Finland launches hybrid icebreaker

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The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has launched the Calypso, a new icebreaker concept boat equipped with a hybrid motorized removable bow. The vessel is currently moored in Mustola harbor in Lappeenranta (approx. 20km from the Finnish-Russian border) and has begun operating on Lake Saimaa and the deep waterways of the surrounding area.

The removable bow, which the vessel’s builder says is the largest of its kind, has been delivered by Turku Repair Yard as part of the Winter Navigation Motorways of the Sea II project. The €7.6m (US$9.25m) scheme, co-funded by the EU Connecting Europe Facility program, aims to develop and enhance Finland’s maritime winter navigation system and its safety during the winter.

One of the scheme’s key targets was the creation of a motorized, icebreaking, removable bow concept, which would enable ice-strengthened vessels to be used as icebreakers during the winter. This specific bow is capable of breaking ice up to 70cm thick.

A hybrid-electric system supplied by Danfoss Editron powers the bow with two generators, incorporating a DC system, and two propulsion systems. The company has also provided a front supercapacitor so that peak power demands can be efficiently controlled. The powerplant and propulsion system of the removable bow have been designed to be operated from the pusher tug wheelhouse; the machinery can operate unmanned.

Kari Savolainen, project manager at Danfoss Editron, commented, “We have operations in Lappeenranta, so we can see first hand how harsh winter conditions directly impact shipping transport. This new kind of removable bow will make the whole industry more efficient and sustainable, as it will enable virtually any kind of tug to become an icebreaker ship. Our Editron system is easily adaptable for future optimizations and we are eager to learn more about our supercapacitor’s ability to control the peak powers.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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