Rolls-Royce to provide sustainable power solutions to yacht builders

By Becky Schultz29 September 2022

Rolls-Royce recently announced agreements with yacht/shipbuilder Lürssen as well as luxury yacht manufacturer Ferretti Group that include sustainable propulsion solutions, plus received an order from Turkish yacht builder Turquoise Yachts for a hybrid solution to propel its new mega yacht.

At the Monaco Yacht Show (from left): Lürssen Managing Director Dr Justus Reinke, Dr Daniel Chatterjee, Director of Sustainability, Technology Management and Regulatory Affairs at Rolls-Royce’s Power Systems division, and Peter Lürssen, CEO and shareholder of Lürssen. (Photo: Rolls-Royce)

Rolls-Royce and Lürssen announced at the Monaco Yacht Show that they are working together on projects such as the propulsion of a Lürssen yacht using mtu methanol engines. Rolls-Royce noted it is developing a methanol engine based on the mtu Series 4000 that features a lower flash point than the diesel version and is ignited using a spark plug, similar to a gasoline engine.

The two companies will focus on yachts 75 meters long and above, which they said offer significant potential for being powered by methanol, including ideally green methanol produced using renewable power sources. The companies noted the primary challenge for naval architects and shipbuilding engineers is that methanol has a lower engine power output compared to a diesel engine of equivalent size and weight, necessitating larger tanks that consume more hull space.

“Our customers want to dedicate as little hull space as possible to propulsion and fuel storage. Methanol has disadvantages here compared to diesel, but clear advantages over other alternatives to fossil fuels,” said Peter Lürssen, CEO and co-proprietor of Lürssen. “We’re now seeing that today’s prospective buyers of tomorrow’s yachts are increasingly thinking about how they can make running their vessels as climate-friendly and environmentally friendly as possible. We are therefore registering a growing willingness among future customers to invest in new technology for climate protection, and to make space available for it in the vessel.”

Given the extended lead time to build large yachts such as those produced by the Lürssen yards, Dr. Justus Reinke, Lürssen Managing Director, said the company will seek to convince customers of the benefits of methanol on land before the first methanol yacht is launched. “We want to work with Rolls-Royce to run a stationary methanol-fueled combined heat and power plant in one of our shipyards as a demonstrator for our customers,” he stated.

Lürssen will also use the methanol CHP plant as a source of power for its shipyard, making its operations more sustainable. Mechanical energy will be used to generate electricity, and the heat from the engine will be fed through to the shipyard’s heating grid. 

Agreement extended with Ferretti
At the Cannes Yachting Festival, the CEOs of Rolls-Royce Power Systems and Ferretti Group, Andreas Schell (left) and Alberto Galassi (right), announced the signing of a contract to extend their framework agreement. (Photo: Rolls-Royce)

At the Cannes Yachting Festival, Rolls-Royce and Ferretti Group signed an extension of a frame agreement to continue the supply of mtu Series 2000 and 4000 engines and propulsion systems, currently in use in Ferretti Group’s luxury yachts, particularly its larger motor yachts. In addition, in 2024, a Ferretti Group yacht is scheduled to be built incorporating an mtu hybrid propulsion system, and smaller production yachts will, in future, be equipped with complete mtu NautiQ bridge systems developed by Rolls-Royce in partnership with bridge specialist Team Italia.

“I am extremely happy to announce the renewal of the agreement with Rolls-Royce for mtu products and solutions. The five-year term is crucial because it offers the guarantee that supplies are always available and prices are sheltered from market swings,” said Alberto Galassi, CEO of Ferretti Group. “This agreement also further increases the efficiency of our supply chain, with clear benefits for us and our customers.”

Hybrid propulsion order

Rolls-Royce also announced an order from Turquoise Yachts to supply an mtu Hybrid PropulsionPack for a newbuilt 76m displacement mega yacht. The system will allow for fully electric operation when necessary, for example for anchoring without exhaust gases and maneuvering in port.

(From left to right) Mehmet Karabeyoğlu, partner of Turquoise Yachts, Denise Kurtulus, vice president, Global Marine, at Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems, and Ali Guzel, CEO of Rolls-Royce Solutions Türkiye (from left to right), celebrate the signing of the order for the mtu Hybrid PropulsionPack. (Photo: Rolls-Royce)

mtu Hybrid PropulsionPacks are offered in a power range from 1119 kW to 4300 kW per diesel engine plus 165 kW to 743 kW per electric motor for each drivetrain. The maximum propulsion power is 10000 kW per vessel. To ensure the optimum solution for each type of ship, Rolls-Royce offers a modular hybrid kit with standardized components.

The integrated mtu hybrid propulsion system that will be use in the mega yacht will include two mtu 12-cylinder Series 4000 M65L engines with SCR system, which meet IMO III emissions requirements. It will also incorporate two gearboxes, two e-motors and electric cooling systems, two variable-speed gensets and a battery system and electrical power management system. An mtu NautIQ Blue Vision NG hybrid automation system will monitor and control the hybrid propulsion system.

The mtu Hybrid PropulsionPack is set to be delivered in 2023, with the yacht to be commissioned in 2025. Turquoise also plans to build a second yacht with a conventional mtu propulsion system.

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