France: GE Systems to Set New Standards in Electrical Naval Propulsion
GE Systems include some of the most advanced and respected solutions in every part of the power generation and propulsion arena GE helps the world’s navies increase operational dependability, financial efficiency and respect for the environment in terms of emissions and fuel economy.
There’s a new era dawning for naval engineering and propulsion.
“I’ve seen the future of naval propulsion, and it’s electrifying,” observed GE Power Conversion’s Captain Mark Dannatt Royal Navy (retd.), speaking during this week’s Euronaval exhibition and conference in Paris.
Capt. Dannatt’s comments came as he outlined the latest advances in advanced naval electrical technology from a GE perspective. “Working with the world’s leading navies gives us what may be a unique perspective on the trends that are emerging and a view into the future. Our systems include some of the most advanced and respected solutions in every part of the power generation and drive train from our gas turbines and diesel engines through power distribution systems, variable speed drives, generators and propulsion motors to automation and control systems, which means that we get to see and set trends when they are still in their infancy.”
International trade, global security, energy exploration, recovery and delivery, tourism and leisure; all rely on the world’s seas and oceans that link cities and population centers and all rely on the ships that achieve these diverse objectives. Maritime operations, regardless of role or specialty, require ships which are operationally dependable, financially efficient and which respect the environment in terms of emissions and fuel economy.
The world’s navies are not exempt from these operational, financial and environmental imperatives—in fact, they often are more exposed to the scrutiny of politicians, taxpayers and an environmentally aware public than some of their commercial counterparts.
Against this background, Captain Dannatt believes that we have entered the age of electrically powered and propelled warships and support vessels. “It’s increasingly common for naval ship designers to be directed to give increased weighting to through life costs of naval ships including fuel consumption and routine maintenance costs based on their selected power and propulsion options,” says Dannatt. “These studies often conclude that some form of electrical propulsion is worthy of further investigation based not only on fuel and maintenance costs but also on the consequential impact on improvements in ship availability and extended operational autonomy”.
GE’s Power Conversion business provides complete power and propulsion system packages, including prime movers, power generation, electrical distribution and fixed or variable speed drives, including motors for propulsion, thrusters and specialist applications.
The company’s expertise in ship power and propulsion systems ranges from the manufacture and supply of power generation systems to integrated full electric propulsion systems and, increasingly, hybrid propulsion systems.
Many of the world’s leading navies are now employing some form of electric propulsion somewhere in their fleets—the decision making process leading to the selection of this technology commonly follows detailed design studies supported by Power Conversion including feasibility studies into the various alternative propulsion concepts and an in depth analysis of technical, operational and through life support parameters.
GE acquired Power Conversion (then known as Converteam) in September 2011. GE’s Power Conversion business applies the science and systems of power conversion to help drive the electric transformation of the world’s energy infrastructure. Designing and delivering advanced motor, drive and control technologies that evolve today’s industrial processes for a cleaner, more productive future, it serves specialized sectors such as energy, marine, industry and all related services.
Naval Today Staff, November 20, 2012; Image: GE