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Modelling Hybrid Power & Propulsion Systems Focussed on Duty Cycles & Commercial Benefits

Designing a cost effective vessel power system is a complex process, especially when it is not based on conventional diesel propulsion and electrical power generation. Knowledge of the operational characteristics of the various system components is essential, as well as their capital and through life costs. In addition, a detailed analysis of the vessel’s duty cycle is required if a commercially viable solution is to be developed.

Overall vessel energy efficiency and energy costs are affected by more than just the main propulsion engine. The unit cost of electrical power on board is another important factor as it is typically ten times more costly than power generated ashore. Tests carried out as part of the HEME project show that intelligent manipulation of generator and main engine loads can reduce the cost of electrical power by more than 25%, and reduce the amount of fuel used for propulsion.

This paper will look at the impact of all of the system components, from the propeller to the batteries, on vessel efficiency and operating costs. The significance of “on engine” generators, controllable pitch propellers and energy storage will be discussed together with the critical importance of battery cycle life, efficiency and active management.


Ken Wittamore - Managing Director, Triskel Marine

Ken is a chartered engineer with a long career in the marine industry.

He was originally trained by the Royal Navy as a specialist marine engineer and in 2003, Ken set up Triskel Marine (also known as TML). TML was established as a vehicle for the development of innovative technologies related to marine data management and telemetry.

For the last seven years the company has focussed on the sensing and management of electrical power, particularly in relation to marine hybrid power and propulsion systems for smaller craft.

With the benefit of a number of EU and UK collaborative R&D projects, TML has amassed a large amount of practical experience and intellectual property in this domain, which is now being licensed to major clients with global outreach.