All you need to know about marine electrical systems

Real zero emission shipping cannot be reached without the use of smart electrical systems, whatever the source of energy – wind, sun or hydrogen – may be. And this won’t be easy as becomes clear in SWZ|Maritime’s May special.

The new systems we think we will use in the future to meet emission requirements, present new challenges for maritime technology because new fuels, fuel cells and batteries for example, have their specific problems and cannot just be integrated one-on-one in a ship’s installation.

Most of the articles in SWZ|Maritime’s May electrical systems special put together by our technology editor Willem de Jong deal with these issues. With special thanks to the contributors.

Electrification and crew

For now, it is not at all clear what the optimum solutions are. This means there is plenty of room for discussion, and we hope that this magazine helps our readers in these discussions. Ideas for future articles on what the energy systems of ships might look like in the near future are always welcome.

Suggestions for articles about what this all means not only for shipbuilders and suppliers, but also for the crew would be helpful to compile future specials too. On cruise ships, it is already quite common to find electricians and IT systems administrators on board in addition to the traditional marine engineers as ships are becoming more and more electrified and digitalised.

Autonomous shipping

The article on the conclusion of the Dutch Joint Industry Project on Autonomous Shipping in our May issue also deserves special attention. It is another example that the Dutch maritime industry is at the forefront of innovation. A position that can’t be taken for granted as in these troubled Covid-19 times there are always vultures lurking to scoop up the now ailing firms that could be of great value to fulfil one’s industrial and maritime strategy.

Such a strategy is now badly needed in Europe as well to keep the better paid engineering jobs and not just the poorly paid jobs in the service economy here. It is therefore hopeful that Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, warned EU member states at the end of March that they ‘should use all options to protect critical European companies from foreign takeovers or influence that could undermine our security and public order.’ And the European shipbuilding and shipping industry should be categorised as being ‘critical’.

Read SWZ|Maritime’s May issue online now.

Picture: The almost finished Anchorage, a 3000-m3 Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger, that is equipped with a smart diesel-electric system, developed in close collaboration between Barkmeijer Shipyards and D&A Electric (SWZ|Maritime’s May 2020 cover picture).

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.