Danfoss to power US Department of Energy’s first hybrid-electric research vessel

Monday, December 5, 2022
  • Danfoss Power Solutions’ Editron division will power the U.S. Department of Energy’s first hybrid-electric research vessel
  • The new research vessel will be used for testing and research needed to support renewable power from the ocean and supporting technologies by PNNL-Sequim
  • When in electric mode, the vessel will be able to operate almost silently for up to 6 hours on a single charge

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON STATE, UNITED STATES - Danfoss Power Solutions’ Editron division has been chosen by the Pacific Power Group and the builder, Snow & Company, to provide the drivetrain system powering the U.S. Department of Energy’s first hybrid-electric research vessel. Due to enter operation in February 2023, the vessel will be used by PNNL-Sequim.


The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a leading research center specializing in research advancing sustainable energy through decarbonization and energy storage. The new research vessel will enable PNNL-Sequim to carry out the testing and research needed to support renewable power from the ocean.

The project is the result of a partnership between Snow & Company, Pacific Power Group, Volvo Penta, Spear Power Systems and Danfoss’ Editron division. The Editron division will equip the vessel with electric permanent magnet motors, with Volvo Penta providing the diesel engines. The diesel engines will be used when cruising at fast speeds up to 20 knots and over long ranges up to 3000 nautical miles. The electric motor will be used when conducting slow-speed research work for longer durations of up to 6 hours. Additionally, the electric machines will be able to charge the energy storage system aboard the vessel.

The Editron division will also provide the complete system delivery of the electric drivetrain, including the DC grid, power and energy management systems, electric PM-motors and PM-generators, and compact and lightweight inverters and DC/DC converters. Danfoss’ Editron division will supervise the project execution, including engineering, project management, sea trials and onboard training.

The hybrid research vessel project is being funded by the U.S Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, as part of a US$7.1 million marine energy infrastructure fund awarded to seven projects across 5 Department of Energy’s national laboratories.

Erno Tenhunen, marine director of Danfoss’ Editron division added:

“It is an honor to be chosen to work with this prestigious institution, where our contribution will enable the research needed to achieve further sustainable developments. This project shows the potential that hybrid power can unlock by enabling more flexible operations. Being equipped with both a diesel and electric motor, the vessel will be able operate either at high speeds and long ranges, or more quietly and energy-efficiently for longer durations.”

Bill Mossey, President at Pacific Power Group, said:

”Pacific Power Group is excited to have been selected by Snow & Company and PNNL to be a key partner integrating Volvo Penta and Danfoss’ Editron division’ s solutions forming a seamless hybrid propulsion system. Its especially exciting to be engaged in a project that will be part of learnings and further development towards decarbonizing marine propulsion systems. we are honored to be part of this highly capable team.”

The project is due for completion by March 2023.