Technology group Wärtsilä will supply its hybrid propulsion system for three new ro-pax vessels currently being built for Stena RoRo, Europe´s largest ferry company. Two of the ferries will have a battery capacity of 11.5MWh, making them the marine industry’s largest hybrid vessels to date. This battery power is approximately double that typically being used currently for hybrid propulsion. The order was placed in May 2022.
The ships have been designed and developed by Stena RoRo and Brittany Ferries and will be long-term chartered to Brittany Ferries for operation between Portsmouth in the UK and the French ports of St Malo and Caen. Wärtsilä had already been contracted to supply a broad range of solutions for the vessels, including the main and auxiliary engines, gearboxes, controllable pitch propellers (CPPs), thrusters, the fuel gas supply system, Nacos navigation and automation as well as an integrated control alarm and monitoring system. The ships will be capable of operating with either LNG fuel or batteries.
The vessels will be equipped with the latest-generation Leclanché energy storage system – the Navius MRS-3 – which has a size and weight advantage over comparable marine batteries.
“Stena wants to be a frontrunner in decarbonizing our fleet and, together with our partners, pushing developments toward zero-emission operations,” said Per Westling, managing director of Stena RoRo. “Hybridization allows our vessels to be highly flexible as we adapt to future technology developments, including green fuels, fuel cells, bigger batteries, and solar- or wind-supported propulsion.”
“Brittany Ferries is proud to be taking a lead in sustainable shipping, working with our partners to bring cleaner vessels to the regions in which we operate,” added Christophe Mathieu, the Brittany Ferries CEO. “Hybrid technology continues to move our fleet renewal program forward and will follow the introduction of two LNG-powered ships. From day one of operation, ports like St Malo in France and Portsmouth in the UK will benefit from these cleaner hybrid vessels. Shore-side power capability means further benefits will be realized, as investment by ports in plug-in infrastructure allows.”
“Hybridization is one way of shaping the decarbonization of the marine industry. This order further strengthens Wärtsilä’s leadership in the hybrid segment. The extensive battery size will allow the vessels to operate with full power, using both propellers and all thrusters to maneuver emissions-free in and out of ports, even in bad weather. The built-in shore power solution will charge the batteries while berthed,” commented Håkan Agnevall, president and CEO of Wärtsilä. “Wärtsilä’s unique energy management system will optimize the total hybrid propulsion system.”
Important elements of hybrid vessels include the ability to integrate multiple vessel systems and real-time optimization of the onboard energy system. Wärtsilä combines a wide range of system expertise across a broad range of ship power and propulsion machinery. Combining the benefits of the hybrid propulsion system and shore power leads to up to 15% GHG emissions saving compared with a conventional diesel-mechanical propulsion system.
The vessels are being built at the China Merchants Jinling (Weihai) Shipyard. Delivery of the ferries is expected to take place in 2024 and 2025.