In the ModProp project, entire propulsion system, Power Management System (PMS), and Energy Management System (EMS) designs from participating Finnish companies were combined by defining modular product interfaces for a ship design. Steerprop developed the propulsion unit, WE Tech Solutions designed the PMS and EMS, and Elomatic designed the ship concept for the project. This enables a turnkey propulsion system, as well as PMS and EMS delivery for a ship project.
Combining PMS and EMS with propulsor unit and ship design allowed lowering the capital costs of the designs by 15% with more optimal dimensioning of the systems compared to the present solutions. Thanks to the optimal dimensioning and improved designs, the total propulsion efficiency of the solution was improved by 10% compared to the previous concepts.
The research topics of the project concentrated on four main factors affecting the design: hydrodynamic optimization, ice loads, underwater radiated noise (URN), and operation optimization. Designs were validated with hydrodynamic and model tests for the propulsion unit and the concept vessel. Experiments on ice loads were conducted to validate the impact loads on the thrusters. URN models were developed to cover the cavitating propeller source and acoustics noise propagation modelling. A simulation platform for operation optimization was developed. The EMS can be optimized in realistic operating conditions. Simulation platform was completed by combining a ship manoeuvring simulator with an energy system simulator. An interface to integrate two simulators in different locations was developed. The research project developed a public ice-class propulsion unit which can be utilized as a benchmark case.
The propulsion solution is targeted for ice classed mid-size ships where the propulsion power is up to 6 MW per unit. Interesting ship types for the propulsion solution are passenger ships, ferries, icebreaking supply vessels, arctic offshore wind turbine service vessels, product tankers and workboats.
The achievements of the project reflect the IMO 2050 target of reducing shipping greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2050 compared with their 2008 level.
This novel approach enables more agile design of propulsion systems when compared to traditional design methods.
The project, which is called “High-efficiency modular propulsion concept (ModProp)”, was conducted during the years 2020-2022. A network of SMEs and mid-cap companies was formed. The project enables companies to jointly offer an improved full propulsion package for ships. Finnish companies Elomatic, Steerprop and WE Tech Solutions Oy participated as industrial partners, while VTT acted as the project coordinator and the research partner.