QE2's new, fatter funnel is fitted
during the final stages of her conversion
From October 1986 to May 1987, QE2 underwent a major refit at the Lloyd Werft
yard at Bremerhaven in Germany transforming her from an ageing steamship to a state
of the art diesel-electric motorship.
This refit, costing $162m, was hugely successful and allowed the ship
to sail on for another 20 years as the Cunard flagship, the only transatlantic
liner and the fastest and most powerful
merchant ship in the world.
QE2 became the longest serving Cunarder of all time, travelled further than
any ship ever and was in service for nearly 40 years (May 1969 until November
2008). This would not have happened without this refit.
A massive gamble that paid off : The biggest ship
conversion ever for the fastest passenger liner afloat with the most powerful
diesel installation afloat and the largest electrical propulsion motors ever
QE2 goes topless during her "heart
Feasibility Study & options
QE2's time spent operating at various
indications of fuel savings of 30% annually on the ships current 12,000 tons
consumption provided the impetus to studying further the feasibility of re-engining.
Fuel costs at the time were $185 per ton, meaning a potential saving of $6.5
million per year.
Engine manufacturers and shipyards worldwide were requested to make re-engining
proposals while Cunard considered their options, including doing nothing for the
remainder of the ships life. QE2's transatlantic service speed of 28.5
knots would require the installation of an extremely high total horsepower while
also requiring the flexibility for cruising, manoeuvring and in-port modes.
The Maxi-Boiler alternative was to cost 1.89 more than the
baseline cost (of doing nothing) and would result in a significant improvement
in performance of the existing steam plant. 2 diesel alternators would
replace the turbo alternators in order to reduce fuel consumption in the
generation of electricity and to reduce the load on the boilers.
The Maxi-Alternator alternative would have 2 instead of 3 diesel
alternators which meant greater maintenance and availability but increased
The Diesel Conversion option would require the greatest initial
cost of 3.42 times the baseline cost, and the greatest out of service time,
but would result in the greatest operating cost savings from the highly fuel
efficient diesel engines, new controllable pitch propellers and waste heat
systems, propulsion plant automation, a full maintenance agreement and
automating monitoring systems meaning increased equipment availability.
The Final Choice
QE2 races up-channel at 30 knots on
one of her final turbine-driven crossings
The economical benefits of re-engining QE2 were even greater than originally
thought, even considering the $53 million budget for the conversion, the 5 to 8
months out of service and the 12 to 14 months lead time for the implementation,
the potential commercial benefits justified embarking upon phase II of the
study. Re-engining would increase profit, life cycle cash flow,
reliability, maintain a prestigious image and was cheaper than building a new
Three diesel power plant designs were considered
Diesel engines with main reduction gears with both (a) constant and (b)
variable speed propeller shaft
Diesel-electric propulsion (having no main reduction gears)
15 different proposals by 7 manufacturers were considered but despite
initially looking cost prohibitive, diesel-electric was decided to have
the greatest reliability, flexibility and environmental concerns (noise &
vibration). Further analysis after this option was selected uncovered even
greater advantages over the geared diesel option. A saving of 250 tons a
day (at 28.5 knots) was now anticipated.
It was expected that payback could be obtained in under four years.
The Specification for the bidders
Conversion of QE2 to keep her in service for at least 20 more years
Higher standard of passenger facilities
Significantly reduced operating costs.
28.5 knots to be produced with only 85% of all power.
Noise & Vibration levels in passenger spaces not to increase
Plant should be fully automated and designed for unmanned engine room
Conversion should take no more than 7 months
Initial planning was vital in order for the total timescale not to be
exceeded. Layout of machinery, calculations of stability, longitudinal
stresses were all crucial. A computer program was developed to provide a
detailed production/time schedule for the complete project. During the
work, progress was constantly checked against the computer programme and mostly
went to plan.
A model was created of the entire complete machinery installation built to
1:20 scale in a number of removable sections and was used for taking
measurements of all piping systems. The model was essential for the design
and installation of the whole machinery.
The crucial model of the
Arrival & clearout
Immediately after the ship docked, transport openings were made in the vessel
as prerequisite to the conversion work and the famous funnel was dismantled.
The funnel's opening was then used as a winding shaft for the removal of 4,700
tons of old machine parts and for access for the new installation weighing in at
around 4,500 tons.
A floating crane was brought from an oil platform on the North Sea to lift
the heavy and bulky scrap from the vessel's interior. The dismantling also
included the removal of 2 propeller shafts consisting of 6 segments of 600mm in
diameter and over 10m long. Each part weighed around 25 tons. All
work below the waterline was completed on schedule by the 3rd of December and
included the new 80 ton, 16.5m long shafts in place.
Work inside the
cramped shaft tunnel
The new tailshaft being
fed into the stern boss
Everything between frames 118 and 164 was completely stripped out, with much
cutting up of equipment in place to facilitate handling. An empty shell was
created in the hull before the new machinery installation began.
At the same time as the stripping out of the machinery, the hull was
gritblasted and two new propellor shafts, supplied by Lips BV with two new
controllable pitch highly skewed propellors and Grim Wheels were fitted.
The End of the Turbines and the boilers
After 19 years (of not completely reliable service) of developing 55,000 shp
each at 174 rpm, the John Brown steam turbines had been powered down for the
final time. They were the penultimate Pamatrada turbines to be built.
The three Foster Wheeler boilers were also shutdown for the last time.
Here the turbines are shown in the John Brown factory at Clydebank being tested
and as a massive pile of scrap at Bremerhaven. Removing these and all the
auxiliary machinery and pipework was in itself a mammoth task taking some 6
weeks and involved the removal of 5,000 tons of metal and equipment.
The original steam turbines prior to
original installation in 1967.
The original engines
scrapped in 1986
The emptied engine room
QE2 becomes State of the art once more.
The engine room tank tops and new foundations for the nine M.A.N. B&W 9L58/64
medium speed engines and generators and the two new GEC propulsion motors, were
prepared by first removing the double bottom in way of the machinery space,
creating new double bottom tanks and the new seatings. The new engine
foundations were lowered through the funnel shaft by the mammoth HEBE2 floating
crane which can lift up to 350 tons - the weight of each motor.
This work was carried out at the same time as the dismantling of the old
plant. The nine engine foundations were lowered in a vertical position
then tilted horizontally and lowered onto skids to be moved to their final
position. Each bed weighed 50 tons was 17m long and 3m wide. The
foundations were placed immediately the burning out had been completed - i.e.
when lowered through the funnel hatch, there was still nowhere for them to go,
the schedule was incredibly tight.
After installation of the foundations, the two 450 ton electric propulsion
motors were lowered through the funnel hatch, moved on skids and installed onto
their foundations (taking one full day each to accomplish). Next, the nine
220 ton diesel engines were lifted in and moved on skids to their foundations.
One of the engine bedplates being
lowered into the machinery space
A complete engine being lowered
Main engines being
manoeuvred on skids
One of the
giant GEC propulsion electric motors before
installation and being lowered through the funnel hatch. The funnel
can be seen on the quayside off to the left. The ships mast is to the right.
One of the 2 electric
motors coming to rest on the engine room floor
Views across the cylinder tops of four
of the 9 main engines
Lubricating oil filters and water
The revised, fatter funnel is put in
Each 9L58/64 engine is rated at 10,620 kw (14,445 bhp) at 400
rev/min. Each engine is directly resiliently mounted onto the ships
foundation and flexibly coupled via Vulkan Ratio couplings to two-bearing,
totally enclosed, water cooled, salient pole, three-phase, synchronous GEC
alternators of 10.5MW, 10kv, 60 cycles. Each alternator is rigidly mounted
on the ship's foundation.
The power generated is supplied to a common 10 kV busbar system
divided into two separate GEC/Field & Grant main switchboards, installed in two
separate compartments, each of the main switchboards is again subdivided in two
bus sections allowing a variety of operating modes.
This common busbar supplies power at 10kV directly to the two
GEC Large Machines 44MW, 60 cycle synchronous motors, running at 144 rev/min
(the largest propulsion motors ever supplied for marine use).
Electric power to all ship and domestic consumers is also supplied from the
common busbar via two GEC liquid cooled 10kV/3.3kV transformers of 11 MVA
capacity each. By this arrangement, a redundancy of 100 per unit is given
for ship load.
To allow the ship to operate at high efficiency even at low ship
speed and during manoeuvring, the normal constant propeller speed of 144 rev/min
can be reduced down to 72 rev/min. This is achieved by two GEC synchro
drives (thyristor convertors) of 11 MW each. These converters will be used
for soft starting and speeding up the synchronous motors.
The driving power of the synchronous motors is transmitted via a
new twin shaft arrangement to two new five-bladed c.p. propellers of 5.8 meter
diameter each. At cruising speed, the variable-pitch propellers operate at
144 rev/min. Adjustment to the ship's speed is by varying the pitch of the
A further improvement of the efficiency of the c.p. propellers
is achieved by a Grim vane wheel downstream of each propeller. The
function of this vane wheel is given by the special shape of the blades which
operates as a turbine in the inner part and as a propeller in the outer part.
Each vane wheel is seven bladed and has a diameter of 6.7 metres and therefore
the largest-ever built and implemented in a twin screw vessel. This new
shafting c.p. propellers and vane wheels including their sophisticated
controlling equipment have been supplied by Lips.
Plans of the new Diesel-Electric Machinery
Arrangement on QE2
Plan of the Double Bottom showing
the 9 engines and 2 motors.
Plan of Seven Deck including the control
Longitudinal Section showing all the way down from the
signal deck to the double bottom
Plan of six deck
View looking forward
All the new machinery is installed in four separate compartments. The
general arrangement drawing shows the two compartments for four and five
diesel-generator sets respectively.
The propulsion motors have their own compartment aft of the engine rooms,
whilst certain auxiliary systems are situated forward of the two engine rooms.
Due to direct resilient mounting of the diesel engines, resulting in low
installation height, additional space in the form of 6th and 7th deck in the
area of machinery space was created for installing most of the auxiliary
equipment. For the operation of this power plant optimised auxiliary
systems are installed.
One of the most attractive features of the new propulsion system is its
high cost effectiveness. This is achieved partly by the low specific
fuel consumption of the diesel engines and partly by the recovery of waste
heat from cylinder cooling water, charge air and exhaust gases.
The engines of both engine rooms have their common central cooling
systems, i.e. separate, independent central cooling systems are provided.
This arrangement allows the utilisation of the heat to be dissipated from the
engine jacket water and charge air cooling.
The waste heat recovery system, supplied by Sunrod International,
Sweden, produces all the steam required for the heating of bunker fuel,
accommodation, hotel services and other steam and hot water requirements for
the whole ship. The plant consists of nine exhaust gas boilers, each
with a steam output of 4 t/h. These are connected to two vertical
oil-fired auxiliary boilers each with a nominal steam output of 25 t/h at a
system operating pressure of 7 bar. The auxiliary boilers are used
during peak periods or when not enough engines are running. Thermal
efficiency at full load is as high as 88 percent.
The exhaust gas boilers are of economiser extended-surface design.
Each is built up from a number of easily-removable equal tube modules.
An integral part of each boiler is a silencer, welded directly to the bottom
of the boiler. Each boiler is equipped with automatic
sequence-controlled steam soot blowers. The steam and water mixture
produced in the exhaust gas boilers is circulated to the steam separators of
one or both oil-fired boilers. At normal operating conditions, the
water-steam mixture from the nine exhaust gas boilers is separated in the
space of the oil fired boilers, but it is also possible to use only one
boiler, as the steam separator for all nine exhaust gas boilers. If
surplus steam is generated by the exhaust gas boilers, it is fed into one or
two dumping condensers.
QE2, still topless, and Canberra
Both oil-fired boilers are provided with a fully automatic
combustion control and oil-burning system for firing heavy fuel oil or sludge
with up to 30 percent water content. Water and steam volumes in the
auxiliary boilers are kept in balance even when the steam/water flow ratio is
changing owing the varying engine loads, so that fluctuations of the water
levels in the auxiliary boilers are always kept within the normal operating
Two fresh water generators, make Serck, per engine room, i.e. four
in total, will utilise this waste heat to produce 250 t/day fresh water per
unit i.e. 1000 t/day in total. At lower ship's speed, with only a
reduced number of engines in operation or at lower partial load of engines in
operation, the lack of waste heat supplied to the cooling system will be
compensated by one steam heated booster heater per unit. By means of
this booster the total fresh water requirement can be produced at sea.
The central cooling system is designed for 32°C
sea water temperature, the low temperature circuit for 38°C. For each
cooling system three two-speed sea water pumps, with 50 percent of rated
capacity each, are provided. This arrangement combined with the Engard
pump control system from Alfa Laval will provide a huge energy saving
potential. The sea water quantity can vary in a wide range depending on
the sea water temperature, the total engine load and the degree of waste heat
utilisation, therefore the capacity of sea water pump matching is of great
Similar to the cooling system, the fuel systems
are also split into two separate systems, one per engine room. These two
fuel supply systems are designed to CIMAC 12 fuels with a viscosity up to 700
cSt. The systems will operate with fuel pressures of 6 respectively 7
bar and a final fuel temperature of 147°C.
For the lube oil supply each engine has its own
separate supply and treatment system with electrically driven lube oil pump.
The compressed air system is designed for starting air
only. For other consumers a separate auxiliary compressed air system is
installed. For starting air system, two air receivers 4.5m each and
three starting air compressors are installed.
To meet the noise criteria, an exhaust gas system with
three HUSS silences for each engine are provided. Each exhaust gas
system is equipped with a Sunrod exhaust gas boiler to utilise the exhaust gas
QE2's new propellers and Grim Wheels
Note: The Grim Wheels were short lived.
They lost blades on an early trip following the refit and were removed, never to
QE2's new propellers were completely different to her old ones. Her old
propellers had been fixed pitch, just like her predecessors. This meant
that in order to change speed, she had to actually slow her turbines. With
the new controllable pitch (CP) propellers, the shafts run at a steady speed of
either 72 or 144 rpm, and speed is determined by the pitch of the propeller
blades. The new propellers are 5 bladed with a 5.8 meter diameter.
Each propeller is designed to absorb up to 65,000 shp.
QE2 is the first passenger ship to use Grim Wheels (so called because they
were invented by Dr Ing Otto Grim) in an attempt to make the new QE2 even more
efficient. These wheels spin freely in the wake of the main propellers.
The innermost parts of each of the 7 blades pick up speed from the propeller,
while the outermost parts act as propellers themselves, adding some forward
motion to the ship for "free", capturing energy which would otherwise be wasted.
The Grim Wheels are 6.7 meters in diameter.
Sketch of the propeller
and Grim Wheel arrangement on the QE2
Graph showing power
absorbtion by the propellers at constant rev/min and corresponding ship
A propeller with a man
underneath to show scale
All new electronic controls
Bridge wing propeller and
Manoeuvring panel in the
Section of the main
Machinery controls and
Cooling system alarm panel
Engine power management
Machinery alarm panels
Eight more penthouse suites were added to the existing suites on the top
deck of the vessel
The Double Down public area which extend over two decks was entirely
rearranged and supplemented by an attractive new shopping centre operated by
Allders, As well as the shops, a new bar and leisure room for adults and
teenagers were created.
The shops are arranged in an open, almost galleria type, presentation of small
boutiques around the spectacular Double-up Room balcony. These are
linked by a meandering walkway that allowed several windows to be re-opened to
allow in natural light, before leading into the more comprehensive shopping
Renewal work was completed in Tables of the World restaurant, the ships
kitchens and laundries were extensively refitted and all other dining rooms
and public spaces were given a new appearance. A large number of
passenger cabins were either upgraded or refurbished while crew mess rooms and
leisure facilities were also considerably improved.
A new International Food Bazaar, open to all passengers, for evening
Ship to shore communications were also considerably improved to offer the
facility of a new telephone system with direct dialling from each cabin to
shore numbers via Satcom. Satellite TV also now available.
Much new furniture was added as well as new English carpets.
The yacht club bar
First class suite
The Grand Ballroom which had, prior to
this refit, been known as the Double-Up and Douple-Down room
Original artists plan for the new
The new perfumery
All paint was supplied by International Paints
Underwater hull recoated with Intersmooth HISOL, the top of the range self
polishing copolymer antifouling paint.
Specially formulated "Cunard orange" paint was created for her boottop
Specially formulated "QE2 Federal Grey" Interlac alkyd gloss finish for
the lower topsides.
White topsides and superstructure applied with interfine antistain.
Engine room painted in flame retardant paint.
The underwater hull after coating with
international paint's intersmooth HISOL. You can also see the new
propellors and Grim Wheels.
Completely new machinery spaces meant a new fire fighting system here while
in the accommodation, new systems added and upgrading the old have taken place.
Fixed & Portable CO2 bottles, halon smothering systems, 1200 sprinkler heads
were replaced. The number of sprinkler heads in the ship has increased to
QE2 Refit Supplier Adverts
M.A.N. B&W -
Suppliers of the main engines
Conti Schwingmetall -Stopping the
vibrations from 130,000 shp!