Caterpillar Hybrid Electric Thruster System Saves Fuel, Lowers Emissions

aterpillar Marine is introducing a new hybrid electric thruster system for ocean going ships. In the maritime world, cargo vessels have more than just one or two propellers to move them through the water. Many are equipped with digital placement (DP) systems that keep them located precisely in a certain spot in the ocean or in the same position relative to other ships.
Caterpillar hybrid electric thruster system
DP systems use auxiliary thrusters for such low speed operations. The thrusters allow ships to shut down their main engines when not under weigh. That saves the owners money and reduces carbon emissions. Thrusters are also used in port to accurately position ships during docking and undocking maneuvers without assistance from traditional tug boats.
Until now, most of those thruster systems used diesel engines to turn their propellers. Caterpillar Marine says its new hybrid electric propulsion system outperforms diesel mechanical systems in all partial load conditions. For vessels that operate in standby or DP mode much of the time, the annual fuel savings can be as high as 35%.
“The efficiency gains are remarkable,” says Jonas Granath, manager of electrical design at the Caterpillar Marine Solution Center. “Of course, they differ from ship to ship depending on the ship service and [off shore vessels] come in a wide range of types and sizes. Typically, though, OSVs with DP capability spend a considerable amount of time in standby or in various levels of DP.
“With this new system, they will be able to use the diesel electric mode and run off the smaller gensets with the propellers operating economically at a very low rpm. It is in exactly these conditions where our new Marine Hybrid Thruster system offers the greatest benefits.”
The first of the new hybrid electric thruster systems is on its way to an undisclosed shipyard in Singapore. The company says the system is ideal for new vessels but can also be retrofitted to existing ships.
We here at Gas2 usually devote our attention the cars and trucks, but ocean going ships suck up a lot of diesel fuel. Typically, they operate on what is called “bunker oil,” the heaviest, thickest, dirtiest diesel there is.
The 15 largest ocean vessels produce as much carbon dioxide each year as all 760 million vehicles in the world, according to Gizmag. Anything that can be done to lower those emissions is a big step forward.
Source: Marine Log  Photo credit: Caterpillar Marine via

Growing Marine Hybrid Propulsion Market - Global Marine Propulsion Engine Market Growth at 4.2% by 2020

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Marine Propulsion Engine Market 2016-2020" report to their offering.

The report forecasts the global marine propulsion engine market to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% during the period 2016-2020.

The first kind of mechanical marine propulsion engines was the steam engines that came into inception during the 19th century. With time, steam engines have been increasingly replaced by two-stroke and four-stroke diesel engines and gas turbine engines from the 20th century onward. The use of LNG (liquefied natural gas) as a fuel in the marine propulsion engine is gaining popularity because of the low-emission advantages it offers over diesel.

An important trend influencing growth is the growing use of marine hybrid propulsion systems. The rising use of hybrid marine propulsion engines can be attributed to the high pollution caused by diesel propulsion engines. Many major ports worldwide and maritime authorities are establishing standards for vessels that operate in designated areas, compelling shipping operators to comply with the emission guidelines in those areas.

According to the report, one factor driving market growth is the surge in commercial shipping. The growth in global commercial shipping is a direct effect of globalization. Since economies worldwide are all interlinked, world trade volume is also affected by the health of the global economy. Therefore, economic development and growth have created enormous opportunities for the marine industry, especially the global demand for and supply of commodities and manufactured goods
Further, the report states that the collapse of the Greek shipbuilding industry will have a significant impact on market growth.

Key vendors:
  • Caterpillar
  • Cummins
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries
  • MAN Diesel & Turbo
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Wärtsilä
Key Topics Covered:
PART 01: Executive summary
PART 02: Scope of the report
PART 03: Market research methodology
PART 04: Introduction
PART 05: Market landscape
PART 06: Market segmentation by product
PART 07: Geographical segmentation
PART 08: Key leading countries
PART 09: Market drivers
PART 10: Impact of drivers
PART 11: Market challenges
PART 12: Impact of drivers and challenges
PART 13: Market trends
PART 14: Vendor landscape
PART 15: Key vendor analysis

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