When Royal IHC, a leading Dutch supplier of vessels, equipment and services for the maritime industry, sought to decarbonise its range of Beaver® cutter suction dredger (CSD) ships, it turned to WEG. Royal IHC’s step towards a more sustainable future was to develop an all-new fleet of electrically powered Beaver CSD vessels. But to power them, it needed a high-performance electric motor that suited the Beaver’s technical specifications. Royal IHC chose WEG’s WGM20 water jacket cooled motor.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has challenged the shipping industry to cut annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least half by 2050, compared to 2008. The electrification of shipping vessels will play a crucial role in these efforts. In fact, forecasts suggest that the market for electric dredging will grow by 5.3 per cent between 2020 and 2027. To ensure it is working in alignment with the industry’s goals, Royal IHC launched its portfolio of electrical vessels as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Electrically powered vessels

Among these was the Beaver® E, a fully electrically powered version of the standard Beaver. Royal IHC required the new vessel to maintain its diesel predecessor’s reputation for reliability, versatility and high performance, while also operating in a more environmentally responsible way.

For the first time, the dredge pump of each vessel would be powered an electric motor. This application is essential to the dredging process. By creating a vacuum, the system pumps water and sediments from the seabed into the vessel's hold for transportation. For such a vital part of each vessel, Royal IHC’s motor selection was imperative.

Technical specifications included a specific power rating, rotational speed, cooling system, insulation class, and a level of protection against environmental factors such as humidity and seawater. Other factors to consider include the motor's size, weight, and overall efficiency, as well as its compatibility with the vessel's power supply and control systems. Royal IHC called on WEG’s engineers to determine the best solution for this application. After considerations, WEG specified the WGM20 water jacket cooled motor.

Total care for the motor

The WGM20 is a high-performance electric motor ideal for marine, offshore and heavy-duty industrial applications. Its robust, reliable and innovative design meets or exceeds the IE4 efficiency requirements for electric motors, established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The IEC categorises motors into efficiency classes (IE1 to IE4) to guide motor selection, promote energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

The innovative design of the WGM20 includes advanced cooling technology that optimises heat dissipation and reduces energy losses, consumption and operating costs. In addition to efficient heat dissipation, the motor’s high starting torque, low vibrations and a compact design suit demanding environments. The motor's durability is enhanced by its resistance to water and corrosion. This also makes the motor a versatile solution for pumps in offshore environments.

“This motor not only provides the required power for the dredge pump but was also provided with a service and maintenance package,” said Robbert Vlekke, development sales manager for high voltage and medium voltage solutions at WEG.

“We’re responsible for providing total care for the motor during the storage period until it is installed in the Beaver, as well as providing complete onboard storage and service until commissioning. This service ensures that the motor is in good condition, and ready to use when it is installed on the dredge ship”.

WEG was chosen for its interaction with Royal IHC during the quotation phase, which demonstrated the ability of WEG’s to understand the customer's needs.

“Royal IHC and WEG have developed a close partnership based on their understanding of each other's needs,” continued Vlekke. “WEG has service locations all around the world, which makes it possible for Royal IHC to receive support wherever its dredging ships are located”.

 “This close partnership, and WEG’s ample experience supplying motors to other electrified shipping projects, has allowed our team to fully understand the risks and challenges faced by Royal IHC, making it possible for them to provide a complete solution that meets all of the requirements”.

Looking ahead, Royal IHC and WEG are committed to a lasting partnership, and the ongoing development of future fleets of electrified Beaver CSDs. Royal IHC wants to play a leading role in providing sustainable vessels to its customers in the maritime industry — and a trusted partner like WEG can support these plans for the industry, and for the planet.