VII International forum
“Marine Industry of Russia”
Hotel complex
Department of affairs of the President of the Russian Federation

Moscow, 24, B.Yakimanka Str
24-25 May 2017
Forum bulletin

Ship Power Plants, Systems and Electrical Facilities – a brief overview

Ship power plant (SPP) consists of main propulsion plant driving the vessel and auxiliary plants ensuring power, steam and desalinated water supply. SPP is a complex of main and auxiliary engines, sources of energy, various mechanisms and systems.

All ship power plants use the principle of transformation of fuel burning or atom fission energy into mechanical one.

Types of Ship Power Plants

SPP are classified by types of main engines, source of energy and operating principles. Today, the following types of SPP exist:

  • steam-power plants,
  • steam-turbine plants,
  • diesel plants,
  • gas-turbine plants,
  • nuclear plants, and
  • mixed plants.

A propulsion system is an executive element of the main power plant consisting of propulsion devices, shaft lines, main marine gears and main propelling engines.
Main marine engines ensure ship run while auxiliary are used for driving electric generators, pumps, fans, etc.

Diesel engine is the most common type of the modern main marine engines owing to its economical operation, relatively small size and power. Peculiarities of propeller operation require to use slow- (aggregate power 2.2-35 MW, 5-12 pistons, 103-225 rpm) and medium speed (power up to 13.2 MW, 6-20 pistons, 300-500 rpm) engines. High speed engines (aggregate power up to 2 MW, 12-16 pistons, over 500 rpm) need to be back-geared so they are used as main engines at small vessels or as auxiliary engines at any vessels.

Steam-turbine plants are used in civil shipbuilding (as main engines of large container ships, LNG carriers, tankers, etc, as well as of nuclear-powered vessels or as auxiliary vessels). Steam-turbine engines are mainly used at warships, aerostatic crafts or at transport hydrofoil crafts.
Hydraulic jets, paddle wheels, propeller screws (including Kort nozzle ones) and rotating blade propellers are used as propulsion devices.

Current Situation

Today, main efforts in the field of ship power plant design are directed to enhancement of efficiency of the available engines. Such works are held in Russia, too. The most resultant activity is fuel preparation.

Expert opinions on the state of the domestic market of ship power plants, including diesel engines, slightly differ. For the last several decades, internal combustion engines, as a rule, were purchased abroad. And this situation is not going to change.

The problem is high consumption of materials of domestic engines, their unwieldiness comparing to imported models and, often, lesser power. For a long time, the industry of construction of diesel engine was going through a crisis, so many enterprises had to start manufacture of other products or even cease to exist. Russian Diesel Company is among them; this company even had its own design department. The enterprise manufactured medium-speed engines and now this niche is vacant being occupied by foreign manufacturers.

Surviving plants need modernization, and since the age of the equipment is over 20 years, their resource base is obsolete. Nevertheless, such enterprises as Kolomenskiy Zavod, Zvezda, OAO, Dagdiesel, the main suppliers of diesel engines for the domestic shipbuilding industry, have survived. Some experts reckon that if the problem of investments is solved, Russia can build effective and energy-conserving internal combustion engines for ships. Besides, our country possesses a great experience of usage of nuclear ship power plants, and according to the Head of Rosatom, we must use it and build nuclear-powered vessels.

Prospects and Trends

Today, the researchers try to develop energy supplies alternative to diesel fuel and nuclear energy. One of the researchers from Russia patented a catamaran with vertical deflector-based wind turbine (3-50 KW) or wave-activated power generating unit (10-20 KW-MW) used as a power generating system. Both these systems can be used together.

In Germany, the project of the ship power plant on the basis of electrochemical fuel cells was implemented; such cells dissipate energy into electricity without oxygen or hydrogen. For the time being, new power plants are operated at the navy, and more specific, as one of the components of the hybrid power plant used at new 212.ПЛ project submarines built at Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, Kiel.

In USA, a solar battery ferry is operated for some years. Such ferries were built in London and Japan. The advantage of such source of energy is its ecological compatibility. Besides, solar battery operation ensures saving not only fuel but even a service.


© Marine Industry of Russia, 2009-2010. All rights reserved.

By: “Ideological buiseness-projects”

Design by Valentina Ivanova.