Wärtsilä powering largest electric ferry, methanol hybrid vessels
By Becky Schultz18 September 2023
Technology group Wärtsilä announced it has been contracted to provide alternative-powered propulsion to two separate customers – in one case, the largest ship ever built using its battery-electric propulsion system and waterjets, and in the other, an integrated hybrid propulsion system for the world’s first methanol-fueled hybrid RoRo vessels.
Wärtsilä said it booked an agreement in July 2023 to supply its energy management system, the power conversion system, DC shore charging system, 40-MWh battery modules, DC hub, eight electric motors, eight Wärtsilä axial flow WXJ1100 waterjets and the ProTouch propulsion control system for installation in a new ferry being built by Incat Tasmania – a global producer of pure-electric, lightweight, zero-emission ferries – for long-time South American customer Buquebús. At an overall length of 130 meters, the battery-electric ferry will be the largest ever vessel of its type and the first zero-emission, lightweight catamaran.
In addition to using e-motor driven Wärtsilä waterjets as the main propulsion source, the battery modules and energy storage system package will be four times that of any electric/hybrid ship currently operating, the company said.
“The overall high efficiency of this next-generation ferry represents a game-changing advance in catamaran design,” said Roger Holm, President of Wärtsilä’s Marine Power business. “The battery power pack that we are supplying will be the largest ever supplied with a unique eight waterjet propulsor configuration. The eight e-motor waterjet propulsion configuration is the most efficient available on today’s market for this speed range and type application, while boasting all the benefits from Wärtsilä’s axial flow waterjet technology – low weight, shallow draft, superb maneuverability and low maintenance.”
The Incat Hull 096 will operate between Argentina and Uruguay, and will be capable of carrying 2,100 passengers and 225 vehicles.
Wärtsilä has also been commissioned to supply an integrated hybrid propulsion system for two new hybrid vessels being built at the China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Weihai) Co. Ltd. for Swedish shipping company Stena RoRo. The ships will be the world’s first methanol-fueled hybrid RoRo vessels, the company said, and will operate in the Stena Line Irish Sea system.
Part of the order was booked by Wärtsilä in Q2 2023, while the remaining order was booked in Q3 2023. It includes the supply of two Wärtsilä 32M multi-fuel engines per vessel, each capable of operating on methanol fuel and with ammonia-ready notation. The company will also supply the methanol engine auxiliary equipment, gearboxes, two controllable pitch propellers (CPP), three bow thrusters, the NACOS navigation system, three Wärtsilä 20 auxiliary engines and the hybrid electric system consisting of shore power, batteries, shaft generators, converters, transformers as well as the Energy Management System.
Wärtsilä’s shore power solution will enable carbon-free operations when the vessels are in port.
“We are proud to be supporting these innovative hybrid vessels with our methanol-fueled engines and electrification systems,” said Holm. “Both Stena RoRo and Wärtsilä share the same commitment to decarbonizing shipping operations, and these vessels represent a further step in this direction by being the first methanol hybrid ships in their class.”
The 147-meter-long ships will have 2,800 lane meter capacity and will be able to accommodate up to 37 passengers and crew.
Wärtsilä will deliver its equipment to the shipyard in 2024, with the ships scheduled for delivery in June and November 2025.