GE to introduce new power, propulsion system for support vessels at OTC 2013
PARIS -- GE’s Power Conversion business will unveil a new power and propulsion system that reduces fuel consumption by controlling engine speed on platform support vessels at the 2013 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas. The Variable Frequency Active Front-End power and propulsion system, or VF-AFE, enables ship owners using conventional power system components to lower engine speeds when feasible, cut fuel consumption and reduce emissions and maintenance requirements.
With the VF-AFE, a support vessel’s engines remain connected while in dynamic positioning (DP) mode, so that changes in speed can be made during any required reductions in load.
The active front end drives more than just the engine. Auxiliaries onboard the vessel still require a fixed frequency, so extra equipment will be needed to convert the variable frequency from the VF-AFE into a fixed frequency. This requires an additional investment by the customer, but, even so, GE estimates that the return on the total investment is achieved in less than a year.
The VF-AFE uses a version of GE Power Conversion’s MV 3000 low-voltage drive that has been modified to make it more compact. The company has called the MV 3000 for the VF-AFE “existing technology, repackaged.”
As with other advanced systems that GE is introducing at OTC, VF-AFE systems will be Visor-enabled, which means that GE engineers will be able to monitor them remotely.
GE will build a demonstrator for the VF-AFE at one of its marine technology centers. In the future, this will enable the company to show customers the benefits of DP operation under simulated.