GE Energy Management has signed a contract with French electrical engineering company Cegelec in Brittany, France to supply a complete static power solution for the French Navy. The solution will use GE’s advanced Static Frequency Converters (SFCs) technology to provide high conversion efficiency and a safe and reliable power transfer from the electric power grid to the French naval vessels while in port.
“To keep vessels charged fast and on time, the French Navy requires a reliable and stable supply of electricity. GE’s converter technology allows an efficient and secured transition of energy,” said Thierry Bideau, lead engineer, Cegelec. “It is exciting to work with GE to see how this brings value and benefits achieved together that improves the efficiency and reliability of power conversion.”
The public grid in France operates on a frequency of 50Hz and must be converted for use of electrical systems on board of French naval vessels, which can function on different frequencies according to the type of ship. GE’s power solution has very low harmonics levels, ensuring high power quality. This clean electricity helps avoid disturbance on the transmission line, which could create network faults and energy losses. In fact, the conditions of coupling a vessel to the onshore grid are critical and it is necessary to ensure that during these operations the power demand does not lead to the destabilisation of the grid upstream. This power demand must be gradual, controlled and synchronised through "intelligent" automation.
Modular design allows a smaller footprint and is therefore highly flexible during installation and also allows for future power upgrades. The compact design also means higher power density of the equipment, ensuring the conversion of electricity in a more efficient, secured and reliable manner.
GE’s SFC allows several loads, meaning several ships can be charged at the same time. Each converter can hold an overload of 150% for a short period, leaving enough time for the automatic coupling of a supplementary SFC. This means that when a new ship is charged, the immediate increased load will not disturb other ships that are already charging, allowing the smooth operation without load impact.
“Our system was designed based on our extensive expertise in the power quality sector,” said Didier Dupont, sales manager, GE Power Conversion. “But what makes this project even more exciting is the possibility of seamless future expansion. We can adapt and optimise the Harmonic Filter upstream to the converter frequency according to the grid evolution, allowing easy implementation of extra power capacity if needed in the future, all while keeping the benefit of a simple installation.”
A special storage device and smart control are also being developed to provide reliable energy supply when micro cuts occur, ensuring continuation of the power supply. GE’s smart management during events of micro-cuts is proven to be able to avoid tripping clients’ installations several times per year.
Apart from supply of the equipment, GE’s Power Conversion business will also take responsibility of equipment design, commissioning, testing and training. A local service team will support the customer whenever needed.