Application-optimised propulsion systems for energy-efficient operation

  • Stefan Kaul SCHOTTEL GmbH, Spay/Rhine, Germany.
  • Paul Mertes SCHOTTEL GmbH, Spay/Rhine, Germany.
  • Lutz Müller SCHOTTEL GmbH, Spay/Rhine, Germany.


Today, optimal propellers are designed by using advanced numerical methods. Major revolutionary improvements cannot be expected. More essential are the design conditions and the optimal adaptation of the propulsion system according to the operational requirements. The selection and optimisation of the propulsion system based on a systematic analysis of the ship’s requirements and the operation profile are the prerequisites for reliable and energy-efficient propulsion. Solutions are presented, which accommodate these issues with a focus on steerable rudderpropellers. Considerations include the efficiency potential of the propulsor itself, optimisation of the engine propeller interaction, and optimisation of a demandresponsive energy supply. The propeller-thruster interaction is complex, but offers some potential for optimisation. Results of examinations show this. The power distribution between multiple propellers at high loads of limited propeller diameters increases the efficiency. This can be done by double-propeller systems like the SCHOTTEL TwinPropeller or by distributing the power on several thrusters. This distributed propulsion offers economic operation and an increased lifetime by means of the demandresponsive use of energy. An efficiency-optimized electric motor instead of the upper gear box reduces the mechanical losses in the case of diesel-electric propulsion. An example: the SCHOTTEL CombiDrive.


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J.P.BRESLIN AND P. ANDERSEN. Hydrodynamics Of Ship Propellers, Cambridge Ocean Technology Series 3, Cambridge University Press 1994.

SVA-Report 3093, Freifahrtversuche mit dem SCD2020, Potsdam 2005, unpublished.

SVA-Report 19/3160, Kavitationsversuche mit dem SCD2020, Potsdam 2005, unpublished.

How to Cite
Kaul, S., Mertes, P., & Müller, L. (2011). Application-optimised propulsion systems for energy-efficient operation. Ciencia Y tecnología De Buques, 5(9), 87-98.
Scientific and Technological Research Articles