Michael Kranz, Manager, Shaft Generator Systems & Cargo, overseeing a department of eight engineers at Wärtsilä’s Marine Electrical Systems highlighted that “last week, we reached 500 units sold, an incredible milestone. In the same week, we sold a comprehensive (holistic) hybrid system to a series of hybrid RoRo vessels. After a relatively slow start to the year, we are now seeing a big increase in these systems being specified by owners interested in reducing emissions and fuel costs.”

In fact, as of last month, more than 500 shaft generators have been installed on ships worldwide, establishing operational benefits for both owners and operators. Wärtsilä stresses that currently, shaft generators do not only play a role in lowering operational costs, adding that

With emissions controls increasingly under the microscope, it turns out that a hybrid system made of a shaft generator coupled with large electric batteries is an economical and environmentally friendly means of generating both electrical and propulsion power while in port.

Wärtsilä explains that a shaft generator “piggybacks” on the main engine and propeller shaft’s rotational motion to generate electricity. There may be numerous advantages using the system, such as a drastic lowering of fuel costs and a reduction in maintenance and lubrication costs on the diesel generator sets; the system is also quieter and safer.


According to Luciano Crapanzano, Superintendent at the Technical Department at Atlantic Container Line, by their installation, shipping operators “save a bundle by not having to use separate auxiliary generators that run on more expensive diesel oil.”

It is added that shaft generators have been installed on a wide array of ships, such as container vessels, cargo vessels, bulk carriers, LNG and LEG carriers and RoRo ships. What is more, in 2015 and 2016 the company commissioned five new container ships with shaft generator systems.

Further to this, it is highlighted that shaft generator systems are a recognized valuable technical solution for shipowners looking for economical and cleaner electrical power generation.

Michael Kranz remarks that “together with our Smart Energy Management System, ships in the harbour can now operate on battery storage alone and react within milliseconds without the use of auxiliary and redundant engines for safety. This Uninterrupted Power Supply, or UPS, is a key feature of our EMS system and the shaft generator system is what makes it all possible.”

In 2017, ABB said that it would equip two DFDS vessels with shaft generators that will raise their energy efficiency, in order to meet environmental regulations. The two shaft generators would then be installed in each of the cargo Ro-Ro ships, allowing the main engines to operate at a wider speed range.