We all know frequency converters are used to control the speed of electrical motors. But are you aware just how many different types of motors are used in, for example, the marine industry alone?
In 2013, the International Chamber of Shipping stated that around 90% of world trade is carried by the international shipping industry, with nearly 60,000 merchant ships operating internationally. And research from this year estimates that there are currently more than 300 sea-going cruise ships in the world.
A vessel is its own mini-world; drives are used for similar applications as land-based processes. Then there are some special requirements for those products in the marine industry. There are the obvious motors involved in the main propulsion, steering gear and thruster processes. Then there are the pumps, compressors and ventilation systems for engine room operations, but also in systems to make life on board more comfortable. And getting around the ships takes a complex system of lifts, ramps and hatches. Winches, cranes and tensioners are needed to load products. And the AC drives controlling the ship’s network and shore supply improve energy efficiency for ship owners and port authorities alike.
While you are sipping your cocktail on your cruise, are you aware that frequency converters are hard at work to make your holiday more pleasurable? Some of the world’s top cruise liners are equipped with 300–400 AC drives which could include, for example, 3 enclosed drive solutions for main propulsion equipment, 15 AC drives for winch applications, 40 AC drives in the engine rooms and 4 AC drives providing 5 MW of power for tunnel thrusters.
But also ashore there are marine applications that save energy and thus reduce CO2 emissions. The busiest port in the world, Shanghai, for example uses a shore supply application equipped with VACON NXP Grid Converter technology. If every large ship docking in Shanghai uses this technology, it is estimated that there will be an annual decrease in CO2 emissions of a staggering 1,342,000 tons.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Article by: Martti Alatalo – Product Marketing Director, NEE Region, Vacon PLC
This article was first published on the Vacon Blog