By John R. Snyder, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
ore than 4 million hybrid vehicles quietly hum along on U.S. roads, zipping past gas stations as they pile up the miles. That’s the most of any country except for Japan. But when it comes to hybrid commercial marine vessels, the U.S. is still in the earliest stages of adopting this eco-friendly technology, with only a handful of coastal vessels built or in operation. But a relatively small U.S. shipyard with a long history of innovation is quietly doing its part to help change that. Marking its 70th anniversary this year, Derecktor Shipyards in Mamaroneck, NY, is set to deliver its second hybrid research vessel. Built for the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRIJB), the 65 ft x 21 ft aluminum catamaran will be used to carry out multi-disciplinary research in Jamaica Bay, as well as in other bays and estuaries around the metropolitan New
32 Marine Log // May 2017
York area. This summer, you might see it in New York Harbor, near Breezy Point, NY, or close to Sandy Hook, NJ. The CUNY research vessel is based on the same Incat Crowther design as Derecktor’s first hybrid newbuild, the R/V Spirit of the Sound, built three years ago for the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk (Connecticut). The new cat incorporates some of the lessons learned from the R/V Spirit of the Sound, as well as some owner-driven changes, according to Derecktor Shipyards General Manager Micah Tucker and Project Manager Joe Goodspeed. “While it has the same technology as the previous boat,” says Tucker, “we’ve made some advancements. The new hybrid vessel has a Siemens PLC controller for vessel alarm and monitoring, as well as the hybrid system controls. It is a touchscreen display that shows everything from tankage to fire alarms to bilge pumps.” Tucker says the hybrid system has a force
engine off mode (completely silent), auto mode where the engine stops and starts as needed, and a force engine on mode—which you use to charge up the batteries or keep the engines on for testing. “To start the system up, you literally just turn a key. That’s it,” says Tucker. The heart of the hybrid system is supplied by BAE Systems. BAE Systems cut its teeth on hybrid propulsion technology in buses. Some 7,000 transit buses are powered by the company’s HybriGen technology. The catamaran has two BAE HybriDrive Marine Systems, with ISG variable speed AC generator sets, and two traction motors. The lithium-ion battery system is supplied by Corvus Energy. When using battery power alone, the boat will be able to operate at full throttle of 15 knots for about an hour, but can operate for up to 6 hours when cruising at 8 to 10 knots. The new boat pulls 170 kW of power out of each side from the electric motors.
Photo: John R. Snyder
Derecktor Shipyards builds second hybrid aluminum cat, gets ready to construct a third