Electric pilot boat is environmentally friendly and safe

April 28, 2014
One of the world's most advanced pilot boats contains a hybrid drive from Siemens. Called the Explorer, the vessel is a SWASH (Small Waterplane Area Single Hull) vessel with a torpedo-shaped float located centrally underneath the hull. The boat's propulsion system is also located in this tube. The vessel remains stable in the water even in rough seas and is relatively light, thus reducing fuel consumption. The hull contains a flexible and compact EcoProp Hybrid system, which ensures efficient and environmentally compatible operation in both the diesel and the electric mode. The hybrid drive system is economical in all operational profiles. The diesel engine is used to propel the boat. Surplus energy can be used by a generator to supply the vessel with electricity. The boat is currently being tested on the Elbe River. Credit: Abeking & Rasmussen AG

One of the world's most advanced pilot boats contains a hybrid drive from Siemens. Called the Explorer, the vessel is a SWASH (Small Waterplane Area Single Hull) vessel with a torpedo-shaped float located centrally underneath the hull. The boat's propulsion system is also located in this tube. The vessel remains stable in the water even in rough seas and is relatively light, thus reducing fuel consumption. The hull contains a flexible and compact EcoProp Hybrid system, which ensures efficient and environmentally compatible operation in both the diesel and the electric mode. The hybrid drive system is economical in all operational profiles. The diesel engine is used to propel the boat. Surplus energy can be used by a generator to supply the vessel with electricity. The boat is currently being tested on the Elbe River.

The Explorer is a further development of SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) craft, which have two torpedo-shaped floats underneath the water. These kinds of vessels are less susceptible to wind and waves than other designs so that pilots can safely go from the boat to the ship they have to direct even in rough seas. In the Explorer, the two lateral floats are replaced by a single tube in the middle. The boat has two outriggers at the sides to keep it stable. The new design makes the vessel lighter and more agile. Good maneuverability is important because the pilot boat and the ship to be directed have to maintain their relative positions when the pilot is transferring between the two. The speeds can be fairly high, and the large container ships on the Elbe River travel at eight or more knots, for example.

The Explorer's EcoProp Hybrid propulsion system is based on the ELFA drive system that was originally developed for buses. At the heart of the system is an electrical machine that can serve either as a motor or a generator. When the boat is being propelled by the diesel engine, the latter also supplies energy to the generator. If electric operation is selected, the propeller is instead driven by the electric motor. In this mode, the boat can attain one third of its top speed of 17 knots (approximately 31 kilometers per hour).

The 's ability to travel a longer distance solely on electricity is important for a number of reasons, including the fact that the centrally located float only contains a single diesel engine. However, some applications require a second to be on board for safety reasons. In the Explorer, this role is performed by the electric motor.

Explore further: Hybrid Bus in the City: A Prototype with a Future

Related Stories

Hybrid Bus in the City: A Prototype with a Future

August 20, 2007

Nuremberg’s public transport system has become more "electrified" thanks to a diesel-electric hybrid bus developed by MAN. The vehicle is equipped with drive-system technology from Siemens.

World's first aircraft with serial hybrid electric drive

June 24, 2011

Together with partners, Siemens has built the world’s first aircraft with a serial hybrid electric drive system. The two-seater motor glider DA36 E-Star is presented by Siemens, Diamond Aircraft and EADS at the Paris ...

Hybrid technology moves from road to water

March 2, 2012

Hybrid engines aren't just for cars anymore. Hybrid engine systems are slowly catching on with environmentally conscious sailors, replacing less-fuel efficient diesel motors on sailboats.

Electric hybrid drives for aircraft

July 9, 2013

In cooperation with several partners, Siemens has created its second aircraft powered by an electric series hybrid drive system. The two-seat DA36 E-Star 2 plane recently made its one-hour maiden flight and was then presented ...

Hybrid buses improve air quality in Hanoi

July 25, 2013

Siemens and the Vietnam Motors Industry Corporation (Vinamotor) are launching the first hybrid bus with a combined electric/diesel drive in Hanoi. The project is the first of its kind in Vietnam. The vehicle uses the ELFA ...

Recommended for you

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.