Maritime Systems

(Maritime Systeme)



From “singing” ship’s propellers and more efficient, low-emission large diesel engines to safe hull designs, the TUHH’s Maritime Systems research center tackles the wide range of urgent topics that European shipbuilding faces. To ensure a future for maritime industry, the research scientists aim to be at least as much better as they are more expensive than the competition.

With the North and Baltic Seas and the Elbe River on its doorstep, water has always been and continues to be the determining element of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Several shipyards large and small are based in Germany’s largest port -and the largest in Europe after Rotterdam and Antwerp. Their combined sales revenue is over one billion euros a year. These circumstances, combined with the TUHH’s engineering expertise, are ideal preconditions for a Maritime Systems research center at the TUHH. Its aim is to deal with the urgent issues of shipbuilding and ocean engineering and find solutions to ensure the long-term future of the maritime economy in Hamburg and Europe.

To do so, German and European shipbuilding, along with maritime systems technology combined with maritime infrastructure and logistics, must be thoroughly renewed and at the same time sustainably further developed. The interdisciplinary Maritime Systems research center basically pursues two research approaches, one of which can be summarized as Shipbuilding and Maritime Systems Technology. It investigates, inter alia, issues relating to the safe construction and operation of ships, more economic production processes and more efficient on-board systems.

The other research approach, Maritime Infrastructure and Logistics, deals mainly with areas such as safe offshore structures, for example oil platforms and wind farms, and new concepts in maritime transportation. Work on the many different Maritime Systems research center projects is based on three pillars. Scientists conduct research into the basics, work on state-of-the-art scientific and technological standards for industry, and advise the public sector.

Successful implementation of the research center’s extensive range of projects is not just desirable; it is essential to ensure that the industry remains competitive. Few if any sectors have been hit so hard by the current economic crisis as the maritime industry, and it is to be feared that a not inconsiderable proportion of jobs in the industry could be lost unless countermeasures are taken. The only way to deal with this situation is to ensure that European ships really are as better as they are more expensive. An important factor in this respect is to optimize the energy efficiency of ships and their systems. Energy can, for example, be saved by deflecting propeller currents and changing the cavitation and by cavitation analysis or improved maneuvering. Further research areas include reducing large diesel engines’ nitric oxide emissions and their sulfur dioxide by after-treatment of exhaust gases or by transient storage of propeller shafts.

Overall, all of the research center’s projects are intended to contribute toward swift and successful System 30 implementation (ships built in Germany are in future to become 30 percent better and safer, to use 30 percent less fuel and emit 30 percent less noxious substances, and to command a 30 percent larger market share). Lifecycle costs and throughput time are also to be reduced by 30 percent and handling performance is to be increased by 30 percent. The medium- to long-term plan is to transform the research center into a research group that in turn will be enlarged into a collaborative research center where Safety of Maritime Systems will be taken up on a large scale. At present, the plan is to combine these activities under the heading Sustainability and Safety in the Design, Production and Operation of Ships and Their Components.

Implementing the Maritime Systems research center’s ambitious objectives will not only contribute in the long term toward safeguarding the future of the maritime industry in Germany but also at the same time actively extend the lead the TUHH enjoys in shipping research in Germany - and thereby ensure for many years a supply of young research scientists with first-rate training.