Marine electric vehicles is a fast growing market driven by new capability, affordability and legislation that restricts or bans the use of combustion engines in certain areas. The market for electric driven vessels, including installations on and under water, is set to rapidly grow to $7.3 billion by 2024. By the end of 2016, the global market for hybrid marine propulsion systems is expected to be valued at US$2.77 billion, with a further increase to as much as US$4.45 billion by 2022.

Electric propulsion in combination with sophisticated energy management calls for complex power converter and control strategies. The ideal solution here is power stacks which feature the latest semiconductor technology, cooling method and mechanical integration, facilitating system customization and converter optimization for system integrators and shipbuilders. With its product lines for standard power electronics stacks, its engineering and design capability as well as global production and test facilities, SEMIKRON is a leading global manufacturer of power semiconductor chips, module and stack assemblies. SEMIKRON’s power electronic stacks are assembled in five stack centers located on four different continents, providing global manufacturing capability with short lead times.

SEMIKRON continues to extend its component and stack portfolio, introducing a new product into its tried and tested water-cooled SEMISTACK RE family (Picture 1). The new product for marine applications will feature a copper-based cooling system. Compared to the standard aluminum profile, the copper-based heatsink is ideal for use in marine applications with seawater cooling. This is the first stack in the market with seawater cooling capability.

The optimized air-cooled inverter, the SEMIKUBE SL, embeds state-of-the-art IGBT chip technology for better efficiency, as well as the latest driver concept to facilitate parameter settings and diagnostics via CAN (Picture 2). New chip technologies such as SiC are already embedded in the components and are also available as stacks.

Picture 1: SEMISTACK RE with copper-based heatsink
Picture 2: SEMIKUBE SL 150
Picture 3: SkiiP X; designed for rough environment and scaleable up to 6MW

The newly developed high-power module SKiiPX (Picture 3), which is designed for use in stringent operating conditions and tough environments, including condensation (3K4) and pollution degree III, is set to be used in a 6MW inverter cabinet.

The CLASSICS standard low-voltage high-power rectifiers for up to 2600A provide a variety of functions from rectifier to soft-starter with natural or forced air cooling. SEMIKRON also offers water-cooled medium-voltage range rectifiers.

In addition to its standard range of water and air-cooled assemblies, SEMIKRON also designs stacks according to customer specifications, producing locally in dedicated global stack centers. Thanks to their extensive experience with industrial applications across a huge variety of field sectors, the highly skilled team is equipped to deal with virtually any design and qualification process, including UL approvals, as well as stringent industrial electric vehicle standards.

SEMIKRON has entered into cooperation with National Instruments (NI), bringing together the reliable SEMIKUBE, SEMISTACK and SKiiPSTACK families and the well-established tried and tested NI General Purpose Inverter Controller (GPIC) deployment hardware and NI’s LabVIEW FPGA module. Any type of power converter can be controlled using the NI GPIC design and deployment platform, facilitating converter development where time to market counts.

All these functions make it possible to cover a wide range of applications and the power requirements of marine applications in a very short time, without compromising on quality and costs.