Berg links with Yaskawa to accelerate drive into electric propulsion

Sweden-based Berg Propulsion has signed a key supplier and cooperation agreement to provide systems integration capability for Yaskawa Environmental Energy/The Switch permanent magnet (PM) and power electronics products. The cooperation creates a new and combined force offering the robustness and efficiency of propulsion systems where electric motors directly drive the propeller shaft, consolidating Berg’s growing presence in electric propulsion.

Sweden-based Berg Propulsion has signed a key supplier and cooperation agreement to provide systems integration capability for Yaskawa Environmental Energy/The Switch permanent magnet (PM) and power electronics products. The cooperation creates a new and combined force offering the robustness and efficiency of propulsion systems where electric motors directly drive the propeller shaft, consolidating Berg’s growing presence in electric propulsion.

“This is the latest step in Berg’s strategy to become a fully-fledged electrical propulsion systems integrator,” said Stefan Sedersten, CEO, Berg Propulsion. “This unique cooperation underlines the mainstream role we envisage for electric ship propulsion in the coming years, based on its efficiency and its ability to reduce emissions. Yaskawa/The Switch offer an innovative approach and a portfolio which provides an excellent match with Berg products and expertise. This is a partnership ready to deliver high-performance solutions in a market ripe for change.”

Berg’s integrator role would see the company take primary responsibility for complete system definition, installation, commissioning and customer care, said Sedersten. Yaskawa Environmental Energy/The Switch will provide PM machines and power electronics products and offer technical and training support. The partners envisage working together on solution development to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving large-vessel market and carry out joint marketing activities.

“The direct-drive electric propulsion market for large ships based on PM technology is right now in its infancy,” said Miika Reinikka, Yaskawa Environmental Energy/The Switch Division President. “Strengthening our collaboration will enable us to influence the trajectory of the market by electrification and to provide energy-efficient, flexible and future-proof electric propulsion and power generation solutions. This will allow shipping companies to meet demanding emission reduction targets.”

“Formalising this arrangement will allow us to build on the success of a number of electrical integration and hybrid vessel projects Berg has already overseen,” said Jonas Nyberg, Managing Director West, Berg Propulsion. “Systems integration has become a core activity for Berg and is our fastest growing business area marketed and sold through our global sales and distribution network.”

Berg and Yaskawa Environmental Energy have already collaborated on an initial integrated project, delivering a gearless system to Canadian shipowner CSL to ensure that propulsion on board a large bulk carrier will be less vulnerable to ice damage while maximising efficiency. The vessel has four variable speed diesel-electric gensets with a combined total power of 9.5MW. With Berg responsible for systems design, automation and integration, shafts will be powered by The Switch direct-drive gearless 3MW PM electric motors. Yaskawa Environmental Energy is also supplying PM generators, DC-Hubs with Electronic Bus Links (EBLs) and Electronic DC Breakers (EDCBs). Berg is also delivering fully feathering controllable-pitch propellers and its patented Twin Fin solution.

The new combination of technology and systems integration expertise provides owners with a solution to convert vessel projects from geared installations to direct-drive applications with fixed pitch and controllable pitch propellers, said Nyberg.

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