EETF: Ultra Light Efficient Generators Diesel Electric Propulsion

Project Overview

Diesel-Electric(DE) systems are much more efficient than a standard diesel system because rather than powering a variable load, the generator runs at a constant RPM which increases the efficiency of the diesel engine. Other pieces of technology such as the Universal Modular Inverter Controller(UMIC) can be added to the DE system in order to increase the efficiency even more.

Project Objectives

In order to create a more efficient fishing vessel, a Power-Dense Motor(PDM) is a conceptual design that can act either as a propulsion motor or generator head. Power-dense motors mean that the motors are smaller, use less materials, and cost less; however these motors lose efficiency as the power-density rises.


Due to varying loads and imperfectly sized components, there is a mismatch between the load and fuel-curve. This mismatch causes inefficiency which in turn wastes fuel. DE technology can be used to power boats, submarines, trains, and hybrid vehicles of all types. This technology is currently not widely used to power commercial fishing vessels however, namely because the systems are incredibly expensive or unavailable. Since fishing vessels need electricity for other loads, DE systems would seem to integrate well with these vessels.
In DE systems a engine is used to power a generator which produces an AC output. This increases the efficiency of the diesel engines and reduces fuel costs by up to 30%. This fuel cost estimate is based of off numbers only a field study must be performed before actual numbers can be produced.

The UMIC can control any type of motor. The controller is scalable and modular and can also control generator heads, and three-phase power distribution. The UMIC can be added on to current generators which converts them into inverter-generators. By controlling the engine speed and creating a more efficient generator, fuel economy can be increased by 50%, peak power can be increased by 25%, and other beneficial attributes can be obtained. There are a number of different configurations that can be accomplished by connecting the UMIC to different parts of the DE system.

Administration of Funds

The Alaska Energy Authority has been placed in charge of administration for the Emerging Energy Technology Fund projects. More information can be found on their website here

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