The RRS Sir David Attenborough achieved an important milestone at Cammell Laird’s shipyard this month with the commissioning and testing of its power systems.
The ship is in the final stages of construction.
One of the most advanced vessels of its type in the world, the new polar research ship for Britain will transform how ship-borne science is carried out in the Polar Regions. It is capable of breaking through ice one metre thick at a speed of 3 knots, and will allow up to 30 crew members, plus 60 scientists and support staff, to access some of the most remote locations on the planet.
According to a news release:
“Engineering teams at Cammell Laird report that the ship has begun fully operating on its own power for the first time. The shipyard has begun load testing the ship’s generators to 100 per cent, marking another important milestone.”
John Drummond, Project Director at Cammell Laird, said:
“Testing the ship’s power is a great moment in the final stages of the build, and a very visible sign of the huge amount of technical and engineering work that has been undertaken. This truly unique ship is state-of-the-art and highly complex – we are proud to be getting it ready for sea.”
The ship’s diesel-electric propulsion system is powered by two six-cylinder and two nine-cylinder Rolls-Royce Bergen engines. These provide electrical power generation for the electric propulsion motors, auxiliary systems and hotel services. The configuration of different engine sizes allows for efficient operation across the wide range of conditions that the vessel is likely to encounter.
The generators are supported by battery banks that ensure that the generators run at as near to as constant loading as possible in order to smooth the variable loading normally seen in seagoing vessels. This more constant loading will result in an increase in efficiency and therefore lower diesel consumption, say the firm.