With the effects of global warming, the North Sea Route has become an economic option for cargo transportation because of the shorter distance between East Asia and Europe. Generally, conventional mechanical propulsion systems installed in ice-capable tankers suffer from significant drawbacks because of poor fuel efficiency when sailing at low speed, therefore, advanced technologies have been applied such as diesel electric and nuclear-powered propulsion; however, drawbacks still exist. Hybrid propulsion is a more environmental-friendly, economical solution for ships with icebreaking capability, which can address the drawbacks in both diesel electric and nuclear power systems. In this paper, modeling of system components is presented and implemented in MATLAB Simulink. A primary control strategy is applied to the system to ensure system stability, and an advanced secondary strategy is developed and applied to the power sources to minimize fuel consumption. Given two scenarios, the simulation results of the hybrid propulsion system developed in this research and those of diesel electric propulsion systems with DC and AC distribution systems are compared and indicate that the hybrid system can offer up to 22.4% fuel savings over ice-loading condition, and 39.5% fuel reduction over the particular voyage of varying speed in open water is applied in this paper.


In recent years, some sea routes that were previously blocked by ice have become increasingly accessible in the warmest months of the year due to the effects of global warming. Researchers have estimated that, by 2030, the percentage of Arctic shipping will have increased to 25% of cargo trade between Europe and Asia (Lasserre 2019).

Northern Sea Route (NSR) shipping provides benefits for international trade, but challenges still exist. Increasing carbon emissions have seriously impacted the Arctic environment (Hassol & Corell 2006). Table 1 shows the total number of ships using Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) in Arctic waters in 2015, and associated black carbon emissions, as published by the IMO (Comer et al. 2017). As it is shown, oil tankers made up just 4.5% of all ships entering Arctic waters but despite their low proportion, they were responsible for 17% of black carbon emissions. Thus, an environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient propulsion system to reduce these emissions from tankers trading in Arctic waters is required.

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