VERHOEF, the Dutch Builder of aluminium FREEFALL LIFEBOATS has now successfully performed full scale tests with the first freefall lifeboat, powered by an electric motor. The innovation and application of electric power instead of a diesel engine is another example of VERHOEF’s dedication to be the front runner of advanced safety technology at sea.
“ After a number of years spent on research and development we have reached the phase to introduce this innovation to the industry” said Martin Verhoef, CEO of VERHOEF Aluminium BV. “ The use of an electric powered engine in a lifeboat, launched freefall or conventional, has so many advantages that we can no longer put this novelty aside. Especially useful for those facilities in areas where rescue from the lifeboat will not take a long time, or a long sailing phase”.
Tests showed already the immediate benefit, the highest level of reliability, and improved Human Comfort (DNV-OS-E406) as the electric powered engine does not make any noise. But very important as well, the maintenance cost Offshore and on board of ships will be reduced significantly. VERHOEF: “Our Maintenance Engineers are very enthousiastic about this development, as it allows them to make quick and efficient inspections on the performance of the engine and batteries”. As lifeboat diesel engines are only rarely used, the issue of sootings (black powder left in the engine) often results in high cost for maintenance, and does reduce the performance of the traditional diesel engine in the lifeboat. In general, the maintenance of the diesel engine requires about 75 percent of the regular inspection time and cost.
VERHOEF has used an advanced type of LI-ion batteries set, with a proven performance from the automotive. “ Moore’s Law is on our side, and we are convinced that within one or two years another advanced type of Li-ion batteries has become available to extend the capacity of the batteries even further”.