FEBRUARY 4, 2016—Rolls-Royce and the local public utility in Constance, Germany, Stadtwerke Konstanz, have teamed up to develop a liquid natural gas (LNG) propulsion system based on MTU engines for a new Lake Constance ferry. The intention is to have the new member of the fleet operated by the public utility in Constance running on gas between the two Lake Constance towns of Constance and Meersburg in 2019. The new ferry will be one of the first in Europe to be powered by a high-speed pure-gas engine. It will feature low pollutant emissions and improved cost effectiveness, while delivering the accustomed high performance.
Dr. Norbert Reuter, Managing Director of Stadtwerke Konstanz GmbH, at the announcement of the cooperation agreement on 10 December 2015 in Constance said: “We are delighted that MTU, our partner of many years standing, intends to develop a natural gas propulsion system for our new ferry. The deciding factors for us to venture into a new world of propulsion for our fleet are the excellent environmental compatibility of the gas engines and the possibility of saving fuel costs, while maintaining our current requirements in terms of the performance and manoeuvrability of the vessel. As a ferry operator on Lake Constance, Europe’s largest reservoir of drinking water, it is very important for us to guarantee safe and environmentally sound operations.”
Marcus A. Wassenberg, Chief Financial Officer at Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG, speaking in Constance, added: “We are convinced that gas engines will become increasingly important as supplements to tried and tested diesel engines for shipping. Natural gas is an important fuel for the future. It will be available for a longer period of time and is cheaper in many regions throughout the world, in addition to having a far better carbon footprint than either heavy oil or diesel. With the development of the new gas engine and its trials in the ferry operated by Stadtwerke Konstanz, we are taking up the challenge of further improving the emissions and efficiency levels of gas engines, in order to be able to meet future emission regulations and the needs of our customers. The development of gas engine technology and the associated fuel infrastructure will also require state funding until they become economically viable.”
The new 8-cylinder gas engine with a rated output of 750 kilowatts, which MTU intends to develop, will be based on proven MTU Series 4000 diesel engines for workboats. The new gas engine series is being developed to ensure that it meets the particular load profile of the Lake Constance ferries, with acceleration comparable to that of the MTU diesel engines. The clean combustion concept will make it possible to meet the IMO Tier III emission standards without the need for additional exhaust aftertreatment. By comparison with a diesel engine without exhaust aftertreatment, the gas engine will emit no soot particles and no sulphur oxides, 90 per cent less NOx and 10 per cent less greenhouse gas.
In the development of the 8V 4000 engine, MTU benefits from its previous experience of stationary gas engines and from development work now being carried out for a 16-cylinder marine gas engine, which is currently underway and has just completed initial tests on the test bench. The first pre-series engines will power a tugboat in 2017, which is currently being built by Damen shipyards for Svitzer. The Rolls-Royce Group, of which Rolls-Royce Power Systems is a member, can look back on almost ten years’ experience in delivering medium-speed, pure-gas propulsion systems to power ferries.
The Stadtwerke Konstanz has relied on MTU engines since 1980. The six ferries operated by the company provide ferry services 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and are powered solely by MTU engines. They carry around 4.2 million passengers and approximately 1.5 million road vehicles a year.