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MAS537 Maritime Propulsion Systems

Course description for academic year 2023/2024

Contents and structure

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has put forward an ambitious proposal to cut in half the greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by 2050. Achieving this goal requires the implementation of various energy efficiency measures and the introduction of low- and zero-emission technologies. Ship propulsion systems show a great variety depending on, among other things, the vessel's area of ​​use, operating profile, size, segment, age or route. Further optimization with regard to climate and environmental impact can vary from small adjustments in operation to large conversions or implementation of advanced technologies in newbuilds.

The course maritime propulsion systems will provide an overview of typical propulsion systems for selected ship types. Alternative solutions that may include for example LNG, hybrid and partial electrification, carbon-free fuels such as hydrogen and the use of fuel cells will also be considered. Furthermore, students will gain insight into operating profiles for some selected ship types and how the structure of the propulsion system can be changed and optimized accordingly. An overview of the most important components and technologies used in hybrid and zero-emission propulsion systems shall also be provided. All solutions shall also be assessed in accordance with current regulations and class requirements. Students will receive a brief introduction to a computer-based tool for modelling and calculating maritime propulsion systems with respect to different applications and operating profiles.


  • Overview of typical operating profiles and propulsion systems for different ship types
  • Relevant requirements and regulations for maritime propulsion systems
  • Alternatives propulsion solutions for selected ship types
  • Components of hybrid propulsion systems
  • Energy efficiency and optimization through heat recovery and analysis of energy flows
  • Course in the use of an computer-based tool for calculation and optimization of hybrid propulsion solutions

The course touches upon the following UN Sustainability Goals:

  • #7: Affordable and clean energy for all
  • #9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • #13: Climate action

Learning Outcome


The student…

  • can assess propulsion systems based on ship type and operating profile
  • has a general understanding of relevant regulations and requirements related to the set-up and operation of propulsion systems
  • can describe and explain the most important components and technologies in the ship's energy and propulsion system
  • can account for the consequences of alternative fuels and energy systems for a vessel's operation
  • is familiar with the most relevant commercial players and available products


The student…

  • can analyze issues related to maritime propulsion systems for different vessel types and operating profiles
  • can calculate power and energy flows for a given propulsion system and vessel type
  • can calculate the most important thermodynamic processes for energy conversion and recovery on board of a ship
  • can create energy flow diagrams and evaluate energy efficiency and heat recovery measures
  • can use computer-based tools for evaluating hybrid propulsion solutions based on different operating profiles
  • can assess the consequences of implementing fuel cells and battery systems in maritime propulsion systems

Overall competence

The student…

  • has an understanding of the difference between theoretically possible and practically achievable results
  • can evaluate alternatives to existing solutions with respect to operation, safety, redundancy, efficiency and environmental and climate impact
  • can reflect on how his professional practice will affect the use of energy and the environment

Entry requirements

The study programme’s entry requirements

Recommended previous knowledge

MAS306 Thermal machines and hybrid systems

MAS501 Heat conduction and heat transfer

MAS531 Bio and e-fuels

Teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, group work, discussions, computer-based tools, presentation

Compulsory learning activities

Completion of the course in hybrid propulsion solutions


Individual oral exam, 30 minutes

Grade scale A - F, with F being not passed.

Examination support material


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