Regional News - News on Marine Electrification in India

India has a broad coastline in which several new ports are being developed and the existing ports are being expanded to cater to future maritime trade, and the amount of maritime traffic is expected to increase at all the ports. With the growing seaport infrastructure, there is a need to employ more Short Endurance Marine Vessels (SEMV) to administer the port operations effectively. As the world moves towards a greener future, replacing marine vessels' diesel engines with electric propulsion systems is quintessential to reduce the carbon footprint at the Indian seaports. 

The munificent financial support of The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India stimulates the collaborative research of Hydropower Simulation Laboratory (HSL) of the Dept. of Water Resources Development and Management, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee and Indian Maritime University, Visakhapatnam. The Visakhapatnam Port Trust is providing significant information about various types of marine vessels and their operational schedules and expected design feasibilities. In this collaborative research, HSL successfully completed a project targeted to improve the fuel efficiency of Diesel–Electric tugboats with asynchronous variable speed power generating units by two effective methods. 

1) Optimizing the operational schedule of available power sources [Diesel Engine Generators and batteries] to meet its load demand to minimize fuel consumption. 
2) A coordinated control strategy based on a state machine control algorithm for real-time tugboat operational cycle obtained from Visakhapatnam port, India.

The fuel savings obtained by the above methods are 29.86% and 26.42%, respectively, compared to the traditional diesel-mechanical tugboat propulsion system.  
The ongoing research on the absolute battery-operated SEMV comprises:

1) Design and optimization of vessels' hull form and propeller based on parametric analysis. 
2) Optimal design of Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor for low-speed, high-torque direct propulsion drive application without gearing arrangement. 
3) The multi-level inverter topologies for short endurance marine propulsion application with fault-tolerant analysis. 
4) Studying the electrical and thermal characteristics of lithium-ion batteries and the Battery Management Systems. 
5) Detailed mathematical modeling of the marine electric powertrain. 
6) Studying the allocation of charging portfolios based on the SEMV type, application, and rating of the onboard battery bank and investigating the level of applicability of wireless power transfer type charging at Indian ports. 

The research intended to benefit the Indian ports by zeroing the carbon emissions from SEMV, reducing total emissions. Moreover, by optimal design, overall powertrain efficiency will increase, and vibration-free maneuver is possible even at higher vessel speeds, which prolongs the vessel life.


Senior Research Fellow
Hydropower Simulation Lab., IIT Roorkee

Thanga Raj Chelliah
Hydropower Simulation Lab., IIT Roorkee


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