Hierarchical Load Management of Propulsion and Reefers for Large Electrified Container Ships

Li Yang, Wentao Huang, Ran Li, Moduo Yu, Nnditshedzeni Eric Maluta, Yanxia Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reefers and propulsion load consume 90% of the total power in electrified container ships (ECSs). However, the inherent complexities in coordinating high-quantity, low-capacity reefers and low-quantity, high-capacity propulsion loads make efficient DG operation a challenge. This paper presents a Model Predictive Control (MPC)-based bilevel strategy to optimize diesel generator (DG) efficiency in electrified container ships (ECSs). Focused on real-time tracking of DGs’ optimal efficiency points, the scheme addresses economic dispatch and navigational reliability under complex maritime conditions. Furthermore, we propose an aggregated reefer cluster (RC) model and a refrigeration efficiency consensus algorithm. The RC model streamlines reefer flexibilities into an additive, thermal-balance-based representation, thus avoiding temporal coupling issues. The algorithm ensures rapid, constraint-compliant optimization of loads. A case study on a 3000-TEU ECS validates the method’s efficacy in reducing operational costs and emissions while maintaining computational efficiency and solution accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • computational efficiency
  • Containers
  • electrified container ships
  • Fuels
  • load management
  • Load modeling
  • Marine vehicles
  • Microgrids
  • Propulsion
  • Refrigerated containers
  • refrigerating efficiency consensus
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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