The PROPit concept
Proven technology - in a new application
Fuel consumption is the main variable cost in commercial shipping. It is also a source of major emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Technologies for reducing the burning of fossil fuels are thus in high demand. PROPit provides a powerful response to this challenge by combining proven technologies in a new application. The basis for this innovation is to harness the inherent wind energy on the world’s oceans and to transform it into the unique dual utilization, for simultaneous propulsion and power generation.
Foldable wind turbines onboard commercial ships to reduce fuel consumption
The theory - in brief
Wind forces result in a rotation of the blades on a wind turbine, which forms a “tipping force”. On land, in conventional wind mills this force is absorbed by the tower and the concrete foundation, holding it in place and therefore actually lost. For nautical applications however, this same energy can instead be utilized with great advantage as additional propulsion (thrust) for the vessel
The rotation of the wind turbine produces electrical power through a conventional generator to replace electricity otherwise generated by the auxiliary diesel engines onboard, thus reducing the need for fuel oil combustion. To the extent where there is surplus power this can be transmitted to an electrical engine connected to a shaft generator. This is considered proven technology so the challenges are rather to be found in the efficiency and integration of the electrical systems onboard..
Sailing power (Thrust)
The turbine blades will form a virtual rotation plane which generates additional sailing power to the ship. Just as for any wind mill producing electricity, this is true as long as there is a breaking force applied to the turbine, which in fact enables both power generation and thrust. The PROPit innovation includes turbine control to obtain optimized wind angles based on thorough calculations of a vessel’s motions in water, under different wind and sea states. The system allows for a dynamic allocation of the harnessed wind energy to respectively electricity and thrust in order to reduce fuel consumption on a continuous basis. The software can integrate data from other onboard systems, like route planning and meteorological forecasts such that optimized wind conditions can be taken into account.
The designed turbines and the masts are foldable in an automated bridge controlled operation. Easy handling is a prerequisite for safe operation in extreme conditions and during port calls. The wing pitch is adjustable and software controlled, to optimize efficiency and to tackle wind shifts. Particular consideration has been given to accelerations and mast construction to benefit from the mechanical forces without jeopardizing ship stability.
PROPit offers an innovative, paradigm shifting solution to fuel econonomy, providing both dramatic reductions in fuel consumption and a reduction of emissions with a solution that provides both improved thrust and electricity generation at the same time.
PROPit has developed proven technology (wind turbines) for mobile, marine applications, providing substantial fuel savings by letting on-board wind turbines create thrust and electricity.
PROPit has evolved the turbine design to produce not only electricity but also thrust, which assists in driving the ship forward.
The wind turbines are ship-mounted and automated, reducing most handling by the crew.
PROPits solutions is designed to meet every ship safety and construction requirement in the industry.
PROPit’s project is developed with the support and collaboration of many prominent shipping experts including:
Chalmers University of technology.
Calculations project fuel savings of up to 15-30 % for ocean going tankers or bulk carriers.