Switching to a permanent power solution for superyachts
Finland’s Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch has developed a permanent magnet propulsion system for superyachts that can push the frontiers of clean energy performance and open the door to Arctic exploration in comfort and with confidence.
The Poseidon Power range cuts emissions and includes the three-pronged trident of greater efficiency, increased reliability and superior flexibility over conventional propulsion systems. It offers superyacht builders the option to use diesel electric, hybrid or fully electric power propulsion, enabling low to zero emissions in an age when black smoke from exhausts is an embarrassment. Poseidon Power also offers the opportunity for superyacht builders to install a near silent propulsion system, with low vibrations, low operating costs through fuel and maintenance savings, and all delivered in a bespoke compact form to fit any design. These attributes can improve the luxury experience for passengers, save superyacht designers premium square metres that can be used for extra living space or storage and also enable access to environmentally sensitive Arctic waters.
”Superyacht owners do appreciate the silence”, says Ville Parpala, Director Product Marketing, Marine Solutions, at The Switch. ”You can imagine if you have a conventional shaft line in a superyacht, connected to the diesel engine directly, there will be a large amount of vibration coming out of the shaft line, as it goes at least a third of the length of the superyacht itself. Basically, every bearing you have there is spreading noise around the hull. ‘So with our concept, if you were to put the permanent magnet propulsion machine to the aft of the vessel, you have a much shorter shaft and fewer bearings. And with our solution, you also get rid of the switch-gear, freeing up space and cutting weight.”
The Switch has already installed a propulsion system built to classification society DNV GL’s Class F standard, which is crucial for accessing some areas of the Arctic where noise levels are restricted to protect marine life. The full Poseidon Power offering also includes a DC-Hub that can provide a ring network to power the whole superyacht. This offers builders flexibility for power generation, energy storage and charging and great savings in size and weight. The system allows for adjustable speed controls, and permanent magnet machines offer optimal fuel cost savings, especially at lower speeds when compared with conventional propulsion machines.
The Switch can deliver this complete range as a bespoke modular ‘Lego’ system with the size of the machinery fully adaptable to fit any vessel. ”Space is always limited in superyachts”, says Mr Parpala. ”We can make machines that can fit in narrow spaces, so designers don’t need to reform the entire vessel. We can play with the width and length of the propulsion machinery. If you can save 40 tonnes by choosing smart, why would you not do that?” The whole system is also future-proof as the fully flexible design configurations mean modular units can be swapped in to continually improve efficiencies and to meet potential future stricter regulations. The diesel-electric power option is always there but the power drives are basically frequency converters so can get energy from batteries or any green energy source, such as solar, wind or hydrogen. The hybrid system can run emissions free.
The superyacht market is eyeing remote regions of the planet for luxury cruising more and more and being able to go emissions free is crucial. These hostile environments also require a new approach, and the electric drive nature of Poseidon Power enables unprecedented ice-breaking capabilities for superyachts. The system can deliver instant power, full torque with zero speed. ”If a superyacht is running silent and the propeller gets clogged with ice, you need to have an enormous amount of power to break free”, says Mr Parpala. ”You will risk breaking the clutch with a conventional propulsion system but with our electric machine, you get full torque to chew any ice from the immediate starting point. This is where electric machines are unbeatable.”
The Switch can deliver a power range from 1MW up to a mighty 15MW, and all the equipment can be fully verified at the company’s new state-of-the-art testing facility at its factory based in Lappeenranta, Finland, adding guaranteed reassurance and saving yard time. Combine the fuel savings with the cuts to weight, increased reliability, lower maintenance costs and the range of green energy options available and this adds up to a payback throughout the lifespan of any vessel. The company has delivered more than 1,300 Poseidon Power Drives purely for marine use and has sold more than 80 Poseidon Power permanent magnet shaft generators. Smart engineering offering significant cuts to emissions, near silent vibration-free running and fully future-flexible designs means The Switch truly is at the sharp end of superyacht technology when wielding its Poseidon Power.