GEAR | Schottel presents new mechanical hybrid propulsion solution


In a close collaboration with Svitzer of Denmark, Schottel has developed a new hybrid propulsion concept based on the recent Schottel Y-Hybrid thruster technology, which connects a port- and starboard-mounted azimuth thruster in a vessel with each other. This makes it possible to drive two thrusters with either one of the main engines.

Common vessel operation profiles for tugs or workboats include up to 90 percent of operation time with low engine loads. To optimize propulsion systems for such load, conventional hybrid propulsion systems come with two independent power sources per propeller, normally configured with a main engine and a smaller electric motor. Those additional electric components make those hybrid concepts more complex and more expensive.

Based on the Schottel SRP-Y Hybrid upper gear module for azimuth thrusters, Schottel Sydrive-M is a new variable and purely mechanical hybrid propulsion system with no need for any additional electronic components or an additional gearbox.

The core functionality of Sydrive-M is to mechanically connect two thrusters and one of the two main engines for all light operation activities that do not require full power of the two main engines. In this synchronised “light operation mode”, one of the two main propulsion engines remains alternating off. This leads to a noticeable reduction of operating hours of the main propulsion engines, and thus to a reduction of maintenance costs.

In addition, the single running main engine remaining in operation is now better loaded by two thrusters and operates in a better specific fuel consumption range, leading to less fuel consumption and emissions. In contrast to a conventional tug, with two engines running in traditional light operation mode, where both engines are operated at a relatively low rpm range which is not efficient with regard to fuel consumption and emissions.

For short operation times when full propulsion power is needed, the connection between the two thrusters is disengaged and each engine is engaged to each thruster. The system is then identical to any other directly driven propulsion system.

For any directly driven vessel the new Sydrive-M system provides a solution to enable fire-fighting operation with no need for any additional investment in components like medium or heavy duty slipping clutches, CP propellers or dedicated engines to supply power to a FiFi-pump. For the Sydrive-M FiFi-mode, the disengaged main engine is used to drive the FiFi-pump through its front PTO.

Sydrive-M can be integrated into any usual vessel design with direct propulsion with no need for design changes. It is available for the Schottel rudder propeller and Schottel EcoPeller series of azimuth thrusters from 1,000 kW up to 3,000 kW.

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Baird Maritime Gear Editor

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