Marine Fully Electric Propulsion – Trends and Dynamics
Marine propulsion is a system or mechanism which provides thrust for movement of a boat or ship in water. Modern ships are currently utilizing mechanical systems such as engine or electric motor-based propeller or less frequently used impellers and pump jets for propulsion. Electric propulsion boats are not a new concept. The first electric propulsion-based vessel was built from lead acid batteries in France in 1881, by Gustave Trouvé; however, energy storage constraints hampered the development of the vessel. The global marine market is expanding at a rapid pace due to new innovations in the way of propulsion and working of vessels.
The basic concept of electric propulsion marine system is very simple, an electric motor is driven by a battery pack. The battery pack could be easily charged by plugging it into an on-shore power grid, while being docked or can also be charged from renewable energy, either when docked or while in usage, with the help of solar panels or wind turbines. Feasibility of any electric propulsion boat or ship depends upon the capability of installed battery to meet all energy and power requirements of the vessel as well as on the ability of the vessel to house the battery of the required size and weight. Usually, low-speed and short-range boats or ships are ideal for incorporation of electric propulsion systems in the view of the current scenario of technology.
Generally, boat manufacturers offer fully electric propulsion system on a custom order or retrofit basis. Primary drivers for opting for electric propulsion systems in marine vessels are concerns regarding water pollution, environmental regulations, and reduction of noise and vibration. Utilization of on-board renewable energy sources for charging of the battery is likely to be another driver for this marine propulsion type.
Based on type, the marine fully electric propulsion market can be segmented into AC electric type and DC electric type. The AC electric type propulsion systems utilize AC current as a source for propulsion in the water. While DC electric type propulsion systems utilize DC current as a source of power for movement in the water.
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Based on propulsion type, the marine fully electric propulsion market can be classified into shaft line propulsion, pod propulsion, rotating propulsion, and azimuthing. In shaft line propulsion method, a shaft connected to the main driving motor rotates the propeller at the other end of the shaft. The pod propulsion system utilizes a device called pod, positioned below the stern of a boat, which houses an electric motor for propulsion purpose. In azimuthing, the electric propellers located in pods can be rotated to various horizontal angle as required, thus also performing the function of a rudder.
In terms of application, the marine fully electric propulsion market can be segregated into cargo ships, tankers, passenger ships, naval vessels, and others. Demand for electric propulsion systems in cargo ships is expected to rise significantly during the forecast period due to the rising trade activities among various countries and regions.
In terms of region, the marine fully electric propulsion market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is projected to hold a substantial share of the global marine fully electric propulsion market during the forecast period. Europe is anticipated to follow North America during the forecast period. However, the market in Asia Pacific is likely to expand at a significant growth rate during the forecast period.
Key players operating in the marine fully electric propulsion market include ABB Group, Rolls-Royce Plc, Wärtsilä, YANMAR CO., LTD., Caterpillar, Oceanvolt, and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.
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