GE Marine announced that the United States Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) recently awarded GE a contract for ONR’s DDG 51 Fuel Efficient and Power Dense Demonstrator competition.
“This project will develop and demonstrate the technology necessary to enable substantial annual fuel savings by cross-connecting the currently independent main propulsion system and the ship service electrical system, creating a hybrid mechanical–electric drive power plant,” said GE Marine’s General Manager, Brien Bolsinger, Evendale, Ohio. “The system modifications proposed by GE have the potential to increase ship service electric power capacity, improve power quality and add redundancy,” Bolsinger added.
Currently the DDG 51 main propulsion and ship service configuration consists of four GE LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbines and three ship service turbine-generators, with four engines on line during the majority of underway operations. GE will demonstrate that the modified system will save fuel by meeting all the ship power requirements at low and moderate speeds with a reduced quantity of gas turbines operating. GE expects a better match between the power available and the load, allowing the gas turbines to operate more efficiently.
GE’s program calls for system integration, component and control technology development and a partial system demonstration. GE believes this technology combines the best features of both electric and mechanical drive systems and has broad application to other ship classes.
GE will conduct a laboratory demonstration of the key electrical system features to investigate and validate the bi-directional drive technology and control logics for the electrical and propulsion subsystems. GE will use an existing test facility at its Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York, which is equipped for megawatt-level testing.