GE powers first RCN full-electric ice patrol vessel

The Royal Canadian Navy's first full-electric power and propulsion ice class patrol vessel, HMCS <i>Harry DeWolf</i> (Image: Irving Shipbuilding Inc.)The Royal Canadian Navy’s first full-electric power and propulsion ice class patrol vessel, HMCS Harry DeWolf (Image: Irving Shipbuilding Inc.)

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has taken delivery of HMCS Harry DeWolf, its first full-electric power and propulsion ice class patrol vessel with combat package.

The vessel was delivered from Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in July 2020. The vessel is the first of six Harry DeWolf class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) ordered by the RCN. As the vessel is designed for long range operations above the Arctic Circle, it has specialist capability for operations in multi-year ice.

GE’s Power Conversion division was the designer and supplier of the high-voltage electric power system (HV) and electric propulsion drive trains for the Harry DeWolf class of AOPS vessels.

GE’s Integrated Full Electrical Power and Propulsion System (IFEP) for the AOPS vessels includes rugged induction propulsion motors, variable frequency drive converters for propulsion and bow thrusters, engine generators, medium voltage switchboards, distribution and propulsion transformers, bow thruster motor, commissioning, and sea trials support. The vessel boasts 9MW of installed nominal power propulsion power.

GE’s electric propulsion solution delivers energy efficiency, reduced cost-of-ownership and system redundancy for enhanced vessel operations in Canada’s Arctic waters.

For the full-electric propulsion system, GE leveraged its proven technologies, building on recent experience in providing power and propulsion solutions for naval ice class vessels for South Africa and Chile, as well as other commercial vessels.

GE’s drive train for each of the two propulsion shafts includes GE’s proven MV7000 variable frequency drive which is used in many vessel types around the world as well as in numerous industrial applications. Each shaft is directly powered by a slow speed induction motor with optimized design for ice operations, including an ability to deliver high intermittent over-torque at zero and low RPM should the propellers encounter heavy ice loads. The electric propulsion system also eliminates the need for propulsion reduction gears, an important factor for ships operating in heavy, multi-year ice conditions. These features make the AOPS propulsion solution highly suitable for a variety of other ice class vessels that could operate in the Arctic and Antarctic.

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