Customer Application

Zero Emissions, Doubly Safeguarded

Supported by the Arctic University of Norway in Narvik (UiT) and funded by the Norwegian government, the shipbuilders at Grovfjord Mekaniske Verksted (GMV) have developed an energy management system (EMS) for a zero-emission ship with an all-electric drive. This visionary project was realized with the help of WAGO, which contributed to the central automation.

In November 2017, the Astrid Helene was launched on her first test cruise. The all-electric fish farming catamaran, which requires no emergency diesel generators, is the result of a cooperation between GMV and the Arctic University of Norway. The project was called “GMV Zero”, with zero standing for 0 fossil fuels, 0 emissions and 100 percent environmental protection. Charging the batteries can occur over night and during the day when the ship is located at the fish farming site – for example, during the crew’s lunch or during work that does not require movement of the catamaran, which measures 13.97 x 7.6 meters.

Project GMV Zero:

  • Fewer emissions are good for the environment and human health: The Astrid Helene is one of the first all-electric ships in the world.

Redundancy as a Requirement

One special challenge during the development of the Astrid Helene: The vessel was initially required to provide redundancy for any single failure according to specifications from the DNV GL classification society. The EMS was accordingly designed, even though an exemption was obtained later that reduced the redundancy requirements. During the implementation of the “warm standby,” WAGO contributed with valuable experience and ready-to-work solutions that could also be used in future projects on larger ships, which are also subject to stricter redundancy requirements. “We were working on a ‘warm standby,’ a concept for redundant operating systems. Our project caught the interest of Bjarte Hoff, a professor at UiT, who came aboard as a collaborator,” recalls Tor Erik Næbb, Chief of Industry and Automation at WAGO Midt & Nord Norway “Warm standby was conceived of for multiple uses and is a general solution; however, it is particularly geared to this application,” according to Næbb The control system consists of two controllers from the new PFC200 family and remote I/O module in a redundant Ethernet network. The collaboration resulted in a completely redundant EMS for GMV’s battery-operated ship. “For us, it was extremely exciting to work on an actual project where we could participate in programming the operating systems and user interfaces,” states Professor Hoff with satisfaction.

The interaction between the different management systems from WAGO facilitated our work, and assisted in simplifying the energy management overview.

Anders Breines, Project Manager at GMV

The Astrid Helene …

… has a crane on board that can lift 32 tonnes. The catamaran is equipped for numerous operations required in fish farming with its electric, twelve-tonne anchor winch, two three-tonne capstan winches, and a hydraulic pressure washer. Both fixed pitch propellers, one in each hull, are driven by two permanent magnet motors with outputs of 107 kW each. An electric bow thruster increases maneuverability, so that neither transmissions nor clutches are required. The maximum speed is 10 knots. In order to reach the maximum estimated range of 26 nautical miles, the average speed is set at eight knots. Vacon, a supplier of quality frequency converters, is the source for the power converters used in the drives. The network topology is divided into two separate networks. Communication with the battery packs is arranged in two star-shaped systems. A star topology is also used to communicate with the converters. The power supply system is based on a DC bus that supplies the converters with power.

Electric Back-Up

Warm standby consists of two parallel operating systems, where one is active and covers all EMS tasks. The other takes over when a fault occurs. Thus, no single fault related to the EMS system can lead to a total loss of propulsion. Trond Østrem, Project Manager at UiT, likes the final solutions. He considers the use of warm standby to be a very useful and cost effective way to design these types of energy management systems. Anders Breines, Project Manager at GMV, also has confidence in the EMS. “The interaction between the different management systems from WAGO facilitated our work, and assisted in simplifying the energy management overview. Now, we just need to collect data from the boat so that we can fine tune power distributions in different situations, which will enable us to determine how to use the energy to the best possible effect.”

Text: Tor Erik Naebb | WAGO

Photo: Michael Ulriksen

Electric Revolution on the Water

Due to government incentives, Norway has become a global leader in the introduction of electric vehicles and related infrastructure. More than 130,000 eVehicles are underway in the country between Oslo and the Northern Cape. With five million inhabitants, Norway is, in absolute numbers, the third-largest market for eVehicles in the world, after China and the United States. This development on the streets has also influenced the shipping industry: Norway is pioneering the electrification of ocean travel and supports this development with large government subsidies. Among other innovations: The Fjellstrand Shipyard produced the world’s first all-electric car ferry in 2014, the “Amperer Stavanger”, which now runs north of Bergen. Another five ferries have been commissioned into service, and city water taxis, excursion boats, and service ships for offshore wind farms are plying the waves with their silent electric engines.

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