Yamaha has begun evaluation trials of a new, integrated electric propulsion system, dubbed HARMO, in Japan. The company says that HARMO is a “next-generation control system platform” consisting of a propulsion unit powered by an electric motor, a remote-control box, and a joystick that enables intuitive operation.
Yamaha is aiming to provide a complete electric drive package for boat operators, and will be specifically targeting the European market, which it feels is currently most open to the adoption of such systems.
According to the company, the motor drive adopts a rim drive method whereby a motor drives the propeller’s rim rather than via a central shaft.
The University of Surrey has announced it is to begin work on a new lithium-ion battery technology capable of capturing CO2 emissions, following an award from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The project, which will be led by Dr Yunlong Zhao, will undertake research into batteries that use Li–CO2 electrochemical technology. Crucially, the research will look to achieve a breakthrough in efficient CO2 fixation to store energy.
Zhao explained, “The move to carbon neutral forms of energy supplies is critical to the long-term health of our planet and we are hopeful that our ambitious new project will help to address this need.
Energy Observer, a vessel that uses fuel cell propulsion while also processing its own hydrogen on board via solar power, recently completed its first transatlantic passage.
Prior to the crossing, the boat was outfitted with new, high-efficiency Autoprop propellers from supplier Bruntons, as well as a pair of Oceanwings wing sails, which consist of two, 12m-tall (39ft) composite masts fitted with 32m2 (345ft2) sails.
According to the Energy Observer team, it took the decision to fit the new propellers after assessing them as the best option to complement the craft’s new ‘wings’, providing a more efficient solution than its existing, fixed pitch, four-bladed props.
Electric and hybrid ferries’ point-to-point operating patterns make them ideal for electrification. The market’s current strong growth is highlighted by the announcement this week of two more projects getting underway.
The first (pictured above) is a collaboration between New Zealand based companies HamiltonJet and EV Maritime, to construct composite-hulled, electric commuter ferries, which will initially be used in Auckland, replacing a fleet of diesel vessels. The ferries will be battery powered and use Hamilton’s EHX waterjet systems, designed specifically for electric and hybrid applications.
In Europe, the German Baltic port of Rostock has ordered an electro-solar passenger ferry from the Ostseestaal shipyard.
Bering Yachts is branching out into the superyacht market with its new flagship model, the 145. The Turkish company usually designs and builds steel expedition yachts and luxury steel trawler yachts ranging from 15-45m (49-148ft). The 45m 145 will be equipped with a hybrid powertrain from supplier Danfoss Editron.
Danfoss is working with Marinel, an electrical consulting company that specializes in the design and application of shipboard power distribution and automation systems, and acts as Danfoss’s system integrator in Turkey. The hybrid system will include power take-off and power take-in machines, converters, grid solutions for the AC network and DC/DC solutions connected to the yacht’s batteries, all of which will operate via a DC cabinet and the electronic control system.
Ireland-based underwater data acquisition specialist XOcean is pushing for emissions-free operation of its fleet of unmanned surface vessels (USV). To achieve this, its XO-450 USV, composite-hulled, wave-piercing catamaran is now powered by a pair of Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 electric pod drives, with a Power 24-3500 lithium-ion battery and a lightweight micro-generator. Additionally, solar panels on deck provide efficient recharging during daylight hours.
The two electric thrusters are independently controlled to provide steering control. An additional pair of Torqeedo Ultralight outboards at the bows enhance the vessel’s station-keeping abilities when gathering data.
The boat’s operating range is 1,500 nautical miles, providing up to 18 days of mission endurance running 24/7.
Indian boatbuilder Cochin Shipyard Limited (CLS) has been awarded a contract to supply two autonomous electric ferries to Norwegian operator ASKO Maritime, with an option on a further two identical vessels.
The project is partially funded by the Norwegian government with a goal of emission-free transport of goods across the Oslo fjord. The shipyard says that the 67m vessels will initially be delivered as piloted electric ferries, each equipped with an impressive 1,846kWh capacity battery system. The autonomous capability will then be subject to testing and validation before pilotless operations commence. Each ferry will have a capacity of 16 tractor/trailer units.
Offshore charging of electric vessels is a tricky proposition, but one that UK-based firm Jebb Smith hopes it can solve with its development of the Oasis Power Buoy. To this end, the company recently secured funding through the UK’s Maritime Research & Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) scheme to develop the concept.
The company said it will expand the design of its Mara Buoy range, a deck level mooring system originally conceived for the leisure market, to create the Oasis Power Buoy, which will contain an electrical connection allowing crew transfer vessels to moor and recharge in-field.
Company director George Smith said, “We are delighted to be awarded this funding.