Rolls-Royce receives order for hybrid propulsion systems for new Liberty Lines fast craft

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Spanish shipyard Armon has placed an order with Rolls-Royce for the supply of nine mtu Hybrid PropulsionPacks for nine new ships for Italian high-speed maritime passenger transport company Liberty Lines. The contract was officially signed during the SMM international shipping exhibition in Hamburg. The vessels are scheduled to enter service between 2023 and 2026. The construction of an optional nine additional ships is planned for delivery between 2027 and 2030. The concept for the fast ferries features sustainable hybrid propulsion systems and has been developed in collaboration with Liberty Lines, Armon shipyard, the Rolls-Royce power systems business unit, the Italian ship classification society RINA and the Australian shipbuilding design company Incat Crowther.

“With this project, we are making a sustainable investment in the renewal of our fleet, with the purpose to continue to offer high-quality services to our stakeholders and minimize environmental impact in order to achieve an emission-free future,” explained Gennaro Carlo Cotella, chief executive officer at Liberty Lines. “The majority of our fleet has already been successfully operating with mtu engines for decades. We are convinced we made the right choice with Rolls-Royce for the supply of the innovative mtu hybrid solutions for the renewal of our fleet on the way toward carbon neutrality.”

The ships will be equipped with Rolls-Royce integrated mtu hybrid propulsion systems, each comprising two mtu 16-cylinder Series 4000M65L engines, two gearboxes, two e-motors and electric systems, two variable-speed gensets, a battery system, switchboard and electrical power management system, and an mtu hybrid automation system, which monitors and controls not only the hybrid propulsion system but also various ship area systems. The vessels will use different operating modes as needed: purely electric, they can enter and leave ports quietly and with zero emissions at a speed of 8kts; in hybrid mode, they can reach high speed in cruise mode when traveling across the sea while simultaneously charging the batteries by the two main engines and eliminating the need to operate the gensets for hotel load. During longer stops, the batteries are charged using the shore power supply. Liberty Lines will have the ability to continually monitor the status of the complete propulsion system via the mtu remote monitoring system.

The nine mtu Hybrid PropulsionPacks with Series 4000M65L engines will have significantly reduced exhaust particulate emissions compared with Liberty Lines’ currently operating engines, and the mtu SCR exhaust aftertreatment systems will also greatly reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. On a kW power output basis, the engines in the new hybrid propulsion system will reduce CO2  emissions by 8%, soot emissions by 62% and NO emissions by 83% compared with the fleet’s current propulsion systems. The new vessels will meet the IMO Tier III emissions standard, a very strict regulation that is not yet in force in the Mediterranean.

“We are very proud to have been awarded the contract to build these environmentally friendly high-speed vessels for Liberty Lines and thank Armon and Liberty Lines for their confidence in our expertise,” said Denise Kurtulus, vice president of global marine at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “This project strengthens our long-standing partnership with Liberty Lines and fits perfectly with our own Net Zero at Power Systems sustainability program. As the supplier of the fully integrated hybrid solution with exhaust aftertreatment, we are honored to support Liberty Lines in their climate protection strategy.”

The contract was officially signed during the SMM international shipping exhibition in Hamburg. Jose Maria Fernandez, sales director at Armon, Ferdinando Ferdinando Morace, technical director at Liberty Lines, and Denise Kurtulus, vice president global marine at Rolls-Royce (from left) sealed the cooperation

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Matt joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 after seven years of living and working in Dubai. He has been a journalist for over 15 years and has worked for a wide range of publications, including Rolling Stone, Time Out, iQ and Loaded. After starting out on the automotive team as deputy editor of Engine Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Transmissions Technology International, he has been an editor since 2015, and began editing Tire Technology International in 2018. In 2020, he was appointed editor-in-chief of Tire and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International. He is also the chairman of the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation & Excellence, and the Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International Awards.




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