Power Quality
on Yachts

Power quality describes the quality of voltage as well as current within an installation. Pollution in a yacht’s electric system can lead to a variety problems, from reduced efficiency in generators to fire and electrocution risk. Attention is increasingly being paid to power quality by classification societies such as DNV GL and Lloyds, emphasising the importance of this relatively unknown discipline.

Consequences of poor power quality

  • Inefficient use of the capacity of generators and the installation
  • Additional noise and wear on motors and generators
  • Decreased reliability and increased maintenance downtime
  • Fire hazard
  • Increased maintenance costs due to increased wear of equipment
  • Unnecessary energy losses 

Solving Power Quality issues

There are several solutions to power quality problems, depending on the source. However the first step is always talking measurements. These provide insight into the cause and type of problems. Depending on the outcome of the measurement, preventive actions can be taken – such as installing filters or adjusting procedures.

Preventive actions

Prevention is always better than the cure. During the design and construction phase of a yacht, simulations can be carried to predict possible problems. In addition, solutions such as active harmonic filters can be installed during the construction phase if harmonics are expected in the electrical network.

Main points of attention regarding Power Quality on Yachts

Voltage level


A constant voltage level is necessary for proper operation of equipment. Electronics are especially sensitive to a voltage level that is too high or too low. When the voltage is too low, electronics will shut down, leading to all kinds of problems. When the voltage is too high, components will wear out faster, or not operate as designed, leading to early failure of equipment.

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Unbalance in both voltage and current


The three phases of a generator are equally distributed. When unbalanced, forces inside a generator are not equal in all directions – causing metal fatigue, improper operation and reduced lifespan.

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Voltage dips, Flicker and Transients


Inrush current can cause voltage dips depending on the response time and the size of the generators. When lights are sensitive to these dips, flicker can occur. Flicker causes eyestrain, which can be fatiguing to personnel working below deck. What’s more, flicker gives passengers a sense of unsafety.

Harmonics


Harmonic waves are a multiple of the base frequency. For a 50Hz grid, this means 100Hz, 150Hz, 200Hz and so on. Harmonics can be found in the voltage and in the current. In onshore applications the effects of harmonics are diminished by the grid connection. In yachting, or at sea, harmonics are introduced by the many residential appliances on board and the industrial machinery below deck. These harmonics do not diminish and bounce through the installation. As a result, they lead to failures, errors, heating of cables and decreased lifespan of equipment.

HyTEPS is your Power Quality partner

Through measurements, simulations and subsequent analysis, all Power Quality-related problems can be prevented or solved. HyTEPS has over 10 years of experience in the field of Power Quality. Yachts bring very specific challenges, often with very specific needs. HyTEPS can provide solutions to your problems.

Are you interested in the possibilities that HyTEPS has to offer?
Feel free to contact us!

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