Hybrid Propulsion

Amphibious Assault Ship Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island (LHD 8)

In an effort to conserve energy, reduce carbon footprint, and extend the distance ships are capable of traveling on a gallon of fuel, the U.S. Navy has been working with the shipbuilding industry to explore alternative, more efficient means of powering ships. One solution is a hybrid propulsion plant that powers the ship with electric motors at low speeds and gas turbine engines at higher speeds. The first warship designed in this manner is the USS Makin Island (LHD-8), an amphibious assault ship commissioned in October of 2009. The ship’s gas turbines are lighter and more fuel efficient than the steam boilers used to power older amphibious assault ships. Along with other design efficiencies, this approach allows the USS Makin Island to travel farther on less fuel and will save hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel costs over the life of the ship. Learn more about the USS Makin Island – Video: USS Makin Island Hybrid Engine.