New RoPax trio will have Wärtsilä hybrid propulsion systems

Written by Nick Blenkey
LNG electric hybrid Ropax

New hybrid LNG-fueled RoPax ferries are part of Brittany Ferries fleet renewal plan. [Image: Brittany Ferries]

Wärtsilä will supply the hybrid propulsion system for three new LNG-fueled RoPax vessels currently being built for Stena RoRo for charter to Brittany Ferries. ,

Two of the ferries will have a battery capacity of 11.5 MWh, making them the marine industry’s largest hybrid vessels to date, according to Wärtsilä . This battery power is approximately double that typically being used currently for hybrid propulsion.

The vessels are being built at the China Merchants Jinling (Weihai) Shipyard. Deliveries are expected to take place in 2024 and 2025.

The ships have been designed and developed by Stena RoRo and Brittany Ferries and they will operate between Portsmouth in the U.K. and the French ports of St Malo and Caen.

Wärtsilä had already earlier been contracted to supply a broad range of solutions for the vessels, including the Wärtsilä 46DF dual-fuel main engines, Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel auxiliary engines, gearboxes, controllable pitch propellers (CPPs), thrusters, the fuel gas supply system, Nacos navigation and automation as well as 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 both a size and weight advantage versus comparable marine batteries.


“Stena wants to be a frontrunner in decarbonizing our fleet and, together with our partners, pushing developments towards zero emission operations,” says Per Westling, managing director, 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 Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu. “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 U.K. will benefit from these cleaner hybrid vessels. Shore-side power capability means further benefits will be realised, as investment by ports in plug-in infrastructure allows.”

“Hybridization is one way of shaping 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,” said Wärtsilä president and CEO Håkan Agnevall. “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 on-board energy system. Combining the benefits of the hybrid propulsion system and shore power leads up to 15% in GHG emissions savings compared to a conventional diesel mechanical propulsion system.

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