Operating in sub-zero temperatures places special demands on a ship’s propulsion system. As demand grows for ships to undertake oil and gas exploration, research and even tourism in polar regions so does demand for Rolls-Royce extensive experience in this field.
Rolls-Royce had delivered 550 stainless steel and 400 nickel aluminium bronze propellers with ice class 1A or higher. If lower ice classes are included the number is nearly 2,000. Designs encompass fixed pitch, controllable pitch and the adjustable bolted type, with or without nozzles.
Geared azimuth thrusters and electric pods have advantages for icebreakers. They provide agile manoeuvring in ice, can be steered so that the propeller slipstream is directed at an angle to the side, washing away ice fragments and creating a channel wider than the beam of the vessel. This is ideal for cutting a channel for other ships to follow. Thrusters can also be used for breaking thick ice by “ice milling,” running stern-first and using the thrusters to draw water from under the ice and weaken the floe, helping the hull shape break up the ice.
Rolls-Royce propulsors for ice form two categories
Those designed specifically for ice operation; ARC azimuth thrusters, TT Polar tunnel thrusters and propellers, and those designed for normal operations, with ice strengthening and delivered with a lower power rating.
ARC series azimuth thrusters are made in four sizes covering powers 3.5MW to 9.0MW, with or without nozzles. The icebreaker/offshore vessels Nordica and Fennica which operate as icebreakers in the winter and as offshore support vessels in summer in the Baltic were successful early adopters of this technology. A new addition to the product range the TT Polar tunnel thruster is scheduled for delivery this year.
Azipull thrusters with their pulling propellers are popular for propelling offshore supply vessels, ferries, cargo ships and specialised vessels, all of which may need some type of ice class.
Rolls-Royce has undertaken extensive research to understand the impact of polar operations on propulsion. The company collaborated with DNV GL with support from Forskiningsrådet (Norwegian Research Council) to measure ice impacts on azimuth thrusters and conventional shaftlines.
An intensive programme of trials was carried out with the Swedish Coastguard vessel KBV002 Triton. Built to DNV Ice 1A* and capable of breaking 50cm thick ice at 4 knots the research programme took the ship into the northern Gulf of Bothnia breaking level ice typically 37cm thick.
Fitted with extensive instrumentation over 40 hours of ice operation were tracked using GPS. Ice properties were measured and underwater videos made of the vessel passing through ice.
Data about driveline torque response, the forces applied to the thruster housing – in terms of number and strength, motor speed, steering forces and steering angle measurements as well as noise both inside and outside the ship were collected.
The data has now been analysed and is being used by Rolls-Royce to develop innovative thrusters even better suited to operating in ice.
ID26 Polar Push - full article
An offshore knuckleboom crane that uses fibre rope is the latest to be introduced by Rolls-Royce. Two sizes are available, rated at 150 tonnes and 250 tonnes. The new cranes combine the company’s field-proven expertise in equipment that uses braided fibre rope for deepwater offshore operations, with its offshore crane and control systems technology.
Compared to cranes of similar type using steel wire, the 250-tonne fibre rope crane (FRC) working at water depths greater than 2,400m can do the same work as a 400-tonne crane equipped with wire rope.
The reason for this is that the braided fibre rope has virtually zero weight in water, so the length of rope deployed does not affect the crane’s useful lifting capacity.
This is not the case with wire rope, as the useful lifting capacity decreases with depth because of the extra weight of the heavy steel wire rope itself. To illustrate the scale difference, a 250-tonne fibre rope crane can install 250-tonne modules in 4,000m, whereas a 400-tonne crane equipped with wire rope is limited.
“To illustrate the scale difference, a 250-tonne fibre rope crane can install 250-tonne modules in 4,000m, whereas a 400-tonne crane with wire rope is limited to installing 250-tonne modules in 2,400m,” says Bjørn Gerde, General Manager, Subsea.
“This means smaller cranes and therefore potentially smaller vessels can be used to do the same work.”
Reducing the size of crane for a given deepwater work capacity has a number of side benefits, not least lower procurement costs and crane weight. This in turns places less demand on ship stability, leading to a more comfortable ship or one that can safely continue working as the weather worsens.
The 250-tonne crane handles 250 tonnes at 17m outreach, has a 35m lifting height and works to 4,000m, while the auxiliary boom is equipped with a high performance active heave compensated wire winch for 50-tonne loads and 3,000m depth. A sound insulated state-of-the-art cabin houses the operator’s chair with redundant touch screens, camera monitors, a writing desk and a co-pilot chair. Heating and air conditioning allows the operator to work comfortably and efficiently in all climates.
Fibre rope handling is taken care of below deck, in a compact system system using the field-proven Rolls-Royce cable traction control unit (CTCU), which assures reliable and predictable rope spooling and storage in all conditions. The proven CTCU system has unique benefits for the vessel owners and operators.
Unlike its wire counterpart, braided fibre rope can easily have new sections spliced in if part of it is damaged or abraded. For a wire rope, the complete wire must normally be replaced even when a small section is damaged. The CTCU is designed to accommodate the increased local rope diameter at the splices. Splicing can normally be carried out on board in a few hours.
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Ship to Shore Connecter (SSC) is the next generation of heavy-lift hovercraft – or Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) for the US navy. It is currently under development powered by the compact, power-dense, Rolls-Royce MT7 marine gas turbine engine.
Since the mid-1980s the US Navy and Marine Corps have operated a fleet of LCACs - giving commanders the ability to deliver a 60 ton payload (vehicles, stores and/or personnel) from ship to shore at speeds in excess of 40 knots. Currently operating a fleet of 72 hovercraft, the US Navy can access more than 70 per cent of the world’s coastline compared to just 15 per cent by conventional displacement landing craft often helping to deliver humanitarian aid/disaster relief where it is needed most. But, harsh operating conditions over the decades and out dated operating systems have meant it was time to look towards developing the new Ship to Shore Connector (SSC).
According to Captain Chris Mercer, the navy’s amphibious warfare programme manager, there is plenty different about the SSC. “We increased the strength of the cargo deck. We gave it a 74-ton payload capacity. We introduced more powerful and more fuel efficient engines, and more efficient propellers. We are going to a two-crew cockpit. And we’re designing SSC to go 30 years without a SLEP (service life extension programme).”
“For SSC, we have substantially simplified the machinery arrangement such that the four gas turbines will be dual-coupled into two gearboxes to drive twin lift fans and two six-bladed controllable pitch propellers,” he adds.
The power is delivered by the MT7 marine gas turbine developed by Rolls-Royce. Derived from the AE family of aero engines, and maintaining over 90 per cent commonality with the AE 1107C-Liberty turboshaft powering the US Marine Corps’ unique MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the 4-5MW rated MT7 will provide both propulsion and lift for the SSC.
“The MT7 combines modern turbine materials and technology to provide a state-of-the-art power system suited to a range of naval applications such as main propulsion and power generation,” says Paul Jones, Program Manager, Rolls-Royce. “It leverages the robust performance and reliability of the Rolls-Royce AE engine family which has accumulated approaching 65 million operating hours.
“Compared to the legacy LCAC engines, the MT7 will deliver about a 25 per cent increase in power while at the same time burning 11 per cent less fuel.”
“The company will deliver the first MT7 shipset later this year,” says Jones. “The SSC programme of record could potentially lead to the manufacture of over 300 MT7 engines.”
Gunnerus is 31.25m long and is owned and operated by NTNU, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology based in Trondheim. It is equipped to carry out research in the fields of biology, technology, geology, archeology, oceanography and fisheries, and so supports many of the courses offered by NTNU.
When the ship was conceived the aim was that it should not only be a platform for scientific research, but a tool for the development of innovative marine technology. This secondary role is the one Gunnerus will now undertake, a key part of the thruster development work.
As built, the ship has diesel electric propulsion in a traditional twin screw arrangement. For the new thruster fit, Moen Marine won the contract for the conversion work, with Polarconsult designing the hull modifications to accept the azimuth thruster mountings and feed the propulsion forces into the structure.
The original high speed diesel gensets are retained, and have been fitted with extremely flexible mountings to stop any structural-borne noise potentially affecting research results. As part of the conversion work the propellers, shaftlines rudders and steering gear have been removed, and the sterntubes plugged, but the skeg remains in place.
Two PM azimuth thrusters conservatively rated at 500kW have been fitted to the research vessel Gunnerus
These technology demonstrator PM azimuth thrusters will have a rating of 500kW to match the test vessel’s availalble power, but the propeller diameter is generous for the loading, which means a thruster with the same diameter propeller can handle up to 1,000kW.
Each thruster comprises three main assemblies – the PM motor/propeller/nozzle underwater unit, the hull mounting system which includes the azimuth bearing and duplicate frequency controlled electric steering gear, and the inboard power unit unit which feeds electric power to the thruster.
“Vessel and thrusters are an ideal match,” says Gunnar Johnsen, Head of Electrical Systems Research & Technology. “Because of the research work Gunnerus does, it is well equipped to do many jobs that will benefit for the added manoeuvrability azimuth thruster will confer, it is also designed to be quiet.
The PM motor is built into the nozzle and the propeller has an advanced forward skew blade design. Nozzle shape can be selected to suit individual applications, but since Gunnerus requires pull for towing trawls and other gear, the nozzle is optimised for bollard pull and speed to match the vessels requirements. The installation is compact, with only the slip ring unit and the variable frequency steering motors inside the hull. In other respects the azimuth thruster uses the same technology as the PM tunnel thrusters.
Under a multi-partner agreement Rolls-Royce is the lead partner, with NTNU as shipowner and operator. The project has been awarded funding from MAROFF, the marine arm of Forskningsrådet – the Research Council of Norway.
Other partners are Marintek, DNV, Olympic Shipping and the Technical University in Ålesund. Through its UTC (university technology centre) programme Rolls-Royce already has a longstanding relationship with Marintek and NTNU on marine propulsion and hydrodynamics research, while Olympic Shipping has for several years been linked to the PM tunnel thruster development work through its vessel Olympic Octopus.
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Head of Electrical Systems Research & Technology - Rolls-Royce
The Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge Design has won this year’s Ergonomics Design Award, presented by the UK Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors. The award recognises industrial design which puts the customer at the heart of the process using their views to generate ideas, develop concepts and test prototypes and finished products.
The Unified Bridge is a complete redesign of the ship bridge environment, including consoles, levers and software interfaces, done using a user-centred design process resulting in a more comfortable, clutter-free and ultimately more safe and efficient working environment.
Celebrating the award Svein Kleven, Rolls-Royce, Senior VP Engineering and Quality, Commercial – Marine said, “We are delighted to be recognised for the work we are doing in this area which shows that research and investment in Human-Machine-Interface studies is paying off and leading to new products. Having great technology is good but having great technology that people enjoy using is the way to long-term customer loyalty.”
Interviews with operators and visits to several different types of vessels, as well as on board observations of real life platform supply operations in the North Sea, were carried out in order to understand the work environment and gain insight into life at sea. Realistic simulations in a virtual environment were carried out at Rolls-Royce’s Training and Technology Centre in Aalesund, Norway to investigate operator interaction with equipment, identifying which functions were vital and which could be removed or merged in order to improve operator performance.
The results of this research informed the development of the bridge consoles. Several different prototype iterations of bridge consoles were developed, starting with the use of basic components such as cardboard and sticky notes before moving to polystyrene models and then a full-scale plastic replica which was unveiled at the Nor-Shipping convention in Oslo in May 2011. User feedback based on the plastic prototype was important in the development of prototype consoles.
The first installation of the Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge left port in August 2014 on board the platform supply vessel Stril Luna owned by Simon Møkster Shipping. The operators were equipped with user experience assessment folders, so the Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge can be developed and improved for future customers.
Rolls-Royce had been shortlisted for the award alongside competition from the University of Oxford (patient data display), as well as Ergonomie (Banking services) and DCA Design (Intercity Express Train).
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In June 2015 the Bergen Viking returned to service following a successful retrofit to convert the vessel from diesel-electric to LNG-electric propulsion.
Bergen Viking is a 95m chemical and product tanker supplying diesel and petrol along the Norwegian coastline. Delivered in 2007, the vessel is part of a total fleet of six vessels owned by Bergen Tankers AS.
The retrofit replaced four of the ship’s original six diesel generating sets with two Bergen 26:33L6AG gas generating sets, one in each of the ship’s port and starboard engine rooms. Each Bergen engine, rated at 1,460kW delivers sufficient power to replace three of the ship’s original diesel generating sets, but two were retained, one in each engine room to provide auxiliary/emergency power.
The engines supply power to all the ship’s electrical equipment as well propulsion. There is a 900kW electric motor on each propeller shaft and a smaller motor powers the bow thruster.
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The LNG makeover - full article
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Rolls-Royce has been selected to design and equip a new Service Operation Vessel for shipowner Østensjø Rederi. The vessel will support wind farm operations for DONG Energy.
The order is the first for a new ship design from Rolls-Royce developed specifically to support operations in shallow waters at offshore windfarms. The vessel will serve as the base for wind turbine technicians while they perform maintenance work on Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm, off the coast of Lincolnshire, UK.
Johan Rokstad, Østensjø Rederi AS, chief executive officer, said, “We have worked closely with Rolls-Royce to develop a design we believe will be well suited to servicing the specific operational demands of supporting offshore wind farms. We look forward to continuing this good co-operation in carrying the project through to completion.”
The ship is designed with a high focus on seakeeping capabilities, excellent station keeping performance, improved comfort and safety on board, and reduced fuel consumption. The UT 540 WP was developed in close cooperation with the customer and benefits from over 40 years of UT ship design experience across 800 vessels.
As well as designing the vessel, Rolls-Royce will supply the diesel electric main machinery, consisting of frequency controlled electric driven azimuth thrusters, super silent mounted transverse thrusters, DP2 dynamic positioning system, power electrical system, deck machinery, and the latest generation Acon automation and control system.
Helge Gjerde, Rolls-Royce, President Commercial - Marine, said, “We are delighted that Østensjø Rederi and DONG Energy have chosen the new Rolls-Royce UT 540 WP design against intense competition. As more wind farms are built further from shore and in more demanding conditions we see opportunities to use our extensive offshore experience to diversify into an exciting new market.”
This vessel will be built at Astilleros Gondan in Spain.
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Big data is all about extracting value from information, leading to more informed decision-making. For vessel operators like Golden Energy Offshore, better decisions mean greater operational efficiency, cost reductions and reduced risk of equipment failure.
With fuel accounting for up to fifty per cent of operating costs, vessel operators increasingly need clear visibility of energy use and emissions. It is also a comparison criterion for charterers.
Golden Energy Offshore is a fully integrated shipowner and operator of modern specialised offshore vessels for the global oil and gas industry. They take big data seriously. Their operations have grown significantly - from operating two vessels in 2007, the company now owns and operates nine modern vessels.
Golden Energy Offshore´s goal is to achieve a highly cost effective operation for all of their vessels, and have recently launched a five-year plan to save fuel. They have a management system to keep track of the energy performance indicators that are used to measure energy use on their vessels.
In the Golden Energy Offshore fleet are two Rolls-Royce UT 776 CD PSVs, with oil spill clean-up capability that operate out of Tanager in Stavanger, Norway. With the need to monitor the vessels fuel consumption, operating profile and emissions, the Rolls-Royce Acon Energy Monitoring system was added to the vessels ACON control and automation system and Rolls-Royce started to collect vessel data earlier this year.
The Acon Energy Monitoring system captures data on board the vessel, processes it and displays it graphically in a variety of forms via a web portal. The team at Golden Energy Offshore can then view the detailed energy consumption performance of their vessels and take any action. The data is updated daily.
“The Acon Energy Monitoring system is an important tool for us to optimise the operation profiles of these vessels,” says Per Ivar Fagervold, CEO of Golden Energy Offshore. “It enables us to monitor the power distribution of the vessels and gives reliable information of general systems condition from monitoring the propulsion machinery. It can also give us insight on machinery that is performing above the normal specification.”
“We are able to optimise the energy use on board by taking advantage of various switchboard configurations, efficient use of the generators for stand-by sailing and when in DP mode. Accurate fuel consumption measured at an early stage gives us the opportunity to adjust the vessels speed and trim to save fuel.”
“Focusing on fuel consumption and emissions we believe will give Golden Energy Offshore a competitive advantage,” adds Per Ivar Fagervold. “Saving 1- 2m³ of fuel each day results in significant fuel savings for Charterers which can mount up over a two year period or more. We also have an environmental responsibility and a focus on emissions and sustainability.”
Since the project started in 2014 there has been great commitment and engagement on both sides.
“We have learned a lot from each other, and the cooperation has paid off,” say Per Ivar. “Choosing the Rolls-Royce monitoring system was the optimal choice for us since we have two Rolls-Royce designed vessels with Rolls-Royce equipment on board. We knew we would not meet any barriers of 3rd party equipment integration. The operational profiles of these two PSVs, with their extremely sophisticated equipment, are quite different from deep-sea vessels.”
The Big Data Game - Full article
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Over the past twenty-five years, more than 110 fishing vessels have been built or ordered to our NVC-Designs. Decades of world-class research, development, and accrued knowledge have helped meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated fishing industry.
Whether the demand is for speed for the pelagic trawlers, for stability for the stern trawlers, or high tech machinery to optimise fish handling and on-deck working conditions for longliner/gilnet designs, Rolls-Royce can help.
We are continually introducing advanced technology innovations in the areas of ship design, integrated propulsion/manoeuvring systems and deck machinery. This technology optimises fuel consumption, reduces emissions and improves the efficiency of fishing operations, significantly reducing operating costs.
Close co-operation with the customer throughout all phases of a project enables us to help operators to select the optimum products and systems for their vessel and puts us in a unique position to support them throughout the life of the vessel.
A number of recent orders illustrate the company’s expertise:
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