Hybrid barges - full speed ahead?
Episode 10

Learning from the river cruise ships in terms of hybridization

At the moment they are in dock – the river cruise ships. They were and are pioneers in hybridization. The fact is that transport ships are slow to catch up in Germany. Why? Hybrid energy supply on ships and shore power supply in ports – these are two sides of the same coin that need to grow together even more. In Drehmoment – Der Antriebspodcast | Episode 10, podcast host Robert Weber talks to two experts about hybrid propulsion technology on inland vessels: Peter Oymanns from system integrator Kadlec & Brödlin and Alexander Garbar from the Port of Duisport. Both work in Duisburg and have known the German inland shipping industry for years. Oymanns relies on frequency converters from Danfoss Drives and, in the future, also on the fuel cell. And the port operator? Garbar and his colleagues are encouraging skippers to already fill up with electricity at Duisport and are steadily expanding the charging network. The sticking point could be the regenerative power supply. There is also a lack of public funding in Germany

Torque - The Drive Podcast | Episode 10

"We need backfeed standards"
- Expert interview with system integrator Peter Oymanns

Hybride Binnenschifffahrt im Antriebspodcast Drehmoment: Flusskreuzer bei Koblenz

Peter Oymanns is waiting for us. His office is located just a few meters from the Rhine. He has his eye on the port of Duisburg. Oymanns works for systems integrator Kadlec & Brödlin. The company has been equipping inland vessels for decades – from power sockets to radar systems. Frequency converters play an important role in this. We talk about batteries, inland vessels and hydrogen prospects.

Have hybrid drive formats already arrived in inland shipping?

Oymanns: Yes, the issue is there, but we have to distinguish between cargo ships and tankers and inland cruise ships. For cargo ships and tankers, the energy demand is not dramatically high. Hybrid approaches do not yet pay off. In passenger shipping, the situation is quite different. Almost every newly built ferry or cruise ship today has a hybrid propulsion system.

How much show is there?

Show is also part of it. Many large passenger ships use the hybrid systems, even if they don’t pay off immediately. They are a signal to customers – for more sustainability and innovative strength. But today we can build hybrid ships that don’t break the bank and are profitable.

Hybrid drive: What performance are we talking about at the moment?

Hybride Binnenschifffahrt im Antriebspodcast Drehmoment: Flusskreuzer auf dem Rhein

The focus is currently on lithium-polymer batteries, and power is up to 600 kWh for small ships and goes up to 2.5 MWh.

And how long does the power last?

For peak load operation, the ships certainly need 2MW of power. But it’s not about pure electric operation, it’s about relieving the load on the diesel generators or operating them in a better power range to save fuel and emissions.

What role does shore power play?

For charging the battery it is still too expensive. But as we look to the future, we also need to talk about regenerative feeds.

What do you mean?

Fuel cells are gaining in importance. The user will not be able to shut them down immediately. This means that it could feed energy into the grid. The alternative would be to burn the heat. I’m sure no one wants that. But we need feed-back standards for this and also remuneration.

Hybrid inland navigation: battery versus fuel cell?

Are you betting on hydrogen? Yes, the fuel cell is technically already no problem for us today. There is a lack of infrastructure, for example, in the storage of fuel. It still needs a little time.

Does the fuel cell change the way it works on the vehicle electrical system? No, not at all. We continue to use converters, build a microgrid, and provide power to the crew and guests.

So are batteries transitional technologies? I think batteries will last longer. The battery can also work in conjunction with the fuel cell. But we are looking for alternatives, because what do we do with the old batteries when we have to remove them after ten years?

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