Engineers with Gamma Light & Heavy Industries have developed a propulsion system that can maneuver a ship using 75 percent less fuel than conventional propeller-based technology without losing performance, the company reports. A certified tank test by Lloyd’s Register confirmed that The Gamma Propulsion System is at least four times more efficient than current technology used to propel ships.
TPGS, which was under development for more than five years, is comprised of a series of diesel electric units that are strategically located inboard down both sides of the vessel. On retrofits, the TPGS would typically be installed in the cargo hold.
The inboard position along each side of the ship’s hull allows the vessel to move itself in all directions — forward, aft, sideways, spin in its own length — using its power range up to full thrust, Gamma Light & Heavy Industries CEO Dough Bruce said.
Horsepower requirements for all vessels can be significantly reduced without losing power or efficiency with the TPGS, the company says.
This same technology can be used in large transfer pumps for the marine, mining and irrigation industries as well as for emergency flood pumping. TPGS engineers also worked with technical staff at a water theme park in Australia to develop a more efficient circulating pump. The original four pumps on the ride delivered 87 liters per second using 22 kilowatts of energy. The TGPS pump increased performance by 12 percent using 2.04 kilowatts of energy, more than 10 times greater efficiency than the original model.
Fuel costs now account for up to 50 percent of vessel operating costs, which gives ship owners incentive to cut their consumption, according to Gamma Light.
Royal Caribbean, for example, announced earlier this month it will spend $60 million on power and propulsion systems developed by automation technology group ABB for two energy-efficient cruise ships.
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