Photo: NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is shown preparing for deployment. (Source: NOAA)

NOAA research vessels to feature Siemens Energy propulsion tech

Energy technology company Siemens Energy has signed a contract with the marine construction firm Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors to supply power, propulsion, and control systems along with its battery storage technology for two research vessels.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will acquire the vessels named Oceanographer and Discoverer. The vessels will support various missions, including general oceanographic research and exploration, climate and ocean ecosystem studies, and worldwide ocean survey and data collection.

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Scheduled to enter operation in 2024 and 2025, each NOAA vessel will host a crew of 20 and can accommodate up to 28 scientists.

Under the contract, Siemens will equip both vessels with SiSHIP Blue Drive PlusC diesel-electric propulsion systems and BlueVault battery storage solutions.

The combination of technologies will enable additional fuel savings and emissions reductions by allowing NOAA to optimize loading on variable speed diesel engines. It will also reduce maintenance associated with the engines, the company said.

According to Siemens’ estimates, the technology will lead to fuel savings of 15,000 gallons per year for each vessel, resulting in a reduction of approximately 5,700 tons of CO2, as compared to vessels with traditional fixed-speed diesel engines of similar size and operating profile.

“The NOAA NAV Variant is truly the result of an intense, collaborative effort by the Thoma-Sea Marine team, analyzing and implementing the best solutions brought by the shipyard, our design agent (TAI), Siemens Energy, and others”, said Walter Thomassie, managing director at Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors.

“As the first shipyard to install and commission the Siemens Energy Blue Drive PlusC advanced diesel-electric propulsion systems in the United States, Thoma-Sea immediately recognized Siemens Energy was able to optimize the system according to our specifications to further enhance the vessel’s capabilities and efficiencies”.

As informed, the SiSHIP Blue Drive PlusC diesel propulsion technology was installed on more than 80 marine vessels worldwide, including the world’s first all-electric car ferry, and the world’s largest cruise PAX ferry.

“We are proud to work alongside our project partners Thoma-Sea and TAI Engineers, and the operators NOAA, and Naval Sea Systems Command, to build these two state-of-the-art research vessels”, said Luke Briant, head of Marine Solutions Americas at Siemens Energy.

“The contract award is a testament to the performance and reliability of our advanced emissions-reducing technologies families, which have developed an extensive track record across a broad range of marine applications in recent years”.