GE Powering Canadian Navy’s First Electric Ice Patrol Vessel
By Jack Burke12 August 2020
The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has taken delivery of HMCS Harry DeWolf, its first full-electric power and propulsion ice class patrol vessel with combat package.
GE’s Power Conversion business was the designer and provider of the high-voltage electric power system (HV) and electric propulsion drive trains, with specialist capability for operations in multi-year ice, for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) Harry DeWolf class of six vessels.
GE’s Integrated Full Electrical Power and Propulsion System (IFEP) for the AOPS vessels includes induction propulsion motors, variable frequency drive converters for propulsion and bow thrusters, engine generators, medium voltage switchboards, distribution and propulsion transformers, bow thruster motor, commissioning, and sea trials support.
“GE Power Conversion’s dedicated AOPS team developed a close working relationship with the customer, Irving Shipbuilding Inc., maintaining an open line of communication that was instrumental in meeting this key milestone for the Royal Canadian Navy”, said Ron Krivan, AOPS Program Manager for GE Power Conversion. “Our team will carry the same dynamics with Irving Shipbuilding moving forward in support of construction of AOPS 7 and 8 for the Canadian Coast Guard.”
GE said its electric propulsion solution delivers energy efficiency, reduced cost-of-ownership and system redundancy for enhanced vessel operations in Canada’s Arctic waters.
For the full-electric propulsion system, GE said it leveraged its proven technologies, building on recent experience in providing power and propulsion solutions for naval ice class vessels for South Africa and Chile, as well as other commercial vessels.
GE’s drive train for each of the two propulsion shafts includes GE’s MV7000 variable frequency drive which is used in many vessel types around the world as well as in numerous industrial applications. This large user base ensures ready supply of spares and service support. Each shaft is directly powered by a slow speed induction motor with optimized design for ice operations, including an ability to deliver high intermittent over-torque at zero and low RPM should the propellers encounter heavy ice loads. This feature makes the AOPS propulsion solution highly suitable for a variety of other ice class vessels that could operate in the Arctic and Antarctic.
With 9 MW of installed nominal power propulsion power, GE’s Integrated Full Electric Propulsion (IFEP) system comprises all shipboard electrical power generation and propulsion. Offering high over-torque, the electric propulsion system eliminates the need for propulsion reduction gears, an important factor for ships operating in heavy, multi-year ice conditions.