Publications       Rudy Negenborn
Full Professor, Head of Section
Team & Themes

Title:Adaptive pitch control for ships with diesel mechanical and hybrid propulsion
Authors:R.D. Geertsma, K. Visser, R.R. Negenborn

Journal:Applied Energy

Abstract:Shipping urgently needs to reduce its impact on the environment, both due to CO2, NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions and due to underwater noise. On the other hand, multifunction ships such as offshore support vessels, anchor handling and towing vessels, naval vessels and wind farm construction and support vessels require fast and accurate manoeuvring and need highly reliable systems to support reduced or no crew. Diesel mechanical propulsion with controllable pitch propellers provides high efficiency and low CO2 emissions, but has traditionally been poor in manoeuvrability, can suffer from thermal overloading due to manoeuvring and requires significant measures to meet NOx and PM emission regulations. The control strategy of diesel mechanical propulsion with fixed combinator curves is one of the causes of the poor manoeuvrability, thermal overloading and cavitation noise during manoeuvring, such as slam start and intermediate acceleration manoeuvres. This paper proposes an adaptive pitch control strategy with slow integrating speed control that reduces fuel consumption, CO2, NOx and PM emissions and underwater noise, improves acceleration performance, limits engine loading and prevents engine under- and overspeed. A simulation study with a validated model of a case study Holland class Patrol Vessel demonstrates 5% to 15% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, compared to the baseline transit control mode in the ship speed range from 6 to 15 kts, during constant speed sailing. Moreover, the adaptive pitch control strategy reduces acceleration time from 0 to 15 kts with the slam start procedure by 32% compared to the baseline manoeuvre control mode and by 84% for an intermediate acceleration from 10 to 15 kts, while preventing thermal overloading of the engine, during straight line manoeuvres. Combining this control strategy with hybrid propulsion, running an electric drive in parallel with the propulsion diesel engine, can potentially further reduce fuel consumption at low speeds while also improving acceleration performance even more. Therefore, hybrid propulsion plants with controllable pitch propellers and adaptive pitch control can provide a significant contribution to the urgent reduction of environmental impact of shipping and to the need for more autonomous and reliable ship systems.

Reference:Adaptive pitch control for ships with diesel mechanical and hybrid propulsion. R.D. Geertsma, K. Visser, R.R. Negenborn. Applied Energy, vol. 228, pp. 2490-2509, 2018. Open Access.
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