Total and PUC-Rio develop groundbreaking project of conversion of a hybrid boat for offshore activities in Brazil
Total, in partnership with the Center of Development in Energy and Vehicles at PUC-Rio (Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro) is developing a groundbreaking technology in Brazil, of conversion of conventional diesel-electric vessels to optimized hybrid propulsion. The project, with conclusion scheduled for the first half of 2022, has been prepared focused on the research and application of this system of generation of energy on a Class 4500 PSV-type support vessel. The investment will be made by Total with funds inherent to the Research, Development and Innovation (“RD&I”) Clause contained in the concession contracts with the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP).
Begun in January 2020, the project proposes installation of a bank of batteries parallel to the vessel’s diesel-driven generating sets, in such a way as to alternate diesel and battery use for generating electric power. One of the differentials is that dimensioning this bank of batteries will be optimized, considering the vessel’s actual demand for energy, along with its technical specifications. With this innovative strategy, it is expected to achieve a reduction in the costs of conversion, allowing this more economical model to be applied on other vessels in Brazil. Depending on the operation, a reduction of 40% in the vessel’s use of diesel is foreseen, with a consequent reduction of some 50% in emissions of pollutant gases (NOx and methane).
Different benefits can be observed from the hybrid system: the batteries absorb the large instantaneous variations of load, allowing the generators to operate in a more stable regime, while also displaying a much shorter response time than conventional motors, affording better control of the vessel.
“It is important to note that this project is among our first partnerships in Research and Development with Brazilian universities and we are very optimistic about the promising work with PUC-Rio. Total believes in the value of the knowledge generated by universities in Brazil, and wants to be ever more active in bringing together industry and the academic world, seeking to promote innovation in the country. The industry knows its needs and has the technical expertise over its operations. Combined with the capacity for technological development of the universities, this gives them great power to transform and develop groundbreaking solutions for the oil and gas sector”, analyzes Isabel Waclawek, Research & Development Director at Total E&P do Brasil.
The project of the hybrid boat is structured into three stages: the first, in progress, contemplates the boat’s instrumentation, development of a simulator to test the hybrid boat, and an analysis of safety risks and environmental impact.
Scheduled to start in the second half of 2020, the second phase foresees dimensioning the bank of batteries, pre-testing in the lab at PUC-Rio, and installation of the system of hybridization. The final stage, with finalization planned for 2022, will observe monitoring the operating conditions and quantification of the cuts in fuel consumption and emissions, carrying out tests in the Lapa Field, operated by Total in the Santos Basin Pre-Salt.
Part of the capital from the project will go towards modernizing the PUC-Rio laboratory at Xerem, in Rio de Janeiro, which will receive new equipment and resources to advance in research for the oil and gas segment.