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SCHOTTEL research aims to mitigate underwater radiated noise

The SCHOTTEL Group, with its headquarter in Spay/Rhine, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of steerable propulsion systems for ships and offshore applications. Founded in 1921, the company has been developing and manufacturing azimuth propulsion and complete propulsion systems with power ratings of up to 30 MW for vessels of all sizes and types for more than 70 years. Around 100 sales and service locations worldwide ensure customer proximity.

In recent years, underwater noise caused by commercial vessels has been identified as one of the primary pollutants of the marine environment. To address this, the IMO’s Revised Guidelines for the Reduction of Underwater-Radiated Noise from July 2023 suggests creating restricted regions of reduced vessel noise, for example in the natural habitats of endangered species.

Vessel wave pattern

Helping operators to mitigate noise impact

SCHOTTEL’s research project HyPNoS (Hydrodynamic Propeller Noise Monitoring System) aims to create a new approach to noise mitigation by providing a real-time on-board noise monitoring system that investigates the amount of noise reduced by modifying the propeller design in a series of double-ended ferries. The prototype system makes a live prediction of the vessel’s emitted noise levels through algorithms which correlate the measured hull vibrations above the propeller with radiated underwater noise. In each case these calculation models are calibrated to the special characteristics of the corresponding vessel, such as the hull design, propulsion system and engine. The system will alert ship operators when their vessel exceeds critical sound thresholds and thus help to mitigate underwater noise impact in endangered marine mammal habitats.

Vertical streamline components on the SCHOTTEL ControllablePropeller (SCP)
Velocity distribution along the ship’s centre line on the SCHOTTEL ControllablePropeller (SCP)

Influencing future quiet vessel designs

The Canadian government’s Quiet Vessel Initiative, which supports the development of new quiet vessel technologies, designs and operational practices, funds HyPNoS. The Quiet Vessel Initiative is one of eight accommodation measures developed to address the concerns of indigenous communities regarding the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Projects funded through the Quiet Vessel Initiative will help generate the technical evidence needed to support Canada’s noise management measures in the Salish Sea and elsewhere in the country. They will also provide guidance to industry, academia and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in order to influence future quiet vessel design standards and adoption.

Pressure distribution on propeller
Propeller trailing vortex and rudder interaction

Experience meets innovation

Be it for in-house projects or as part of joint research partnerships, SCHOTTEL continuously invests in research and development. For example, the company is involved in a number of current research projects, such as ProNoVi, Red-Emi or StruMan. The aim of this engagement is to create outstanding products and solutions that prove their reliability and performance in practice. More than 100 engineers are collaborating every day in various specialist departments to achieve this goal.

If you would like to learn more about underwater radiated noise and the HyPNoS research project, please feel free to attend the presentation by Julian Kimmerl, R&D engineer for hydrodynamics and propeller design at SCHOTTEL, at the Canadian Ferry Association 2023 Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver, BC, on September 18, 2023, from 10.45 am to 11.15 am.