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Turbo-electric transmission uses electric generators to convert the mechanical energy of a turbine (steam or gas) into electric energy and electric motors to convert it back into mechanical energy to power the driveshafts.
Turbo-electric drives are used in some rail locomotives (gas turbines, e.g. with the first TGV) and ships (steam and more recently gas turbines). An advantage of turbo-electric transmission is that it allows the adaptation of high-speed turning turbines to the slowly-turning propellers or wheels without the need of a heavy and complex gearbox. It also has the advantage of being able to provide electricity for the ship or train's other electrical systems, such as lighting, computers, radar, and communications equipment.
A disadvantage, shared with the more common diesel-electric powertrain, is that because of the double conversion of mechanical energy to electricity and back, more energy gets lost than with a mechanical transmission.
Ships with turbo-electric drive
- Buckley-class destroyer escorts
- Suamico-class oilers
Coast Guard cutters
- SS California (later SS Uruguay), SS Pennsylvania (later SS Argentina) and SS Virginia (later SS Brazil)
- SS Canberra – the most powerful steam turbo-electric units in a passenger ship, 42,500 shp (31,700 kW) per shaft, 2 shafts
- RMS Mooltan (as re-engined in 1929)
- SS Morro Castle and SS Oriente (later USAT Thomas H. Barry)
- SS Normandie – most powerful steam turbo-electric passenger ship ever, 40,000 shp (30,000 kW) per shaft (50,000 shp at max power), 4 shafts
- SS Potsdam and SS Scharnhorst (later Japanese aircraft carrier Shinyo)
- SS President Cleveland and SS President Wilson (originally planned as Admiral W. S. Benson-class transports)
- SS President Hoover and SS President Coolidge
- RMS Queen Mary 2 – powered by General Electric gas turbines as well as her diesel generators to generate the current for her four Rolls-Royce electric podded azimuth thrusters
- SS Santa Clara (later USS Susan B. Anthony)
- Strath-class ocean liners RMS Strathnaver and RMS Strathaird
- RMS Viceroy of India
- Millennium-class cruise ships Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit
- SS Darien (as re-engined in about 1930)
- Cargo and passenger liners (later Mizar-class stores ships) SS Antigua, USS Ariel, USS Merak, USS Mizar, USS Talamanca and USS Tarazed
- SS Musa and SS Platano
- SS San Benito, later USS Taurus
General cargo ships
- Czarnecki, Joseph (31 January 2001). "Turboelectric drive in American Capital Ships". The Naval Technical Board. NavWeaps.
- Draper, John L (December 1930). "The Paddle Wheel to Electric Drive". Popular Mechanics: 898–902. — detailed article with drawing and charts on turbo-electric drive for ships and the advantages
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