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State of the art in electric propulsion –

viewpoint on redundancy

Sami Kanerva Jan-Fredrik Hansen
Marine & Turbocharging Marine Systems
Helsinki, Finland Billingstad, Norway

Abstract— Available solutions for redundancy in electric hand, too simple configuration would increase the risk of total
propulsion are outlined, emphasizing their benefits and loss of propulsion.
drawbacks. Two different state-of-the art solutions of redundant
electric propulsion are presented. The first example is a cruise Another feature to be aware of in modern design of marine
ship with two azimuthal thrusters, both of which are equipped power systems is the tendency to increase the number of
with 18 to 21 MW dual-stator synchronous motors and driven crossovers, changeovers etc. This means that a lot of
by two voltage source inverters (VSI) in a redundant dependencies are introduced in the system which in some
configuration. The phase shift between the stator windings in cases may be hidden, and hence reduce the total availability,
each motor is 30 degrees, and the motors can also operate with see Fig. 1.
only one stator system in case that another system is lost. The
second example is LNG carriers, where one propeller is driven This article will focus on transportation vessels where
through a gearbox by two 12 to 15 MW dual-stator synchronous redundancy in the electric propulsion design ensures a safe
motors. The motors are supplied by VSI-type frequency and reliable operation for the intended purpose, however
converters with double inverter units and supply units, allowing keeping the complexity of the system at a minimum.
each motor to operate in half power mode in case of a fault in Examples on typical configurations are presented,
any of these modules. The both configurations provide 75% concentrating on two large application areas, namely cruise
redundancy in case of the most common single faults without ships and LNG carriers.
notably increasing the cost and complexity of the system.

From the ship operator’s point of view, redundancy is part
of the performance. Any sudden faults at open sea should
never prohibit further operation, since it would set the crew
and passengers in danger and result in costly service actions.
Certain level of redundancy is nowadays required by
authorities and classification societies, but also shipowners are
increasingly asking for redundant solutions in order to
increase reliability and availability. The redundancy
requirements vary from ship type to ship type, from full 100%
redundancy, meaning full normal operation in case of any
single failure (typically for Dynamic Positioning operated
vessels and standby vessels) to 50% redundancy where
operation at a reduced power level is acceptable in case of
single failures (typically for transportation vessels).
The level of redundancy is usually a trade-off between
availability and simplicity. High availability requires higher Figure 1. Illustration of the system complexity.
redundancy level, that is, more installed components, higher
complexity and higher cost. Also the failure rate would
probably increase with more installed equipment. On the other

978-1-4244-3439-8/09/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE 499

experience on previous references. the most B. For partially redundant systems. Azimuthal voltage frequency converters based on three-level VSI thrusters are popular in the high-end cruisers. The first VSI-drives did not have this feature. Dual-stator motors supplied by parallel benefits. Fault tolerance competitive solution is generally an induction or permanent magnet motor. the classic converter types cruise ships without exceptions. respectively. For commercial shipbuilding still prefers traditional synchronous example. which both have their electric drives. regardless of the fault. since VSI-based drives can operate at high A. because of over-dimensioning. Further redundancy is requires 25% over-dimensioning. Drive technology is generally not feasible to install spare capacity onboard and. reliability and redundancy against single faults. REDUNDANCY IN ELECTRIC PROPULSION B. the 500 . and has advantageous. and as the usage of Natural Gas as fuel on these ships are almost 100% the emissions are very Although the full-scale redundancy may beneficial in low compared to traditional Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) fueled certain applications. a spare system doubles the initial cost and Most of the LNG Carriers with electric propulsion are footprint requirements of the system. At present state. III. and flexibility in the engine room design. because it is by far the most were typically configured for dual-stator motors with inherent economical approach to combine the requirements of high redundancy. a typical propulsion drive above 10 MW on the other hand. In terms of initial cost and footprint. and is also largely available for medium voltage. This approach is introduced for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Carriers. At the highest level of fault undergone a transition from cycloconverter or load. when the systems have been designed for more or less become a standard for these vessels. ice going capabilities or which have the unexpected faults. partial redundancy is an economically viable alternative. The level of redundancy Several new solutions have been lately presented on in such systems is expressed as the percentage of available superconducting and permanent magnet technology. LNG carriers A. power ratings. low noise and the rated current accordingly up to 4…5 kA. IGBT is a well-known component in low voltage frequency converters are commonly utilized at the highest applications. the redundant system possibility to utilize gas as fuel. implemented in some key equipment as described in coming sections and examples. since they topology. As the redundancy is a measure of available capacity after a fault. may be operating idle in parallel with the main system. Especially in propulsion. passenger capacity. but hotel load and variation in the load profile. safety and High-power propulsion drives commonly utilize medium availability have gained notable importance. voltage insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) or integrated mostly because of redundancy and feasible power limits of gate commutated thyristors (IGCT). The main optimal performance at full load and process shutdown is motivation for the change was the increased efficiency and allowed in case of faults. power factor. Level of redundancy Electric propulsion in oil & gas transportation vessels is Redundancy of a generic system can be understood as mostly applied for vessels with special requirements for having a full-scale spare system available in case of operation profile. two or four parallel systems have 50% or 75% motors because of the efficiency. If the process utilizes only one main system. for ships. electric motors. operation will continue without interruptions commutated inverter (LCI) to voltage-source inverter (VSI). full power is not necessarily needed from comprises a synchronous motor fed by a frequency converter. The power and vibration levels. how the systems handle The frequency converters for propulsion drives have the faults at the time they occur. As the cruising recently also redundant configurations have been developed business has boomed and vessels have increased in size and [1]. At lower powers. It is to develop new solutions. tolerance. Cruise ships power factor and low harmonic distortion regardless of the Electric propulsion is nowadays applied on practically all load conditions. The level of total spare utilizing the single propeller configuration as the conventional capacity can be reduced by multiple parallel systems. Electric Propulsion is an attractive also possible that the spare system is normally not running at solution in this respect. The electric part is split into two separate systems instance four parallel systems with one redundant system only giving a 50% redundancy on this part. In addition. it C. the propulsion train at all conditions. ELECTRIC PROPULSION IN TRANSPORTATION VESSELS This has resulted in significant dimensioning benefits for the power plants. This approach is The increasing focus on environmental conditions and beneficial. because the maximum current ratings of IGCT is an improved version from widely used gate turn-off frequency converters are typically much lower than those of thyristor (GTO) with low switching losses and high reliability. II. such solutions provide redundancy and reduce harmonics in the electric system. it is often not an economical solution ships. On the other hand. In normal operation. or the systems may share the load equally. and in 2003 this system was all and only taken into service when needed. The rated voltage is typically between 3 and 6 kV provide improved efficiency and maneuverability. the requirements for comfort. hence reduced fuel costs. when the reserve power is needed without safety gives all the players in the marine market more pressure interruptions and the number of parallel systems is high. semiconductors in the inverter units are normally either high- Most of the cruise ships are configured for two propellers. although power versus the total rated power in case of a single fault. it also needs to be considered.

but the system cost is high. 4) Drive components At the lowest level. DC which are used for gaining redundancy in the propulsion links or even whole inverter units. tolerance. Two motors coupled through a gearbox. excitation units. but also affect on the system on the number of redundant components and is usually cost and complexity. After a single fault in any other part of the system. and there configuration. The actual systems often combine specifically agreed on case-by-case basis. However. The level of redundancy systems. Two parallel converters supplying a single-winding motor. cruise vessels. shaft encoders. low noise and vibration. diesel-electric propulsion system can rated power is available regardless of any fault in the system. 3 presents a configuration. high hotel load. several solutions and are specifically engineered to meet the requirements and optimize the balance between system cost IV. Figure 5. 6 presents a redundant configuration. In two-propeller configuration. is extremely vulnerable in fault situations. ~ ~ M ~ ~ Figure 4. electric motor or the propulsion unit Figure 2. are two separate drive trains with propellers. Each of the drive when the motors are smaller in size and can be mounted side trains comprises two parallel frequency converters with drive by side. 5. itself. The cost of redundancy can be reduced by coupling two Figure 7 presents a modern propulsion system for large motors into a single shaft. Due to the power ratings of frequency converters. 2. Another switchboards is powered by four diesel generators. The system layout features high level of redundancy in all parts of the propulsion system. motors. data links. Fig. The solutions not only provide different levels of and fault tolerance in the whole systems is strongly dependent redundancy and fault tolerance. shown in Fig. electric plant and machinery layout and enables high level of 2) Propulsion motor redundancy in all parts of the propulsion system.faulty system will be disconnected and the application will 3) Frequency converter automatically continue at lower capacity. utilizes a reduction gearbox. as speed profile. Figure 3. 501 . A. supplying shaft with only one motor in case of a fault in the other drive Azipod® propulsion units with dual-stator synchronous system. because the converters are hard coupled to the same before the remaining systems can be started again. EXAMPLE 1: CRUISE SHIP and productivity. Two motors on single shaft. only the most critical components of C. strict requirements on safety and availability. the automatic protection will shut down configuration has relatively low level of redundancy and fault the application and possibly disconnect the faulty system. Such system allows for high flexibility in the fault tolerance. the whole process may be which the two converters supply a dual-stator motor. Figure 6. usually provide the most economical solution to fit these Such configurations provide high level of redundancy and characteristics. automated. In stator winding. Typically. Fig. Redundant drive configurations the drives are redundant. at least 50% of the rated power/torque is available after a fault in the main switchboard. at least 75% of the rated power/torque is retained. Simple propulsion system with one drive train. Overview of the propulsion system 1) Drive train Typical characteristics of the cruise ships are alternating A simple propulsion system with only one drive train. The electric plant with 11 kV main where the motors are mounted directly to the shaft. half of the increasing vessel size. Especially with When there are two propulsion trains in parallel. Two parallel converters supplying a double-winding motor. The both configurations are capable of running the transformers. auxiliary devices and excitation units. 4. The principle is presented in Fig. and illustrated in Fig. control boards. in improved configurations. Such components typically include The following chapters describe the basic configurations. high- A slightly lower level of fault tolerance can be identified in power drives typically utilize two or more converters in cases. where an interruption is allowed for a short period after parallel. this the fault.

Due to the Most of these ships have been ordered with a configuration winding layout. the stator systems reside in separate slots of single fixed pitch propeller powered by two electric motors providing isolation and low mutual coupling between the via a twin input/single output reduction gearbox. and flexibility in the design and layout of power for the required service speed of 19. also the other known benefits of electric propulsion are present: 502 . However. which was the main stops. and also the motor losses [2]. Overview of the propulsion system M M Traditionally the LNG Carriers have been propelled by steam-turbine propulsion system consisting of single fixed Figure 7. the efficiency of the propulsion plant is ships. where the propulsion boiling.5knots. When the converter is switched back into operation. Frequency converters shaft-line. The LNG Carriers are carrying liquid gas at a temperature of -163oC in insulated cargo tanks. Typical propulsion required reliability and maintenance level for this type of power for a single Azipod® is around 20 MW in large cruise vessels. The B. pitch propeller. The basic concept is similar to the motors of Dual-Fuel four stroke combustion engines in the early used with cycloconverter. much lower (approx. but the motor is specifically 2000. With the introduction degree phase shift. EXAMPLE 2: LNG CARRIER A. In addition. In case of any fault in one of the converters. certain harmonic components are Fig. few of the vessels have been ordered as twin shaft-line propellers. The propulsion motor is a dual-stator synchronous The steam-turbine propulsion system provided the machine with brushless excitation system.6kV main systems and other auxiliary devices. excitation units. cooling electrical plant. although the electrical system and Each motor is supplied by two independent frequency equipment is identical in both cases. high efficiency. the system will continue with the full available power without interruptions in the propulsion. Additional HFO has low vibration and noise levels. Since 2003. which consist of two 6. Combined with electrical propulsion plant the Dual- stator insulation must withstand higher voltage stress and the Fuel Electric Propulsion (DFEP) has become more or less common mode voltages on the shaft must be mitigated. and there are two synchronous propulsion motors. Because of electrical isolation. This means that a certain amount of the boil-of gas is motor and propeller are located outside the hull and can be taken from the cargo tanks and used for powering the ship steered freely in any direction. the opened. because the motor can also operate with one stator winding. The rectifier units are typically four propulsion transformers. however still with a reduction gearbox at each C. the system will automatically continue with one converter as the faulty converter is switched off. supply transformers. where the master receives a speed reference from the upper control and creates the torque reference for the follower. This configuration provides redundancy in the cancelled in the air gap because of the phase shift between the electrical part. V. intermediate circuits. Propulsion system of a cruise vessel with two propellers. This results in substantial reduction in the shaft-line configuration as for the traditional steam ships. service actions can be performed on one converter while the other is still operating. converters in redundant configuration. but using basically the same mechanical single stator systems. two frequency converters and passive type because of the efficiency. [3].6kV cargo switchboards. Azipod® with synchronous motor temperature is kept cold by the insulation level and natural Azipod® is an azimuthal thruster. windings provides redundancy and fault tolerance. The internal control systems independently. They also run their switchboards and two 6. motivating factor for changing the system. Typically four or five Dual Fuel engines are powering the control boards. G G G G The frequency converters operate normally in master- follower mode. gear box. steam turbine and a dual boiler system. This is due to arrangements and cost considerations by the building yards. being only connected propeller is powered via the electric drive system comprising through the outer control. Both converters have their own rectifier and inverter units. 30%) compared to combustion engine The synchronous motor has two stator windings with 30 propulsion systems (approx 45 to 50%). noise. Benefits of this solution are propulsion system via the steam plant. the plant. excellent been required as supplement to provide enough propulsion steering capability. accordingly separate braking resistors for the emergency crash Besides the efficiency gain. as shown in systems. A torque ripple. about 50 LNG carriers have been The phase-shifted configuration with two separate stator delivered or ordered with electric propulsion. 8. new ways for more efficient propulsion system were designed for VSI supply. standard for newbuilding of LNG Carriers of the size less than 200 000 cbm. Due to the pulsed voltage supply.

each converter consists of double Figure 8. Hence. as 75% of the total power/torque is available for certain faults without increasing the complexity of the propulsion motor fabrication and system design. and the most common single faults only cause from the electrical propulsion system. each converter consists of several input and output modules in order to match the required propulsion power. such as tandem motors etc. However. Hence. which are allows the construction yards to use gear box with single stage supplied by frequency converters with several input and design. The motors have two stator windings. If the failure is on the output side. The double winding does not provide any special design compared to single winding. gearbox solution in combination with steam turbines. only taking 6 phases out to the terminal box instead of 3. • Single failure in one inverter module • Increased maneuverability and crash stop In all these cases. basically because output modules. it is natural to have two synchronous motors. the use of a reduction gear box (twin input/single output) was VI. Propulsion system of an LNG carrier. and the operation can continue with half motor The LNG shipping industry is very familiar with using torque. distribution and is out of operation. both motor windings. the motor can be operated with a single winding in case of faults in the power supply or in the other winding. The motor has two stator windings. which in turn are supplied by two propulsion motors rated about 12 to 15MW each. from the engines to the propulsion requirement for LNG Carriers is in the range of 25 propellers. Hence for any available propulsion capacity against the most severe faults in single failure. automatically 2 x 50% total electric redundancy. for following cases: example when sailing at reduced speed. rectifier modules and double inverter modules. Emphasis of the presentation configurations. which is a The system provides minimum 50% redundancy in terms of minimum requirement for this type of vessels. the converter will trip and restart in half performance. CONCLUSION a natural choice. of the power level that requires double inverter units in the frequency converter. 25% loss of the available capacity without even shutting down the system in between. half power will characteristics of variable speed electric drive be available for the converter and operation can continue with systems. were presented for cruise ships and LNG carriers. the fault will be isolated from the motor by opening the related B. For the twin was on commercially successful solutions applied on propeller arrangements the use of gearbox was not the first passenger and transportation vessels. This gives some possibility to implement a certain level of redundancy without increasing the complexity and cost. This provides additional redundancy on the motor side. For the failures on the input side. The motor speed is around 675 rpm. when electric propulsion was chosen for the single propeller vessels. This is ensured by the excellent torque power mode. After reviewing the basic choice in the early stage but considering cost and arrangement redundant configurations. examples of the propulsion systems benefits this solution was also applied for this system. In this power range. Frequency converters In principle there is one frequency converter per propulsion motor. which provides the highest efficiency and lowest The electric propulsion system of a single propeller LNG weight to power ratio at this power level among the available carrier uses a gearbox for two medium-speed synchronous designs today. propulsion plant. The azimuthal thrusters are powered by dual-stator to 30MW. • One propulsion transformer or related circuit breaker • Redundancy in the electrical power. Also the initial cost and arrangement State of the art in electric propulsion was presented from solutions were better than compared to other possible the viewpoint of redundancy. The propulsion motors are of standard synchronous design. The applied redundancy is implemented in a way that it is possible to operate the converter system in half power mode for the • High efficiency also in the lower power range. The drive system from the power plant to the 503 . This means that the motor and drive configuration is A typical propulsion system of a large cruise ship provides practically the same for the both configurations. This gives independent frequency converters in redundant configuration. which motor drives. C. The redundancy in all components. For these ships. at least 50% propeller torque would be available the system. Gearbox and synchronous motors output isolator. A minimum of two split on the electrical side gives a reliability and availability at • Failure in one rectifier module least on the same level as the traditional steam turbine.

gearbox provides 50% to 75% redundancy against faults. C. and Multiphase Machines. Arshad W. “On Performance Figures of meet the specific requirements in an economical manner. REFERENCES although shutdown of one converter may be required for a [1] H.. Denmark.. Simulations and Verifications. Kanerva S. Arshad W..” EPE 2007 – 12th European Conference Both of the presented solutions provide high level of on Power Electronics and Applications. Vilamoura.. Vilamoura. 6–9 September without notably increasing the system complexity.. [3] Kanerva S.” ICEM’08. Toivanen O..M. Sario. Burzanowska. availability and safety. Portugal. Portugal. 2008. 6–9 September 2008.” ICEM’08. The solutions have been tailored to [2] Khan K. Torque Control (DTC) and Dual-Star Synchronous Machine. Stulz. 2–5 redundancy and reliability for applications that require high September 2007. P. Sario P.S. “Experimental Study on Dual-Stator Synchronous Motor with Redundant Voltage Source Inverter (VSI) Drive.. Aalborg.M. “Redundant Drive with Direct short period of time. 504 .