GE Powers US Navy’s 1st Full-Electric Power and Propulsion Ship

The first full-electric power and propulsion surface combatant, the USS Zumwalt, has been delivered to the US Navy.

The electric propulsion solution delivers efficiency, survivability, cost-of-ownership reductions, and system redundancy for enhanced vessel safety. In addition, machinery layout is more flexible and configurable.

As the top integrated electric power and propulsion provider to navies around the world, GE leveraged proven technologies for its innovative full-electric propulsion system and will continue to build on those innovations going forward.

(STL.News) The US Navy has taken delivery of the USS Zumwalt, its first full-electric power and propulsion ship. GE’s Power Conversion business (NYSE:GE) was the designer and provider for the high-voltage system (HV), propulsion drive trains consisting of multi-phase converters and Advanced Induction Motors (AIM) for the DDG 1000 class of futuristic destroyers.

“Delivery is an important milestone for the Navy, as the DDG 1000 continues more advanced at-sea testing of the Zumwalt Combat System,” Capt. Kevin Smith, DDG 1000 program manager, said in a Navy statement -”The combat test team, consisting of the DDG 1000 sailors, Raytheon engineers, and Navy field activity teams, have worked diligently to get USS Zumwalt ready for more complex, multi-mission at-sea testing.”

With delivery, the USS Zumwalt continues to execute missions for the US Navy.

Power where it’s needed

For navies around the globe, power and energy are mission enablers, according to Kevin Byrne, who leads the North American marine segment for GE’s Power Conversion business.  “Because electric power is needed for various operations and mission systems in parallel, this full-electric power and propulsion ship has the flexibility to direct energy where it is needed on the platform,” he said.

The electric propulsion solution delivers efficiency, cost-of-ownership reductions, and system redundancy for enhanced vessel safety.  In addition, machinery layout is more flexible and configurable for containment and isolation.

Employing GE’s innovative and Integrated Power System (IPS), the DDG 1000 has the capacity to distribute electricity across the entire ship, allowing for enhanced power flexibility for various operational requirements.

Both of GE’s drive trains have two electric motors in tandem.  VDM25000 power converters with three independent channels accompany the 15-phase AIM.  Each motor drive train can operate on 5, 10, or 15 phases. This provides high redundancy and is more economical when running at lower power.  GE’s AIM drive train was selected to meet the requirements of the ZUMWALT Class Destroyer.

Compact enough for combatant ships and powerful enough for an aircraft carrier, AIM technology has demonstrated its performance over more than two decades on land and at sea for mechanical strength, robustness, very low maintenance, and naval performance requirements.  For the full-electric propulsion system, GE leveraged its proven technologies, building from the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) land-based test site and its own Marine Power Test Facility in the UK, alongside the UK Royal Navy Type 45 program, Byrne explained.  “The US Navy gets benefits from our other platforms that we then could apply to the DDG 1000 and future platforms.”

With 72 MW of propulsion power, GE’s Integrated Full Electric Propulsion (IFEP) system comprises all shipboard electrical power generation and propulsion including the propulsion motor, VDM25000 variable speed drives, switchboards, and HV equipment.  Offering improved efficiency, the electric drive eliminates the need for the drive shaft and reduction gears and brings benefits in acoustic signature reduction, an increase in available power for operational requirements and improvements in the quality of life for crew.  The all-electric propulsion of Zumwalt also generates additional reserved power, allowing the integration of future high-energy defense systems and sensors.