Relative to the huge MAN B&W ship engines manufactured at the STX Engine Company factory on the southern coast of South Korea, their emergency generators are small in size. But in the event of a crisis on a deep-sea container, bulker or tank ship, they can literally be lifesavers. This is, of course, the reason that the IMO has mandated their installation in the upper decks of all new ships.
On the first of February this year, STX Engines was shipping a Cummins KTA19-D(M)-powered emergency generator set. It was capable of converting the engines 620HP at 1800 RPM via an electric generator to 350 to 400kW of electricity to power the vessels emergency systems.
Emergency generators must be capable of operating independently of any other of a ships systems. To assure this, engines are fitted with radiator cooling and two independent starting systems. The first of these for the KTA19-powered set on the shop floor at STX recently is a 24-volt battery supplied electric starter. In addition, a back-up hydraulic start-system is provided. A hand pump builds pressure in the system so as to effectively utilize human energy to start the engine.
While the hope is that none of these engines will be required in an emergency situation, they are all tested to whatever classification society is providing certification for the vessel. It is also routine shipboard practice for the ships engineers to start and operate these engines for short periods on a routine basis.