HHI Power System Maximzes Ship Efficiency

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

November 20, 2019

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Group is to maximize the ship efficiency for Very Large Container Ships (VLCSs) with its latest technology to simplify the power system.

HHI and Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) announced that Norwegian-German classification society DNV-GL recently awarded an Approval in Principle (AIP) for the South Korean shipbuilder’s multi-grid design of the power system for 15,000-TEU container ships.

The key feature of this latest design is the technology of breaking down the VLCS power system into two separate types of power loads: ‘essential loads’ required to operate the ship and ‘service loads’ needed to keep the intermodal reefers at proper temperatures, among others. Thanks to this simplified power supply process that involves no energy transformation, equipment costs go down while cargo carrying capacities go up.

For conventional container ships, onboard electrical equipment is typically powered at a low voltage level - 440V or less. As container ships have become larger, however, the total amount of electricity required has grown, calling for 6.6kV or higher-voltage power systems onboard. As a result, installation of up to eight large-capacity transformers to convert high voltages into low voltages has become inevitable.

It is against this backdrop that HHI Group comes out with its latest technology for multi-grid power systems to lower the capacity of each system, allowing low-voltage power distribution to replace the existing high-voltage power distribution. No voltage conversion means no large transformers weighing up to 64 tons in aggregate that would otherwise be loaded onto the ship, while also allowing for an extra loader capacity of 60 FEU thanks to better space utilization.

The financial boon offered by the elimination of voltage conversion is about KRW 320 million (approx. USD 320K) saved from onboard power system equipment per vessel. Further, the flexibility in the amount of power supplied in alignment with the quantity of the containerized cargo drives up energy efficiency of the ship, removing the unnecessary energy consumption in the conventional power systems.  

"With this technology, we have applied for 12 patents at home and have also filed for an overseas patent in the EU, Canada, China and Japan," said an official of HHI Group. “We will continuously work on the research and development towards better ship efficiency for other types of vessels as well, aiming for enhanced customer satisfaction.”

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