Imtech to supply propulsion systems for hybrid Ropax pair

Rotterdam headquartered Imtech Marine is to supply the hybrid propulsion systems for the world's first diesel electric, hybrid seagoing ferries.

Owned by Scottish company Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), the two vehicle and passenger RO/RO ferries will be built by Ferguson Shipbuilders of Glasgow (see earlier story).

The vessels will be powered by diesel generator sets, feeding power to a 400 volt switchboard, which will supply power to permanent magnet propulsion motors. Innovative green technology supplied by Imtech Marine includes two lithium battery banks of approximately 700 kWh, reducing fuel and CO2 consumption by at least 20%.

The ferries will be operated by Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services, CalMac Ferries, and will be designed for the many short routes around the Clyde and Hebrides. With a service speed of nine knots, the hybrid ferries will be able to accommodate 150 passengers, 23 cars or two HGVs.

Eric van den Adel, Managing Director of Imtech Marine comments: "We are very happy to be involved in this pioneering, innovative project to realize the world's first seagoing hybrid ferries, important and unique in Scotland's maritime history. We are proud that CMAL has placed its trust in us to switch from operating traditional diesel engines to the most advanced propulsion technology available. Imtech Marine has built up a vast knowledge and experience with diesel electric propulsion and environmentally friendly solutions. Over the years Imtech Marine has focused on developing power systems that deliver more energy, offer better fuel efficiency and result in more sustainable solutions. This type of green ship entirely fits in our strategic focus on green ship concepts. Solutions which also offer a better Return on Investment and improved performance. The result is a cleaner ship, but also a more cost- and energy efficient operation."

The vessel design and power configuration additionally realizes 19-24 percent savings of power input to the propulsion units over a conventional diesel mechanical solution. When in port, the ships will completely switch off the propulsion and switch to batteries and ultimately shore connection, which will result in significant cost savings and further reduction of the carbon footprint. Besides a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, noise levels will also be reduced. The ferries will charge overnight and in the future the CMAL aims to use energy from wind, wave or solar systems for charging the batteries, making the vessels even more environmentally friendly.

Imtech Marine's office in Glasgow will coordinate the supply and installation, handle the day-to-day project management and will offer after-sales support on this pioneering project. Imtech Marine will also be training CMAL employees in operating the new hybrid systems. The ferries will undergo a week of sea trials and this will be followed by an additional 21 days to test the vessels on all of the routes operated by CMAL. The first vessel is expected to be delivered in the summer of 2013 and the second a month later.

December 22, 2011