battery unit.
“Marine hybrid systems represent state-of-the-art technology for reducing emissions in marine transport. Development of a hybrid system in this power band is an investment in the future”, says chief development officer Kari Pellinen from Protacon.
Electrical design manager Marko Paloluoto from Rauma Marine Constructions also regards the battery technology and hybrid solutions as a significant solution for the marine industry today and in the future.
“This trend is strongly visible in the inquiries, which we receive in great numbers with propulsion batteries included in the specification in almost all of them. Aranda is an important reference for both of us regarding possible future projects”, Mr. Paloluoto says.
Protacon has long-standing experience particularly in propulsion and automation system modernisations of vessels navigating in ice, as well as in the development of low-emission propulsion systems. The company has long-term expertise, which is visible in innovative and thoroughly considered advanced solutions.
“Protacon’s earlier experience in the modernisation of electric drives of vessels navigating in ice convinced us and we launched our first joint project with confidence”, Mr. Paloluoto explains.
Aranda’s electric drive solution and technology will be utilised in other areas as well, such as in the work machine, energy and paper industries.
“We have already been inquired about solutions for the paper industry, but actual implementations have not yet taken place. The hybrid technology brings its own bonus and possibility to the matter”, Mr. Pellinen says.

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