30 March 2018
Diesel Electric propulsion – Q & A
Continuing with the theme started in last month's logbook, we look at questions frequently asked regarding WIDER's decision to focus on Diesel Electric technology on board their range of yachts. This month:
Why did WIDER decide to develop their own Diesel Electric propulsion solution by using technology from Veth, Visedo and Nidec, rather than use other solutions already on the market?
During the course of the R&D all of the main suppliers were contacted and options discussed. However, the decision to go with Nidec (at the time called Emerson Industrial Automation) for the power management system – in essence the brains of the system - was because of their flexibility to create a tailor made system designed for the usage we envisaged based on our experience and knowledge of how a yacht of this size is used.
At the time, all of the "off the shelf" systems were based on an AC (Alternating Current) grid. This system is more adapted to usage on larger yachts of say 90m+ and cruise ships where the minimum hotel power requirements are significantly higher. The use of a DC (Direct Current) grid enabled us to allow for the variable minimum power requirements more efficiently which also allowed for other efficiencies to shine through, such as reduction in noise and vibration, fuel consummation and engine maintenance.
Additionally, the DC grid allows for the simple inclusion of significant amount of battery power/storage (all batteries are DC) to help run the ship even more efficiently across the range of power required at different times - WIDER boats can be powered by batteries alone for up to 6 hours, depending on state of charge, meaning nights in complete silence or stays at anchorages without the irritating noise and smell from exhaust.