At the beginning of the XX century there have been significant changes in the shipbuilding industry - to replace steamers, is widely used for a hundred years all water transportation routes, come more sophisticated vessels with diesel drive.
Beginning this important revolution was necessary in Russia - it is here that the first reversible marine diesel and were built the world's first steam-ships and submarines has been created. The initiator of all these developments made one of the largest Russian companies "Nobel Brothers". Nobels among the first to appreciate the importance of the invention by Rudolf Diesel. As soon as it was reported that his engine, Immanuel Nobel tied negotiating the purchase of a license. The main thing is that the Nobel bribed a new engine - is that it can run on heavy fuel. In 1898, having paid huge money at that time (about 500 thousand), he received the Nobel drawings 20-horsepower diesel engine. After a thorough review of the company at the St. Petersburg plant, many parts of the engine have been modified both for structural reasons and mainly because first it was decided to make the engine run on oil rather than kerosene. The difficulties of using fuel oil was still nowhere to be overcome in the world.
The world's first diesel engine running on oil was floated in 1899. He developed 25 hp and I spend an hour about a quarter of a kilogram of oil to 1 hp This was an important success, but the cherished dream of the Nobel was the use of diesel as a ship's machinery. At that time, among many engineers still had widespread skepticism about the diesels. Most believe that these engines are not suitable as a drive for the movement of vessels. The reasons for this were quite compelling. First, diesel engines do not have reverse gear (reverse) and installed on a ship can rotate the screw in one direction only. Secondly, the first diesel engine was impossible to run in some extreme positions of the piston. Third, the work of diesel engines to be difficult to adjust - it was difficult to change their mode of operation, for example, increase or decrease the speed of rotation, increasing or reducing the speed of the boat. These shortcomings, did not have much importance for fixed installation and small size diesel engines operating under a constant load, it was very significant shortcoming for a vehicle engine. It is widely used when the steam engine was in this sense, to the advantage of diesel - the reverse, changing the shaft speed and start from any position achieved on it without any difficulty. In this case, it would seem worth it at all to communicate with a diesel engine? Turns out, it was worth - in this urged Nobel elementary calculations.
A huge advantage of a diesel engine is in its high efficiency and therefore its efficiency. Since diesel engines require four times less fuel as compared to the steam engines of the same power, it was easy to imagine the enormous prospects opened before shipping such a reduction in the weight ratio of fuel costs, both in commercial and especially in the Navy. Comparing conventional steam ship with a thermal intended for the same on the cruising range, it was easy to calculate that the second of them, equipped with a diesel engine, can take four times less by weight of the fuel supply, increasing for the account of their capacity. On the contrary, if it is taken by both the same amount of fuel, it is clear that the ship will be able to pass four times greater distance than the ship. Of course, short-range navigation difference between the two types of vessels were not that great, but at higher cruising range the difference between the steamer and the steamer was increased exclusively. In flight 10 thousand miles with a payload capacity of 1,000 tons of the ship could actually translate into twice more cargo than the same boat. For the conditions of Russian navigation it was of paramount importance, as there is an opportunity, without resorting to loading additional fuel on the way, to go with its own supply of greater distance. There were also other important advantages. For example, the loading of the ship of oil carried in bulk, while coal accounted for ship manually. However, the disadvantage of the steamer was compensated by low cost of coal fuel, but for the Nobel, one of the largest oil magnates of the time, this party did not have a significant value.
Despite all the difficulties, Nobel ordered his engineers to start designing the first ship. To the new ship could maneuver, he ordered associate diesel with propeller shaft not directly but through the transmission, allows you to change both the direction of rotation of the screw, and the number of its revolutions. In 1903, on the tank barge "Vandal", produced at the Sormovo factory and brought to St. Petersburg, three diesel engines with 120 hp have been installed Together with these three diesel electric generator worked, produces current for the three electric motors, rotating propellers. By switching the windings on the "vandals" could change the mode and direction of rotation. Tests of the new vessel gave encouraging results, but in general, this drive system could hardly be considered successful and harbored a lot of inconvenience - above all it was expensive and uneconomical in terms of energy costs.
In the same year the Nobel bought a license for propulsion Del proposti, allows for a more economical use of diesel as a ship's machinery. Its principle of operation lies in the fact that while going ahead diesel directly contacted with the propeller and electric transmission is applied only for reversing and maneuvering. This significantly reduces energy loss, because most of the time is obtained by rotating the screws directly from the diesel engine, and for maneuvering and reversing not require full power. oil tanker "Sarmat" was equipped in 1904 under this system. It was equipped with two diesel engines at 180 hp and two power generators. Every diesel engine was connected to an electric generator, and then through the coupling with the propeller on which the electric motor. At the front during diesel worked directly on the screw, and a generator, and the motor is running, not giving and not receiving current as flywheels. When reversing the engine started to work on the generator, which sends a current to the electric motor and propeller gave backspin.
The results of the first flight, "Sarmat" showed all the advantages of diesel installations on ships. The costs of oil compared to similar ships (who worked on oil rather than coal) were five times less. At the same time maneuvering and management does not deteriorate. On the technical tests of the ship printed reports, and not only in Russia - "Sarmat" I became a celebrity. However, the absence of reverse still prevent the wide dissemination of ships. Only in 1908, multi-year search culminated in the creation of reverse engine. As already noted, the reverse motor had to have, firstly, a mechanism switching organs distribution forward and reverse giving effect alone and simultaneously turns off the other, and, secondly, a device for starting engine stroke at any position of the crankshaft shaft. Of the two reverse elements of the first, then there is a mechanism for shifting the distribution was fairly easy to set up: on the camshaft placed two cam system (see above description of the device of a diesel engine) - one for the front and one for reverse. Movement of the whole system in one side of the engine getting distribution for Forward, backward movement - to the rear. Engine Reversirovka (shift from "full ahead" to "full astern") took 10-12 seconds. A device for start-up move, on the contrary, is the main and more difficult task, but it was very well resolved by Russian engineers in the factory Nobel. However, the diesel cars were made not for the ship and for the submarine "Lamprey" deflated in 1908, which thus became the world's first diesel-powered submarines.
Diesel "Lamprey" were three-cylinder. Output task of the backlash was resolved as follows: the transition from the operation of the air system to work in oil occurred not once, but gradually - first, all cylinders are operated with air, then one switched to oil, after he gave a stroke, the translation of the second cylinder oil and so on. Time difference and the sequence of flashes in the cylinder crankshaft withdrawn from any position. Simultaneously speed control has been achieved by decreasing and increasing the flow of oil. Thus, to create any problems marine diesel cars were allowed. The second reversible motor installed on a submarine "Shark", and then became a Nobel equip them their tankers.
After successful testing of diesel engines in Russia as the ship began to penetrate machines worldwide. First diesels put only small vessels, but in the second decade of the XX century a turning point in maritime shipbuilding. In 1911 and 1912 the shipyards in Germany and England began to build a few large ships. In 1912, the stocks in Denmark came first freight and passenger ship "Zealand", with a displacement of 3200 tons and a lifting capacity of 7,400 tons. During its first voyage from Copenhagen to London, the whole world watched. Soon, it was estimated that the operation "Zealand" gives 160,000 marks a year in savings compared to the steamers of the same class. This sealed the fate of the new mode of transport.