Wärtsilä Hybrid Propulsion System With Methanol Engine To Power Four Future-Proof Heavy Lift Vessels

The Ships Are Scheduled For Delivery In 2025 And Will Be Used Mainly To Support Wind Farm Installations

Heavy Lift Vessel With Methanol Engines And Hybrid Propulsion System (Image Courtesy Of SAL Heavy Lift GmbH & Co. KG)

Wärtsilä will supply its hybrid propulsion system for four new heavy lift vessels being built at the Wuhu Shipyard in China. The vessels have been contracted by SAL Heavy Lift GmbH, a German heavy lift and project cargo specialist and part of the Harren Group, in cooperation with its joint-venture partner, Netherlands-based Jumbo Shipping. There is an option for an additional two vessels. The order was included in Wärtsilä’s order book in December 2022.

Wärtsilä’s hybrid system is intended minimize the ships’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, thus supporting the marine sector’s decarbonization ambitions. The system will feature a variable-speed Wärtsilä 32 main engine capable of operating with methanol fuel. These ships will be among the first to operate on methanol, a clean burning, sulphur-free alternative to conventional fossil-based marine fuels. They will also be the first methanol-capable ships to employ a variable-speed main engine in a hybrid installation.

The hybrid system also includes an energy storage system (ESS), a PTO/PTI generator and motor, a multidrive converter, and the Wärtsilä energy management system for controlling hybrid operations. The ESS will be based on lithium-titanium-oxide (LTO) batteries, which can handle higher amounts of deep cycles than normal lithium-ion based systems. Wärtsilä said the ESS will significantly reduce the fuel consumption and/or the necessary size of the port’s electric shore connection during crane operations while also providing fuel savings at sea by reducing engine load fluctuations in rough seas.

For each vessel, Wärtsilä will also supply the gearbox, controllable pitch propeller (CPP), bow and stern thrusters, air shaft seals, as well as the sterntube and bearings.

“These ships represent the next generation in heavy lift shipping,” said Dr Martin Harren, owner and CEO of SAL Heavy Lift. “In addition to their technical capabilities, they will feature outstanding environmental performance and help guide shipping toward a greener future. We are committed to decarbonizing shipping activities, and we wish to thank Wärtsilä for their support and cooperation throughout this project.”

“We are proud to be able to support SAL with Wärtsilä’s integrated hybrid-mechanical propulsion system,” said Matthias Becker, managing director of Wärtsilä Germany. “This is a well-proven, future-proofing solution that enables owners and operators to lower operating costs while complying with current and anticipated environmental regulations.”