Increased risks due to harmonic pollution on board of yachts

Failing equipment, lower efficiency and increased risk of fire

As the amount of electronics aboard yachts grows, the reliability of the electrical network has become more critical. The increase of power electronics means more harmonic pollution. At the same time, many power electronic devices are sensitive to that same pollution.

Risks of harmonic pollution:

  • More heat in the conductors leading to a risk of fire
  • Unexpected switch-off of security devices
  • Shortened life span of equipment due to increased currents and operating temperatures
  • High neutral currents that can cause unforeseen problems
  • Additional reactive power in the installation leading to energy and capacity loss
  • Unwanted noise, friction and vibrations of motors and generators

Causes of harmonic pollution

Harmonic pollution is caused by non-linear loads. These non-linear loads are electrical devices that switch very rapidly to modulate the current. The current these devices consume often is non-sinusoidal. These switching devices are classified as power electronics, or equipment in which power electronics are present. With the electrification of vessels, the amount of power electronics onboard is steadily increasing.

Examples of non-linear loads

  • Frequency inverters/variable speed drives (for AC and DC motors)
  • LED lighting
  • HVAC
  • Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
  • IT equipment (navigation computers, security systems, but also residential electronics)
  • Most devices that use chips (transistors and/or diodes)


When harmonics are created by a load, they travel upstream towards the transformer. On ships, they travel to the generators. In onshore situations, harmonics are emitted to the distribution grid. This is not possible in offshore situations. Every grid has a frequency at which it will start to resonate. Problems occur if this frequency is close to the frequency of one of the harmonics. If this is the case, the harmonics are amplified – which can have disastrous effects.

Consequences of harmonic pollution

The consequences of harmonic pollution in an installation vary from equipment defects to strange noises from the generators and motors. Depending on the degree of harmonic pollution and the sensitivity of connected equipment, negative effects of harmonic pollution may reveal themselves more quickly. In onshore applications, the negative effects of harmonics are often reduced by the grid connection. In offshore industries, there is no grid connection to counteract these issues.

Solutions for harmonics

HyTEPS is capable of advising and providing solutions to harmonic pollution. There are many options for measuring to find the source of the pollution and remove it. If this is not possible filtering could be discussed. Including active harmonic filtering, passive harmonic filtering. All solutions provided are according to the latest Lloyd’s and DNVGL standards.

HyTEPS can help you reduce the risks of harmonic pollution

HyTEPS can measure and analyze the degree of harmonic pollution within your installation in accordance with all established standards. Thanks to our knowledge, years of experience and specialized equipment, we can provide you with insight and advice regarding possible improvements. In addition, we provide innovative product solutions to achieve these improvements, including the Active Harmonic Filter; a frequently applied solution in the offshore industry.

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

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