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Workboat Wrap Up

Posted on December 16, 2009

Diesel engines generated a lot of press during the show this year with awards presented on behalf of International Workboat to shipyards and naval architects with developments in low emissions and fuel efficient workboat designs.

First place in the Environmental Initiative Awards was Alcatraz Cruises LLC whose vessel, Hornblower Hybrid which uses a combination of energy from solar, wind, grid electric and Tier 2 diesel generators. The Carolyn Dorothy, built by Foss Maritime Company, won second place. It is also a hybrid vessel using diesel generators to power batteries driving electric motors for propulsion. The third place winner was not a vessel at all, but rather an environmentally friendly blast and paint facility.

There appears to be a growing trend for workboats to use diesel engines connected to generators as the main source of propulsion and ship power. These engines are Tier 2 design making them inherently more efficient, producing lower emissions. The diesel generators often charge batteries to provide power to operate electric propulsion motors as well as provide ship power. With batteries providing propulsion power, the diesel engines are often downsized, saving fuel and operating with less pollution. Grid electricity can also be used to recharge batteries when in port; solar and wind energy can also be used to power the batteries.

Diesel electric drive is becoming more popular for workboat propulsion, eliminating shafts, shaft alleys and other components. For larger workboats, such as supply boats, these systems use great amounts of generator power. Only recently has technology evolved to permit smaller workboats including passenger vessels to couple smaller diesel gensets with batteries for greater fuel efficiency along with lower emissions. The 2010 show will be held December 1-3, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

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