Echandia Marine has developed the concept of Flexible Electrification™, which allows the ship owner to make small steps towards electrification if required for financial reasons or because a charging station is not yet available. This allows a diesel electric driveline to be converted to fully electric simply by expanding the battery set. Ship owners can instantly meet future sustainability demands from transport authorities and other bodies and apply for EU, national or local environmental grants to pay for the upgrade.
The main energy source is a diesel generator. Initial investment, emissions and energy efficiency are comparable to a conventional diesel driveline at this stage*.
When charging infrastructure is available to charge the ship, the boat can be upgraded to fuly electric simply by increasing the number of batteries. The software upgrade is free. The requirement of a generator set depends on whether the batteries will be supercharged or charged overnight. In the case of supercharging, the generator set will only be used for emergency or longer transport off-charging facilities. The real benefits kick in at this stage; with a fully electric boat, emissions are zero, energy efficiency triples and operating costs may be halved**.
The fuel sources of the future, such as solar cells and fuel cells, can easily be plugged into the system without changing anything.
*As the initial investment is the same, flexible electrification is not recommended when building a new ship.
** The gain in operating costs will depend on national prerequisites such as tax and subsidies on diesel and electricity as well as emission charges.
Maintenance costs will also be reduced.