Training ship upgraded to hybrid operation

The training ship MS Gann have now been installed with hybrid shaft generators, which enable the ship to sail with halved emissions of greenhouse gases.

The generators with associated batteries are part of a larger equipment package from Kongsberg Maritime.

Conversion of older vessels to low-emission solutions is an area where Kongsberg Maritime has both expertise and technology. MS Gann previously ran along the Norwegian coast as the Hurtigruten MS Narvik and was converted into a training ship in 2007. The ship has 135 upper secondary school students, who live and learn on board the ship.

Kongsberg Maritime has now completed the upgrade of the vessel, which has thus received a hybrid solution where the ship can sail on traditional engine operation, only on battery or with diesel-electric propulsion.

“We have emphasized bringing in as many opportunities for variation in the set-up of propulsion as possible. So that it gives students a good overall picture of what is possible with today's technology,” explains Per Kristian Vågsæter, Sales Manager for Global Customer Support, Kongsberg Maritime.

This is how the propulsion works

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Fully electric: MS Gann previously had two diesel engines that drove each propeller via a gearbox. These gearboxes have now been replaced with new gearboxes which are each connected to a separate hybrid shaft generator. When power is sent into these generators, they act as engines and drive the vessel's propellers. So, the vessel's batteries alone can drive the engines forward.

Traditional engine: When the vessel's ordinary engines are in operation, however, the generators act as aggregates that can charge the vessel's batteries and provide power to the rest of the ship.

Learn more about the Hybrid Shaft Generators

Diesel-electric: A third solution is to drive the vessel diesel-electric. This means that power from the ship's original auxiliary generators is routed to the two hybrid shaft generators. It also offers options for alternative setups such as being able to drive with one main engine and both propellers.

In addition, the vessel is set up to be able to integrate alternative energy sources as a fourth low-emission solution for propulsion.

Halves the consumption of fuel

The training ship Gann is now optimized to sail at a speed that provides the greatest possible learning benefit for the students. Whether the ship sails eight or 15 knots, the benefit the students have as an apprentice is the same. What matters most is the number of hours the students get to participate with service in the machine room and on the bridge.

“By converting to a battery hybrid with shaft generators, the training ship Gann has been able to operate optimized slow propulsion. Both being able to slow down without causing operational challenges, and the fact that the propellers now have a much better degree of efficiency when running slowly, mean that the training ship Gann will achieve its goal of being able to reduce the fuel consumption for propulsion by 50 per cent,” says Sigbjørn Harboe, who is chief engineer on board on Gann.

Enables shipping to reach climate targets

Kongsberg Maritime is currently involved in a number of projects where older vessels are fitted with equipment that enables hybrid propulsion. On newly built ships, Kongsberg Maritime supplies solutions for diesel-electric propulsion, all-electric propulsion and various forms of low-emission solutions. In combination with Kongsberg Maritime's other technology, vessels can achieve a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases.

The upgrade of the training ship Gann will now give students a unique insight into how a vessel can be operated in the most energy-efficient way possible. This was also part of the aim of the upgrade, explains chief engineer Sigbjørn Harboe.

“Converting to a battery hybrid will not be economically justified based on the few operating hours the ship sails during a year. It was the consideration around training and recruitment to the industry that was decisive for investing in this major redevelopment.”

“The training ship Gann has 135 students each year, most of whom have a goal of a career in the maritime industry. In addition, we are involved in recruitment campaigns from Trøndelag in the middle of Norway to the Swedish border with several thousand visitors each year. Through good help from actors in the maritime industry, Enova and the authorities, the training ship Gann took out a loan to have the conversion carried out. In this way, students and visitors can experience a state-of-the-art integrated automation system and take part in operating a battery hybrid system,” concludes Harboe.