GE Demonstrates 'Mega-Hybrid' Technology

Company says new tug engines will decrease fuel consumption and emissions.

GE is demonstrating new hybrid tugboat technology in cooperation with the C-MAR Group, which the company says will decrease both fuel consumption and emissions. The tugboat platform, which builds on current hybrid technology projects for locomotives, city buses and off-highway vehicles, features a V228 or V250 medium-speed diesel engine, a battery, a generator and control technologies.

Beyond the system applications of hybrid technology, GE also is making significant investments in battery technology and energy storage management. According to Tim Richter, lead hybrid systems engineer for GE Global Research, four dollar per gallon gasoline is painful for the average U.S. consumer and the impact of these record-high oil prices is even harder on companies transporting goods.

"Hybrids are a great fit with our expertise in motors, controls and energy management," Richter said. "From trucks and tugs to buses and locomotives, we can look at technology across the transportation sector and deliver working solutions for these mega-hybrid machines. By water, rail, city streets or interstate highways, virtually every part of the transportation sector can be hybridized. GE's technology developments for mega-hybrids can potentially cascade down to the passenger cars, which would have a mega-impact in the auto marketplace."

Emerging hybrid technologies from GE include:

  • Evolution Hybrid locomotive, available in 2009
  • Hybrid tugboat in cooperation with the C-MAR Group
  • Hybrid off highway vehicle demonstration, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy
  • Zero emissions hybrid fuel cell transit bus in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration.

These hybrid technologies are all part of GE's ecomagination initiative. Ecomagination represents the company's commitment to develop new environmentally friendly technologies and products to solve our toughest environmental challenges. Under ecomagination, GE has pledged to more than double its level of investment in the development of cleaner energy technologies from $700 million to $1.5 billion during the next five years.

GE's ecomagination and fuel smart systems in the market today include:

  • GEnx aircraft engine, a fuel-efficient engine that reduces emissions and noise while providing greater capacity, longer range and lower operating costs
  • GE's Evolution Series locomotive delivers up to 5% higher fuel efficiency and a 40% reduction in emissions over its predecessor.
  • GE's new Trip Optimizer software generates an additional 10% in fuel savings and determines the optimum speed profile over a trip or route to minimize fuel consumption while maintaining time schedules.

In addition to GE's mega-hybrid activities, GE's Global Research Center is engaged in two projects with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) totaling $6.8 million to accelerate the introduction of plug-in hybrid vehicles to market. The first of the two DOE projects is a $5.6 million contract to develop smaller, lower cost, higher performing hybrid drivetrain motors for hybrid electric vehicles. The second is a $1.2 million project to develop advanced high temperature, high energy density capacitors. Both technologies are critical to enabling the commercialization of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

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