A few days ago, Alex and I took a tour of the engine room with Chief Engineer Gary! It was fascinating to see the inner workings of the ship – from what keeps the lights on, to what powers the ship – even how we create a constant supply of freshwater!
Before we entered the engine room, we needed to put on ear protection because it is very loud in there. The first thing we saw as we began our tour were the two 300KW diesel generators that are the source of all of the shipboard electricity.
Katie giving a "thumbs up!" next to one of the generators
The next thing we saw was the main engine – 16 cylinder, 1500 horsepower. The engine turns the propeller, which powers the ship through the water. The propeller is a controllable pitch propeller, which means the ships speed is controlled by both the rate of the propeller (RPM) and the pitch, or angle. Our typical cruising speed is about 10 knots. The ship also utilizes a bow thruster. The bow thruster helps with maneuvering. Both the engine and the generators are fueled by diesel; the ship typically burns between 1000 to 2000 gal a day and can hold up to 48,000 gallons.
Chief Engineer Gary next to the main engine. The white padding (lagging) is surrounding the exhaust pipes to keep the heat in.
As you might imagine, the engine gets very warm from running 24/7. Water is pumped around the engine to cool it (jacket water). Heat from the main engine is used to aid in the evaporation of seawater in the evaporator, which generates freshwater for drinking, bathing, and scientific purposes. The seawater is under vacuum, and can therefore boil at 160 degrees. The ship has the capacity to generate around 3,600 gallons of water a day.