This issue focuses on marine transportation electrification, an area that is not new but is witnessing a major revisit by the marine transportation and defense industries. As early as World War I and later World War II, submarines used electric motor propulsion and batteries in addition to diesel propulsion; examples include the US L-class, British R-class, German XXI-class, Japanese I-200 class, and other submarines. While the battery and DC motor weight and control were hindering factors, electrification of marine propulsion continued to be of interest. More recently, both commercial and military marine propulsion systems have returned to hybrid and pure-electric propulsion due to enhanced power electronic converters and devices, advanced micro-grid and motor drive control algorithms (since the power system on large marine vessels are like isolated micro-grids), and enhanced electric machines and insulation capabilities.

By Lynn J. Petersen and Terry S Ericsen

In 1994, the Power Electronic Building Block (PEBB) program was initiated by ONR. The PEBB program was an integrated program of material, device, circuit, and system science and technology development [1]. The core objective of the program was to reduce the size, weight, and cost of power electronics to realize power electronics shipboard power systems to enable future affordable and powerful electric warships. ONR had been developing wide-bandgap (WBG) material, device, circuit technologies for sensor systems, and had been doing so since the 1960’s.  The PEBB Program Office was formed to focus these efforts for shipboard power systems. 

The organizing committee is pleased to invite members of the IEEE Transportation Electrification Community to the seventh Electric Ship Technology Symposium (ESTS), which will be held August 15-17, 2017 in the Washington, DC metro area.  The original vision for ESTS was formed in 2003 as part of efforts commissioned by the IEEE Technical Activities Board to identify important technology trends which were under-served at that time.  During these planning activities, significant interest was identified in technologies associated with the development of all-electric ships; and it was recognized that no dedicated IEEE conference or society was in place to support these efforts.  As a result, planning for an electric-ship conference was initiated, culminating in the first ESTS which was held in Philadelphia, PA in 2005.  

by W. Peter Symington & Claude Desjardins


Over the past 12 months, Australian politicians have been endorsing plans for one of the largest coal mines in the world [1], while the Great Barrier Reef is being damaged by recurrent bleaching events due to global warming [2].  In contrast to this disturbing mix of climate change denial and evidence on Australia’s east coast, an all-electric ferry has been sparkling like an Argyle diamond on Australia’s west coast.  The 11-passenger, all-electric ferry, “Ellie J” (Figure 1) has been operating for over 12 months on the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia.  

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