Design and control of hybrid power and propulsion systems for smart ships: A review of developments

R. D. Geertsma*, R. R. Negenborn, K. Visser, J. J. Hopman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

348 Citations (Scopus)
473 Downloads (Pure)


The recent trend to design more efficient and versatile ships has increased the variety in hybrid propulsion and power supply architectures. In order to improve performance with these architectures, intelligent control strategies are required, while mostly conventional control strategies are applied currently. First, this paper classifies ship propulsion topologies into mechanical, electrical and hybrid propulsion, and power supply topologies into combustion, electrochemical, stored and hybrid power supply. Then, we review developments in propulsion and power supply systems and their control strategies, to subsequently discuss opportunities and challenges for these systems and the associated control. We conclude that hybrid architectures with advanced control strategies can reduce fuel consumption and emissions up to 10–35%, while improving noise, maintainability, manoeuvrability and comfort. Subsequently, the paper summarises the benefits and drawbacks, and trends in application of propulsion and power supply technologies, and it reviews the applicability and benefits of promising advanced control strategies. Finally, the paper analyses which control strategies can improve performance of hybrid systems for future smart and autonomous ships and concludes that a combination of torque, angle of attack, and Model Predictive Control with dynamic settings could improve performance of future smart and more autonomous ships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-54
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Control system technologies
  • Defence industry
  • Electrical propulsion
  • Energy storage
  • Hybrid propulsion
  • Marine systems
  • Non-linear control systems
  • Power systems
  • Ship design
  • Shipbuilding industry

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