Ottawa funds green technology for UVic research ship

- Valerie Shore

he University of Victoria is aiming for a world-first in green shipping technology, thanks to new funding from the federal government.
In July, Western Economic Diversification Canada announced $1.19 million in funding to help transform UVic’s recently acquired research vessel into the world’s first plug-in hybrid “green ship” powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and low-emission diesel fuel.

The hybrid system will provide energy for low-speed maneuvering and station-keeping and will supply high-quality power for ship systems, communications and instrumentation.

“This support for our world-class coastal research vessel is greatly appreciated and helps maintain Canada’s leadership in the design and application of clean energy technologies,” says Dr. Howard Brunt, UVic’s vice-president research. “The project is an excellent example of how governments, industry and universities are working together to enhance the well-being of Canadians.”
The 26.7-metre ship, previously known as the Tsekoa II, was acquired earlier this year from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, where it was used for maintenance and fishery patrols by the Canadian Coast Guard.

UVic will manage the ship as a regional facility for research on changing ocean ecosystems, marine resources of coastal BC, and continental shelf dynamics. It will also service nearshore sections of UVic’s Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) Observatory.
But first comes the transformation. During the refit, the ship will be cut in half and a new section added to bring the total length to 36.6 metres. The new section will include a science lab and additional berths to accommodate 15 crew and scientists.

The new green propulsion system will feature innovative power management software that will optimize the use of the ship’s generators and batteries during high-demand, long-distance cruising or submersible operations.

The green technology is a collaboration between the green transportation research team in UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic) and BC’s marine engineering and alternative power system sectors.

By demonstrating this new green ship technology, UVic is opening the door for a wide range of applications in the marine sector, both for research and commercial purposes. A hybrid system is quieter, more efficient and cleaner than traditional marine engines.

The refit contract is expected to go out for bids by the end of this year, with a relaunch targeted for late 2012. The ship’s new name has not yet been determined.

Funding for the refit has also been provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the BC Knowledge Development Fund, and industry partners.

Video tour of the ship:


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Keywords: uvics, green, ship

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