For behind the scenes pictures, stories and special contests, follow us on Facebook!
Subscribe:

Electric Powered Ships Now A Possibility Thanks To New Superconducting Motors

Superconducting Ship Motor (Image courtesy New Scientist Invention Blog) By Andrew Liszewski

We all know that electric powered vehicles are currently the best option when it comes to efficiency and protecting the environment. But when you see the amount of batteries needed just to power an electric car you can only imagine what would be required to power something like an ocean going freighter.

However engineers have actually been looking into using highly efficient superconducting electric motors to power large ships as an alternative to diesel. Of course the main problem is that superconductors only operate at temperatures close to absolute zero, or about -273.15°C. But Siemens thinks they have found a solution with a new motor they designed that uses high-temperature superconductors that work at about -140°C. By placing these motors in large pods under the ship (like many cruise ships use these days) the surrounding seawater will work as a very efficient cooling system dissipating enough heat for the motor to function at the required temperature.

If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts about how this is supposed to work you can check out the Siemens Patent Application on the US Patent & Trademark Office website.

[ Superconducting ships @ New Scientist Invention Blog ]








  • http://www.hizook.com Travis

    Not only is super-conducting motors not a “new” invention, but they’re already been deployed! I think Siemens is just trying to keep up by applying for “obvious” inventions in the application space.

    You can read more about the one developed by American Superconductor here: Hizook.com

  • Keith

    The title is a bit misleading as well.. There are already plenty of electic powere ships. Most large ships use electric motors to propel the ship.

  • Anonymous

    All Nuclear powered Naval ships and submarines are electric motors. They run for 20 years before needing to refuel.

  • Create

    I am sorry to say but what you mention in the lead is totally wrong.
    “We all know that electric powered vehicles are currently the best option when it comes to efficiency and protecting the environment.”
    This is just not true. Electric power is generated mainly by burning fossiles just as a simple car engine only a bit more efficient. Delivering electric power has losses. Electric motors are not 100% efficient also. (Not mentioning huge batterie banks full of acids, lead and other “environment-friendly” materials.)
    The only thing which is good to the environment is NOT burning fossiles. Like building more wind power generator.

  • anonymous

    Actually it is significantly better to have vehicle running off the grid than to have it running off of oil. It’s better but no the best. An Electric motor efficiency is in the mid 90′s% so you can’t ask for much better there. Transmission losses seem to top out around 15%, so again you can’t ask for much improvement there. Batteries in the new generation electric cars are no longer lead acid. They are either li-ion or ni-MH. Huge advances have been made in li-ion eliminating the overheating/fire issues and both are very safe and pretty much harmless now Wind can not solve all of our problems as the wind is not always blowing. It has to be coupled with another system.

    Doing research first is usually quite helpful

  • http://www.about2cruise.co.uk Find Cruises

    engineers have actually been looking into using highly efficient superconducting electric motors to power large ships as an alternative to diesel. Of course the main problem is that superconductors only operate at temperatures close to absolute zero

  • http://www.about2cruise.co.uk Find Cruises

    engineers have actually been looking into using highly efficient superconducting electric motors to power large ships as an alternative to diesel. Of course the main problem is that superconductors only operate at temperatures close to absolute zero

  • http://www.about2cruise.co.uk Find Cruises

    engineers have actually been looking into using highly efficient superconducting electric motors to power large ships as an alternative to diesel. Of course the main problem is that superconductors only operate at temperatures close to absolute zero