In the continued drive for greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, Caterpillar has developed a hybrid propulsion system, ideal for tugboats or many other marine applications. The Cat Hybrid Propulsion System brings a great deal of flexibility to the vessel, giving captains several options in how they operate their tug. Here, Emil Cerdier, the sales manager for propulsion in the Americas, introduces the Cat Hybrid Propulsion System and its capabilities.
“The Cat Hybrid Propulsion System is a fully integrated system that’s designed to fulfill the contractual requirements of a tugboat or many other applications, and also optimize operational costs based on where that vessel is going to spend the bulk of its time.”
The Cat Hybrid Propulsion System can be developed as stem-to-stern solution, with a pair of primary diesel engines connected to the vessel’s azimuth drives. In addition to the diesel engines, the Cat Hybrid Propulsion System includes VFD controlled booster motors, which are also tied to the azimuth drives. The booster motors are powered by generator sets and/or batteries and the load balancing and switching between operation modes are handled in a highly optimized control system.
Popular power options for the Cat Hybrid Propulsion System include Caterpillar’s highly esteemed 3500 marine power series, and a suitable selection of generator sets.
“The idea is that you can switch between them and only have as much power online as is needed for a certain operation.”
For example, if maximum performance is needed from the azimuth drives, a captain can combine full power from the diesel engines with the booster motors to get top bollard pull. If, though, the vessel is in transit or in standby, then the main diesel engines can be shut down and the smaller generators used to create enough thrust. And if conventional tugboat capabilities are desired, the diesel engines can be used to power the azimuth thrusters without the booster motors. This ability to switch on the fly offers obvious benefits, including:
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