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New electric motors cut carbon emissions for the shipping industry

3 May 2023

2 minutes to read

New electric motors cut carbon emissions for the shipping industry

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between hybridisation experts at the University of Exeter and Lynch Motors has developed exciting new products for a greener maritime future.

When it comes to quality, Lynch Motors are world-leaders with over 25 years of experience. But with the introduction of the Clean Maritime Plan – a Government aim for a 40% reduction in vessel emissions by 2030 – they began looking for an alternative option to diesel-engines for small boat owners.

Embarking on finding a solution with the University of Exeter, Professor Chris Smith and KTP Associate, Richard Creek, worked closely with Lynch Motors to find a way to reduce the 1bn tonnes of carbon dioxide produced by the shipping industry every year.

The answer was twofold. Firstly, to develop a new larger electric motor that was efficient, powerful and cheaper than other electric motors on the market. Through simulation-driven design processes a new 12-pole electric motor design was created, adding 50% more power to the Lynch Motor range, with a first prototype successfully tested shortly after project completion. This new motor will expand market opportunities for Lynch Motors within the marine sector by extending the size of vessels it can be installed into with a target of electric-only drive.

Secondly, a new diesel-electric parallel hybrid assembly design was drawn up using an electro-magnetic clutch. A modified motor controller, required to support using existing Lynch motors as a generator, was sourced after successfully establishing a new partnership with a UK supplier. Finally, a programmable battery management solution was then developed to control the engagement of the clutch under the different hybrid modes: diesel drive, electric motor drive or diesel-to-electric generator (to provide additional means to recharge the battery supply).

The experts at Exeter were able to support Lynch in anticipating potential engineering challenges and development costs. For instance, beyond targeting performance requirements, the new motor design also focused on optimizing the geometry of components to minimize raw material use while keeping in mind ease and costs of machining. In tandem, Lynch Motors also benefited by extending their in-house manufacturing capabilities to combat the industry-wide supply chain issues brought on by Brexit, Covid-19, and the war in Ukraine.

There are 265,000 small boats in the UK that still use combustion engines. Lynch Motor’s ‘Red Snapper’ electric hybrid motor/generator has retrofit capabilities which mean that boat owners can install a cleaner, greener electric hybrid solution at low cost alongside their existing combustion engine. Whilst this feature means boat-owners can reduce their carbon footprints, it also massively reduces waste, making it possible to extend the life of a vessel rather than replace it.

Lynch Motors have hired Richard as a full-time employee for the final stages of prototype assembly and field trials testing as they go on to lead in a new, greener, market.

This KTP was rated ‘Very Good’ by Innovate UK.

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Professor Chris Smith
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