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Less Fuel, More Propulsion

Inovelis brings propulsion enhancements to offshore market

Posted on May 7, 2013

GE’s Power Conversion business has increased its offshore systems portfolio with Inovelis, a podded thruster based on pump jet principles.

Inovelis incorporates an electrically powered propeller with its motor housed within a steerable pod mounted beneath the hull of an offshore vessel. It combines all the assets of a podded thruster, including maneuverability, responsiveness and fuel economy, GE said. It also features fixed stator vanes and a nozzle that act together to guide the water flow across the impeller blades, which enhances propulsion efficiency.

Pump jet technology, originally used in submarines, is used for high-speed surface vessels, and now GE is applying it to offshore platform support vessels (PSVs). The Inovelis has a high thrust capability as well as improved hydrodynamics, in dynamic positioning (DP) and in transit.

Vessels with a traditional propulsion system have a propeller pushing on the water. A pump jet, however, draws in water and then forcibly ejects it out through a nozzle, making it the marine equivalent of a jet engine. While jet engines are fixed, Inovelis can be pointed in any direction on a horizontal plane.

Fuel savings from Inovelis can be substantial. According to GE, a PSV driven by two 2.5 MW Inovelis pods, operating 30% of the time in transit at full speed can lead to a fuel savings of up to US$250 000 a year.

GE already has received a number of orders all destined for large PSVs. The first is scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of this year, with ship commissioning around the end of the year.