Ribcraft patrol boat launches with hybrid electric propulsion system

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Transfluid and Elcome have announced that a Ribcraft patrol boat recently launched in Dubai features a hybrid electric propulsion system supplied by the two companies. Collaboratively, the pair designed and installed the diesel-electric system onboard the 9m-long Ribcraft professional-grade rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB).

Developed by Transfluid, the system architecture utilizes a clutch and transmission that enables efficient and seamless switching between different propulsion modes. When the clutch is disengaged, the RHIB runs on battery power only, for silent and zero-emission operation.

When Engine mode is selected, the clutch is engaged and the twin Volvo Penta D4 DPH diesel engines provide propulsion. To extend the RHIB’s operating range, both of the Volvo diesel engines can be brought online while running on electric power to charge the boat’s batteries. For maximum thrust, Booster mode utilizes both the battery-driven electric motor and diesel engines for full power. When moored, the lithium batteries can be charged via a shore power connection.

With three operating modes the boat’s operator can use less expensive, smaller and more efficient diesel engines. As a result, fuel consumption is reduced and maintenance intervals are extended without compromising the vessel’s performance.

“The diesel-electric hybrid system developed for the new Ribcraft patrol boat incorporates an easy plug-and-play design that can be cost-effectively installed on new-builds or existing vessels,” explained Gianluigi Taroni, sales director, Transfluid.

Elcome was responsible for specifying, integrating, installing, testing and commissioning Transfluid’s hybrid system. Furthermore, all of the RHIB’s systems and equipment were specified and designed with Ribcraft’s technical designers and naval architects.

“The demand for marine electric and hybrid propulsion systems is growing rapidly worldwide, driven by growing awareness of environmental sustainability and a desire to reduce operational and maintenance costs,” commented Jimmy Grewal, executive director, Elcome International.

The integrated turnkey solution uses a proprietary electronic controller to communicate with all of the system’s componentry through a CANbus protocol. The hybrid modules, batteries and electric motors have all been approved by the DNV.

The RHIB was designed for the surveillance of protected environmental areas with zero environmental footprint. The propulsion system can carry the vessel at speeds of over 40kts making it suitable for safety and security missions.

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After spending the past six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum recently joined UKi Media & Events as an assistant editor. In this role he will use his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors.

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