Is the World Ready for Hybrid IPS?

Volvo Penta is testing an emissions-eliminating, hybrid propulsion concept for IPS.

volvo penta
The system is designed to maintain IPS efficiency standards and to work with installations involving two to four pods.Volvo Penta

Volvo Penta's hybrid propulsion concept for its Inboard Performance System (IPS) is designed to deliver low- and zero-emissions modes. The project is undergoing testing now, with sea trials slated to begin in early 2020. If all tracks on schedule, Volvo Penta will begin ­delivering the system to commercial customers in 2021, followed by recreational-­yacht installations.

“Fulfilling the ­marine requirements [was] definitely a major task, since electromobility systems are new for many in the industry,” says Niklas Thulin, Volvo Penta’s director of electromobility — a term that describes the development of electric-powered drivetrains to move away from carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels.

Volvo Penta’s concept places a clutch and electric motor between each of the vessel’s diesel engines and IPS pods. Operators open the clutch to run the vessel in electric-only mode, or close the clutch to run the electric and diesel engines in parallel. Alternatively, yachtsmen can opt for diesel-only mode.

Lithium-­ion batteries (one per pod) power the electric motors and can be topped off by external AC or DC sources, or via the diesel engines. The batteries reportedly deliver full torque and the ability to run at 10 knots for at least an hour. Operating at 7 knots would nearly double that range.