Canada: UVic to Launch World’s First Plug-in Hybrid GREEN SHIP


Ocean innovation and research at the University of Victoria has benefitted from a $1.19 million contribution in federal funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada. The funding will help UVic to secure the powertrain equipment necessary to retrofit the former Tsekoa II into the world’s first plug-in hybrid “green ship” powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and low-emission diesel fuel.

The hybrid system will provide energy for low-speed maneuvering and station-keeping and will also supply high-quality power for ship systems, communications and instrumentation. The new green ship technology has been created by UVic’s green transportation research team and BC’s marine engineering and alternative power system sectors. Project partners include the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Province of British Columbia, Ballard Fuel Systems and Techsol Marine.

A hybrid system is quieter, more efficient and cleaner than traditional marine systems. Formerly known as the Tsekoa II (pronounced “Se-ko-uh”), ownership was transferred to UVic from Fisheries and Oceans Canada where it was used for maintenance and fishery patrols by the Canadian Coast Guard.

The ship is currently 26.7 metres long and 7.25 metres wide at the beam. For the refit, the ship will be cut in half and a new section will be inserted at mid-ship to bring the total length to 36.6 metres. This new section will include a science lab and additional berths to accommodate 15 crew and scientists.

The refit will transform the vessel into the world’s first plug-in hybrid “green ship” powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and low-emission diesel fuel. Innovative power management software will optimize the use of the ship’s generators and batteries during high-demand, long-distance cruising or submersible operations.

This green technology will reduce carbon emissions, enhance the ship’s fuel efficiency and provide high-quality electric power to the research equipment onboard. It will also permit acoustically sensitive research operations-such as marine mammal observations or studies of sound in the ocean- without requiring power from noisy diesel engines.

The new green ship technology is a collaboration between UVic’s green transportation research team in the Faculty of Engineering and BC’s marine engineering and alternative power system sectors. The ship will be a floating testbed for this new hybrid technology and is expected to open new niche markets in the marine sector.

It is hoped that the ship will be relaunched and in service by late 2012. Its new name has not yet been determined.

This support for our world-class coastal research vessel is greatly appreciated and helps maintain Canada’s leadership in the design and application of clean energy technologies,” says UVic Vice-President Research Dr. Howard Brunt. “This project is an excellent example of how governments, industry and universities are working together to enhance the well being of Canadians.”

(globe-net)

[mappress]

Source: globe-net, August 4, 2011; Image: uvic

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